September, 2014. Dave Katz for Tasting Table.
Yeah, yeah yeah: Summer's over. But it's still (mostly) nice out there. And we're not quite ready to say goodbye.
So in the spirit of keeping the vacation vibe alive, we're making the rounds of a few spots that feel like a little bit of the beach in the city.
First up, the aptly named Crabby Shack in Crown Heights. Look for the big blue and white facade on Franklin Avenue. Friends and owners Gwen Woods and Fifi Bell are new to the food industry and are on a mission to get people to love and respect the lowly crab the way they do the lobster. And the crab roll ($12) is a pretty good argument: potato roll, lots of garlic butter and Alaskan snow crab steamed and topped with fresh cilantro.
Says Woods, "We want to be doing something different."
The duo seems to have managed exactly that from humble beginnings, funding the project through Kickstarter with the slogan "If you love crab, you will help us" as their battle cry. Also different: Ambitious guests can crack their own Alaskan snow crab ($17) ready for some Old Bay on the distressed wooden tables if they want to get their hands dirty. See? It's like summer never ended.
Another part of Brooklyn, another seafood shack: Red Hook's Brooklyn Crab is the kind of shack that's built over three levels with a ground-floor games area (mini golf! bean bag toss!) flanked by a large bar ideal for day-drinking. They've got a gooey mac and cheese ($5) to soak up the booze and round out the seafood on the menu. But keep in mind: This isn't a fine-dining establishment. You're here for the buckets of beers and views over the Hudson River for miles.
Speaking of brews with a side of views, Greenpoint's Northern Territory has a camp-cabin feel to it from the minute you walk inside, with its woodsy interior and Mason jar water glasses. The bar may be a bit of a trek, but it's well worth it for its healthy selection of beer and cocktails and its gorgeous, sprawling roof deck overlooking the Manhattan skyline. After bounding up a long set of stairs (keep the return trip in mind as you sip), the outdoor wooden booths turn out to be a beautiful place to watch the sun set.
For dessert, because nothing tastes sweeter in warm weather, we're thinking ice cream. Specifically, the creative concoctions coming out of Stef Ferrari's little tasting room Hay Rosie in Carroll Gardens. The rotating selection might include summer-feeling new classics such as Key Lime Pie, Bananas Ferrari (a salty take on Bananas Foster) or the incredibly rich chocolate malt with honeyed peanut butter. If you close your eyes on the red adirondack chairs in front, you might even forget it's September.