The bargains at Brooklyn Restaurant Week, which starts this Monday, aren't quite as overwhelming as the Manhattan version. The deal is the same three courses for only $21.12 at any of the listed restaurants but few of these places are hugely expensive to begin with. Look at it this way: What you save will cover the cab fare. What follows are a few of the more far-flung Xs on our own personal Brooklyn treasure map. Generally, these aren't destination restaurants, but this week they should be.
Los Pollitos II, a small joint on the outskirts of the fashionable part of Park Slope, is known for its Mexican fare. But we go for the rotisserie chickens, which is a succulent, aggressively spiced, hugely pleasurable mess to eat.
Los Pollitos II, 148 Fifth Ave., at Douglass St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-623-9152
Bay Ridge has the reputation, left over from Saturday Night Fever, of being an overwhelmingly Italian enclave, but in fact its wildly diverse, which is why it supports one of the better Moroccan outposts in town. La Maison Du Couscous serves up fragrant tajines, including one with lamb and preserved lemons, a marvelous balance of gamey richness and acid that keeps us coming back (about once a year.)
La Maison Du Couscous, 484 77th St., nr. Fifth Ave., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; 718-921-2400
Tatiana is the Juniors of Brighton, a massive landmark that is still fun to eat in. This one, however, opens up right onto the boardwalk. That works out well, because the food is heavy and opulent in the Russian style, with copious amounts of butter, smoked fish, and fried items everywhere, and youll want to take an ocean-air walk afterward. Try to come on a weekend when the big Russian band plays.
Tatiana Restaurant, 3152 Brighton 6th St., nr. Boardwalk, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn; 718-891-5151
In pizza-geek circles L & B Spumoni Gardens is somewhat divisive: Some people stand by the places odd, nearly cheeseless slices, and others (such as ourselves) find them cloyingly sweet. But what is sometimes forgotten is that theres a full-service restaurant inside, a citadel of vernacular southern Italian cooking with some of the best, most garlic-laden veal, pasta, and eggplant dishes in Brooklyn, all served in immense portions.
L & B Spumoni Gardens, 2725 86th St., nr. W. 10th St., Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; 718-372-9258
Like Spumoni Gardens, Sahara is immense, wildly popular, and filled at all times with the hum and bustle of happy crowds. The reason is the Middle Eastern and Turkish cooking , which attracts middle-class immigrant families not easily fooled by ersatz cookery. The crusty, piquant lamb kebabs are great on their own, but make sure to get as much of the hot, lush, and savory yogurt as possible on them.
Sahara Restaurant, 2337 Coney Island Ave., nr. Ave. U, Gravesend, Brooklyn; 718-376-8594