Brooklyn: a mecca for artists, musicians, and anyone looking for stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. In recent years, the borough has experienced a cultural boom, and its charming neighborhoods, international crowds, multi-ethnic restaurants, and diverse creative scene reflect how the area is evolving.
To get a glimpse of some of Brooklyn’s offerings, we’re exploring the culinary side of the borough’s own Cobble Hill with Passion Passport founder Zach Houghton.
This recent Clinton Street addition has quickly become a Cobble Hill community favorite. Cozy, welcoming, and decked out with bright-white detailing, Tekoá serves a small assortment of delicious breakfast fare (including omelets, pastries, and dishes like the Weekend Special Pancake and the Turkish Breakfast) until 4:30 p.m. The carefully curated menu also features a host of delightful lunch dishes, but according to Zach, it’s the perfect spot for a cup of coffee. In fact, he regularly stops in at any time of the day for a cup of joe, especially since this quaint shop is ideal for afternoon meetings and midday pick-me-ups.
Another Clinton Street fixture, La Vara is a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves up Spanish tapas with spades of style. The offerings at this tiny restaurant range from appetizers like spiced fried chickpeas to small plates like their crispy eggplant served with honey and melted cheese. This cozy locale is the perfect place to go with a group — so order a bunch of plates for the table, and share to your heart’s content. Zach enjoys the warm atmosphere and delicious, and especially the Berenjena con Miel (crispy eggplant) and the Alcachofas (fried artichokes).
FOR A HOT MEAL
If you’re traversing the streets of Cobble Hill and want to break for a bite to eat, there’s no better place than Yemen Café. An Atlantic Avenue staple since 1986, the café offers a warm, casual atmosphere and is a must-visit for comforting and delicious Yemeni food. If you’ve never tried Yemeni cuisine before, think dishes and sides like lamb and rice, hummus, baba ganoush, and roasted vegetables. Though you can’t go wrong ordering anything from the menu, Zach recommends the Fasouleh (a salad of kidney beans, onions, tomatoes, and spices).
FOR A QUICK BITE
One of Zach’s favorite neighborhood locations is Pok Pok — he orders one of their spectacular Thai dishes at least once a week. The best part is that most of their meals only ring up at about $10 — and nothing on the menu is over $16. Based on the owner’s commitment to uber-fresh ingredients and his personal hands-on apprenticeship with chefs in Thailand, Pok Pok is Cobble Hill’s very own small-business success story.
FOR A DRINK
At the end of the day, there’s no better place in Cobble Hill to unwind with a glass of wine than June Natural Wine Bar and Restaurant. From a host of carefully curated wines to a fully stocked liquor bar, June is the perfect locale for a group or a date to round out your day of exploration. Just ask Zach — you’ll probably see him in there.