There is nothing quite like the artistic energy that emanates from the heart of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, my favorite borough of New York City.
I spend one night at the Wythe Hotel, a boutique hotel with loft-converted rooms that feature original historic industrial detailing, pine ceilings, and exposed brick walls. My room overlooks the hauntingly peaceful snow-covered Manhattan.
Albeit the frigid coldness of the winter air upon us, the cool hipness of Williamsburg beckons us outside our room. Thank goodness everything was within walking distance.
Right down the road, on Banker St, a few minutes away is the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, a smorgasbord of excitement under one warm roof. Live music, local craft beers, food kiosks, video games, popcorn, pingpong, grafitti and mini golf, along with local artisans selling their wares. The vibe is casual and unpretentiously fun. And the music is damn good. Click here for the live indie music line up.
Would you like some popcorn with your ping pong?
For dinner we decide on a hip hidden joint called Battery Harris on Frost St. The brain child of David Shapiro and Etan Fraiman of Rockaway, NY - both bonafide jerk chicken addicts who wanted to design gourmet versions of classic Caribbean dishes. With the help of Chef Zach Frankel (formerly a cook at Williamsburg dining staples Marlow and Sons and Diner before becoming Executive Chef at Jacks WifeFreda), they summoned the spirit of their favorite jerk chicken from Flatbush and brought it to the burg.
Fun fact: Chef Zach Frankel is the brother of Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost! the synthpop duo from Brooklyn.
Unassuming on the outside, Battery Harris attracts hipsters of all sorts with its trendy vibe, creative cocktails, good music(DJ Salinger on Friday nights rock out nasty remixes of traditional indie rock favorites and Saturday Michna spins), and now, their Jamaican food menu.
I was surprised that they had Jamaican food at this place.Honestly, I came here for the drinks and the space, which is divided into 5 different hangout spaces. 1) an indoor eating space next to a dance floor 2) an outdoor eating space under an awning 3)an additional outdoor space with a fire pit 4)a bar that separates the indoor and the outdoor area 5) an elevated area where you can challenge each other to a game of pool.
The only Jamaican joint I went to in this city was Miss Lily's in Soho, until I found this place. Located on Frost Street off the Lorimier stop on the L, this hidden hot spot does not only make great Jamaican food, their house-made jerk sauce blew my mind. My first impression was "now THIS is spicy" and that's a compliment from a girl who grew up in Bangkok, Thailand.
My crew finished the entire bottle of their amazing house-made jerk saucebecause we put it on everything - from the warm coconut bread(so delicious) to the Grilled Red Snapper wrapped in banana leaves (photo below).
Other dishes we tried included:
Peppah Prawns: so good and super spicy!
Brick Jerk Chicken served with sweet plantains is made better with even more jerk sauce.
Jerk Pork Buns: Crispy Pork Belly w/ Jamaican Spice Shadow Beni
Permanent Summer Salad: green papaya, jicama, mango, peanuts & lime.
All dishes above are extra tasty with a little bit more jerk sauce. In fact Battery Harris is so confident that their jerk sauce is so goodthat they just give you their recipe.
Take it and run.
In fact, they just give you the recipes of all the Jamaican saucesthey have here so you can make it yourself at home. Or maybe they are just tired of all the hipster vegans/picky eaters asking what they can and cannot eat so they posted the ingredients up on the wall so they can stop pestering the servers.
Don't forget dessert! The Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Creamwas, simply put, Mmmmmm....
What we drank (L to R):Buff Bay - whiskey, Benedictine, splash of ginger beer, ginger syrup, house spices; Little London - gin, St Germaine, club soda, mint cucumber, lime
And the drunker we got, the crazier we danced to the obscure remixes so good that everyone stopped in their tracks just to shazam them for later.
Good music. Good food in our belly. All in good company. Artistically refreshed, and our souls, along with our stomachs, are delightfully happy. Oh Brooklyn, how I have missed thee.
Brooklyn Night Bazaar - 165 Banker St., Brooklyn, NY 11222; Fridays 7PM – 1AM & Saturdays 6PM – MIDNIGHT