Out on the road to find inspiring, less-well-known nabes devoted to the fresh, the local, the sustainable—and the drinkable. Produced by Cindy Hatcher
East: Brooklyn's New Italian Comfort Food
Brooklyn has gone from a part of New York City that food-obsessed Manhattanites couldn't take seriously to a borough they fret is gaining the upper hand. Several of Brooklyn's neighborhoods are well into their second and third waves of trendsetting—all since the late '90s. The latest to receive a new serving of Brooklyn spin: The Carroll Gardens and adjacent Cobble Hill neighborhoods, where traditional Italian comfort food is being updated with more flavor and superb quality, less quantity—and much of it sourced from neighborhood butchers, artisans, bakeries, and grocers.
These 'hoods have deep Italian immigrant roots, boosted lately by a wave of top-notch chefs returning home to cook food inspired by their grandmothers (or acting for all the world like that's what's up). Kicked off by the wonderfully affable Frankies 457 (with two Manhattan outposts—pictured here in Brooklyn), the trend has accelerated with eateries like Brucie and South Brooklyn Pizza. "It's a trend that's exploded, but it's built on what was already there. A return to elevated Italian comfort is happening everywhere, but this area is ground zero," says Ed Levine, founder of seriouseats.com. —Cindy Hatcher