Take a look at the lines snaking out of Industry City’s Avocaderia, one of the latest entries in the complex’s Food Hall, and it’s easy to see that the take-out stand represents a phenomenon.
Open a scant three weeks when we paid our visit, Avocaderia is pulling in some 300 to 500 eager diners every weekday, well more than the 100 or so that co-owners Alessandro Biggi, Alberto Gramigni and Francesco Brachetti anticipated.
And they’re coming, not just from the immediate vicinity but from around the city and beyond — residents and tourists, alike, all enticed by the siren song of the avocado, which stars in every dish on the limited menu except the beverages.
“Every business would be happy to have so much business but it’s been so insane that they haven’t had a chance to perfect what they do yet,” noted spokesperson Liza Zusman. “Tourists come to see the Brooklyn Bridge, they go to Brooklyn Heights, but Sunset Park?”
But yet, neither she nor the three founders are surprised that the restaurant has in fact filled a void. The cuisine, after all, is “healthy, accessible to all and quick,” noted Zusman, who said that the restaurant had evolved from Brachetti’s infatuation with the avocado, something he had not tried in his native Italy but quickly “fell in love” with after moving for a while to Mexico. “He was amazed that no one had come up with the idea before.”
On the Friday afternoon we tried a handful of Avocaderia’s specialties, Brachetti was behind the cash register, taking orders for the eatery’s signature avocado toast offerings, guacamole and salads — all, when they were delivered up to the hungry customer, apparently ready for their close-up.
First, we dug into Avocaderia’s Signature Guaca ($3.95, small; $6.95, large), which was stunningly fresh and creamy, studded with chunks of avocado and bits of celery, and served with chips from Baked in Brooklyn, another Sunset Park business.
Then, we chowed down on the Chill Out Avocado Toast ($6.95), a thick slab of multi-grain bread toasted then slathered with an avocado spread that was dusted with chili powder and the Japanese spice mix known as shichimi. The slight heat from the spices created a pleasant counterpoint with the cooling, luxuriant avocado spread which also contrasted delightfully with the bread base.
Finally, my companion and I shared the Greek Island Salad ($10.95), which featured avocado chunks among a long list of goodies — feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, mesclun, pistachio nuts, kalamata olives, and bits of cucumber, celery, tomato and fennel, among them. It was satisfying but not cloying, with contrasts of flavor and texture — chewy, creamy, crunchy and sweet, tart and salty at once.
A commitment to quality was apparently in all the food we tried. The avocados were beautifully, bright green; the arugula had that particular tang that is unique to it, and the spices packed a punch of flavor that teased the palate even as it satisfied.
Clearly, Avocaderia’s owners know that novelty will draw customers once; it’s the insistence on using the best and preparing food with care that keeps them coming back.
Industry City Food Hall
238 36th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.