BY DENISE ROMANO, HEATHER J. CHIN & HELEN KLEIN
Nearly 200 restaurants are participating in Brooklyn’s restaurant week, dubbed DineIn Brooklyn, which will be held from March 11 through March 21, this year.
The event, now in its 10th year and with nearly double the number of restaurants as participated in year one, was kicked off by Borough President Marty Markowitz at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, on Tuesday, March 5.
This year, three-course dinners at participating restaurants will cost $28; three-course lunches will be a super-bargain at $20.13, and some restaurants will be offering two-fers, so two diners will pay either $28 (at dinner) or $20.13 (at lunch or brunch) for two meals. Beverages taxes and tips are extra.
Spring, which is ushered in, in the borough, by Dine In Brooklyn is Markowitz’s “favorite time of year,” he proclaimed, a time, he said, “when Brooklynites and New Yorkers have a spring in their step and a glow in their bellies.”
That glow will be even brighter as prospective restaurant-goers contemplate the choices for this year’s Dine in Brooklyn week, which Markowitz characterized as “more exciting and diverse than ever. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come,” with “unique, great food waiting for you in every part of the borough.”
How great? “The greatest compliment Parisians give to food is ‘tres Brooklyn,’” Markowitz announced.
So, where to eat? The restaurants run the gamut from Italian to French to Indian to Latino, and on and on. In Bay Ridge, there are 24 participating eateries, second only to Park Slope, where a whopping 47 restaurants are taking part. Williamsburg is the third most active neighborhood, with 23 eateries on the list. Several Kosher restaurants are participating as well.
“It’s our busiest time of year,” said Jacques Gautier, who owns Park Slope’s Palo Santo and Fort Reno BBQ. “It introduces so many new people to what we do, and has such great energy.”
Chris Sell, the owner of the Chip Shop in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, agreed. He has participated in Dine in Brooklyn since the very beginning and said, “It gives you an opportunity to show what you can do to people who wouldn’t normally come to you.”
Pedro Munoz, the owner of Luz in Fort Greene, which specializes in El Salvadorean food with a modern twist, added that the event was “good exposure. We get 40 to 50 percent more customers during the two weeks. They do a great job organizing it.”
Even though the event is structured around three-course menus, Williamsburg’s Saint Austere is still able to offer and capitalize on its specialty, which is small plates, said owner Jackie Pirolo. “It’s designed the way we do our normal tasting menu,” she explained, ”which is designed to share.”
Restaurants in neighborhoods hard hit by Sandy have a special reason to showcase their specialties through the event. Kevin Moore and Caroline Parker of the newly reopened Kevin’s restaurant in Red Hook said they were looking forward to interacting with and feeding their customers again.
As Rachel London, the proprietor of Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook, noted, “Winter was slow. We had an unanticipated hurricane. We’re happy that Dine In Brooklyn is happening now. It’s an exciting time for us.”
The complete list of restaurants can be viewed at www.visitbrooklyn.org.