Appropriately for a waterfront neighborhood, Red Hook includes seafood restaurants like Brooklyn Crab and lobster-roll spot Red Hook Lobster Pound, as well as top Thai restaurant Pok Pok Ny. Food-truck culture is also well represented, with a number of Vendy Award winners setting up at the Red Hook Ball Fields.
RECOMMENDED: Red Hook neighborhood guide
Restaurants in Red Hook
Grab your Wet-Naps—Brooklyn’s BBQ renaissance shows no signs of cooling off. This wood-paneled 120-seat smokehouse is the latest addition to the scene, a collaboration between self-taught pit master Billy Durney and restaurateur Christopher Miller (Smith & Mills, Warren 77). Inspired by his Brooklyn upbringing and travels through the South, Durney turns out 'cue with global influences. Dig into smoked meats both American (Texas-style brisket, North Carolina–inspired baby back ribs) and international (smoked jerk chicken, lamb belly banh mi). The drinks match the honky-tonk menu: Bartenders pour draft beers (Smuttynose, Shiner Bock) and American whiskeys (Van Brunt Stillhouse).
Channeling Maine's minigolf clam shacks, this hulking 250-seat eatery brings putt-putt facilities and seaside tastes to Red Hook's waterfront. Elevated on stilts, the three-story stand-alone restaurant is done up with wharf-themed flourishes: lobster traps, fishing rods, Christmas lights and a mounted shark's head. Gather friends for a round of minigolf, bocce or cornhole (beanbag toss) outdoors. After hitting the greens, grab a picnic table and dig into simple coastal fare, such as fried whole-belly clams with homemade tartar sauce, peel-and-eat shrimp, and steam pots brimming with lobster, Jonah crab and mussels, along with potatoes and corn. Drinkers can sip frozen daiquiris or split a bucket of beer (Corona, Bud) with pals on the open-air roof deck, which boasts clear views of New York's Upper Bay.
If you’re lucky enough to live or work near this legendary Red Hook sandwich shop, you know the secret of its success: massive, old-school Italian heros. Buns are layered with ingredients like ham, provolone, salami, roast beef, mozzarella and fried eggplant. In the Gramercy location, prepared dinners (macaroni with vodka sauce, chicken parmigiana) in microwaveable containers are available to go.
Hurricane Sandy couldn't stop the beloved Red Hook pie shop from making a sweet return to the Brooklyn waterfront. Waist-high flooding ravaged the original factory on Pier 41, putting owner Steve Tarpin and his pastry lieutenants out of commission during their busiest season. The Miami native makes his big comeback on the next pier over, with a sunny kitchen three times the size of his old one. Find his signature graham-cracker-crusted pies—filled with a condensed-milk custard laced with zesty lime juice—and the Swingle—a tartlet dipped in dark Belgian chocolate—inside the tropical-orange-hued bakery. The pies may be the same, but Tarpin will hang a new vintage glass sign etched with the shop’s motto: "Always Freshly Squeezed."
Classic red vinyl diner seating abounds at this Red Hook diner-cum-pub, whose interior is a reassuring alloy of a blue-tinted bar and red-brick walls, adorned with restrained art. Try the gazpacho; it’s light and well blended. Or the mac and cheese fritters, delicate, un-oily and melding nicely with the horseradish-based sauce. Move onto the moist and peppery pork burger with cheddar and apple relish (though be sure to ask for sweet potato fries instead of the standard anemic variety). If you have room, finish with the banana cream pie, a study in gustatory excess.
This affordable, sophisticated Brooklyn restaurant—evocative of a first-class dining car with its glossy blond wood paneling—consistently packs in local crowds. Much of the credit goes to chef Sohui Kim (Blue Hill, Annisa), whose Asian-inspired menu flirts with European influences in dishes like flavorful barramundi with brussels sprouts, apples and bacon in a sorrel-based sauce. Getting there (for non-Hookers) can be a tougher sell: Expect at least a ten-minute walk from the subway.
When owners Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson consolidated their itsy-bitsy lounge, Tini Wine Bar, with its sister home-goods shop, the resulting mash-up became dangerous territory for shopaholics. After downing a glass of pinot grigio ($6), see if you can resist such industrial-looking pieces as a metal-and-reclaimed-wood coffee table ($800) that was handmade by Swenson, an antique medical lamp ($245) and the selection of mercury glass candlesticks ($18–$48) tempting you in the front window display.
The mobile pizza standby—a favorite at food flea Smorgasburg and Crown Heights beer hall Berg'n—gets its first permanent flagship in Red Hook, slinging Neapolitan-style pies from a turn-of-the-century oven found ensconced behind a wall in the formerly abandoned storefront. Restoring the hearth's original cast-iron details, but trading coal for wood, chef-owners Dave Sclarow and Anna Viertel pull rounds topped with everything from bacon fat to clams to pistachio pesto (with winter greens, fresh mozzarella, ricotta and pecorino). There are also composed small plates that showcase Sclarow's finesse from working in kitchens like Esca, including a pancetta-crowned cassoulet with shell beans, steamed mussels with sesame fry bread and crispy chicken agro-dolce with chilis, peanuts and cilantro. The team looked to the history of the 'hood for decor inspiration—bar stools are welded from Red Hook public schools' discarded desks and tables are constructed from bowling-alley wood. At the bar, made out of salvaged soap stone, cocktails pay homage to the cigar maker who once inhabited the space: the gin-fortified Harry’s Bouquet (Aperol, house lemon bitters, anise rinse) is named after a popular cigar blend. Also offered is a selection of biodynamic and natural wines, such as a deep-red, fruit-dense Chinon Cabernet Franc from Domaine Beatrice et Pascal Lambert.