Somewhere in the world there may be a train line that covers more gastronomic territory than the B and V subway lines, which start in southernmost Brooklyn and end deep in Queens, but if there is, we don’t know about it. For the next twenty-odd weeks, we’ll be riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants and food stores near the subway.
This Week: Atlantic Avenue
Stopping in for a chicken-fried steak. Or maybe an “axtail.”Photo: Melissa Hom
Is there a place in Brooklyn bleaker than the nameless area around the Atlantic Avenue Station? Community activists aside, it’s hard to imagine anyone that could be taken with the vast, threatening confluence of traffic-packed avenues, big-box stores, and vacant lots. But just a block down Fourth Avenue is Don Pepe Restaurant, an unexceptional-looking Latino eatery that happens to have one of the best breaded steaks in Brooklyn.
Exteriors aside, Don Pepe has a lot going for it. A long counter filled with happy, satiated-looking customers greet you once you walk in, and a long, hand-painted sign above promises other delights, including “axtail,” “steak on horseback,” and “whole red Snapple.” But the breaded steak, thick and beefy with a greaseless crust that won’t flake off even after vigorous fork work, is the Big Apple equivalent of the best chicken-fried steaks in Texas. Get it by itself, or better still as a sandwich with Swiss cheese and pickles.
Don Pepe Restaurant, 42 Fourth Ave., nr. Pacific St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-855-7866