What’s your favorite neighborhood in New York? Why? I am loving Red Hook. It’s a very special waterfront community adjacent to some of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Some of the coolest bars and restaurants in NY are in Red Hook and they are never crowded! It’s the perfect neighborhood and despite incredible growth and development, I think it will always remain off the beaten path. – Todd Lewin
Over in Red Hook, an artsy neighborhood in South Brooklyn’s western edge, Fort Defiance defies expectations with its modest storefront in an NYC borough known for its brash style. The small cafe attracts Brooklynites who want all-American fare in a down-home setting. Here, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served without any pretense.
Fort Defiance opened in 2009 and has two themed nights: Monday is burger night and on Thursday, the cafe hosts the Sunken Harbor Club, a weekly celebration of Polynesian food and drink. The regular evening menu includes risotto with spinach, leeks and pistachios ($21) and grilled skirt steak with roasted potatoes, shallots and cherry tomatoes ($27). The extensive cocktail list features “Brother-in-Law,” a mix of gin, grapefruit and apricot liqueur ($12), and “King Bee,” a vodka, lemon and cava combination ($12).
The restaurant sources its ingredients locally: meat comes from a NoHo butcher shop; milk from a creamery in Salem, New York; and fruit and vegetables from an organic farm in Pennsylvania. It’s won an award, too: Fort Defiance was named the best restaurant in Red Hook by The Village Voice in 2014.
Prospective diners can reserve a table by phone for parties of six or more. Follow Fort Defiance on Instagram.
Address: 365 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231