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Where to Eat in March

DATE POSTED:February 29, 2024
In Brooklyn, a destination for lamb masala and exotic rum.Photo: Naomi Otsu

Welcome to Grub Street’s rundown of restaurant recommendations that aims to answer the endlessly recurring question: Where should we go? These are the spots that our food team thinks everyone should visit, for any reason (a new chef, the arrival of an exciting dish, or maybe there’s an opening that’s flown too far under the radar). This month: Miss Ada’s long-awaited follow-up, the heftiest shawarma wrap in the city, and French-creole island fare in East Williamsburg.

Genatsvale Georgian Bakery (Brighton Beach)
The other day, I had what must be the heftiest shawarma wrap in the city. It was so big, my friend kept insisting I put it on a scale, but it only cost $10 — a steal in these days of towering sandwich prices. This shawarma (here spelled shaurma) is made Georgian-style, with pork and chicken that’s nicely charred and seasoned with a blend of spices kept secret. “We use different kinds of Georgian seasonings, just like they do in Tbilisi,” says the owner, Linieta Nanava. Chopped hot peppers are optional, but they’re really not, and the addition of mayo and ketchup gives the wrap a fast-food appeal, like a Crunchwrap gone to the Caucasus. — Chris Crowley

Little Grenjai (Bedford-Stuyvesant)
This Thai restaurant has had many lives — ranging from a ghost kitchen operating out of Downtown Brooklyn to, most recently, a takeout window selling Thai burgers cooked on an electric grill while the owners waited for the restaurant’s gas to be turned on. In January, at last, Little Grenjai opened up its shoe-box-size dining room for full service, and it’s turned a fairly sleepy corner on Gates into a destination. For dinner, start with paper-thin crab rangoon and the crispy rice salad; finish with the charred cabbage stir-fry and, if you can handle the heat, the drunken noodles. Or go for lunch, when seating is first-come, first-served and the only time the restaurant’s signature krapow smash burger is available. — Edward Hart 

Radio Star (Greenpoint)
It’s not just for love of WNYC that I warmed to Radio Star, the recently opened all-day café on Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park, where for decades WNYC’s towers beamed from. Its own transmissions reach from farther afield. Sara Conklin, who also runs nearby Glasserie, keeps a similar Mediterranean focus here, and the charming, sunny space, kitted out with décor from the ’40s, had the feel of a coffee shop in some battered but resilient former SSR. Breakfast starts at 8, with saffron-cream-cheese pastry; lunch at 11; and dinner at 4, which I cobbled together from pork cheeks in a swath of labne, a budding plate of charred broccoli rabe, and a selection of spreads and spreadables that come in mini “condiment jars,” like baby food for savory adults. Slightly out of time, perfect for a quiet burble or a solo semi-doze, gazing into the middle distance as you get through too few pages of the giant book that’s been hogging your tote bag. Just like the radio! — Matthew Schneier

Theodora (Fort Greene)
First, the bad news: Fort Greene, a neighborhood that loves its restaurants, has been waiting months for this Miss Ada follow-up to open. So, by 5:30 — an hour when even the buzziest Manhattan wine bars can still feel desolate — this room, whitewashed and filled with the pleasant smell of wood smoke, is already three-quarters full. Now the good news: The food, which is ostensibly Mediterranean but liberally pulls inspiration and ingredients from across the world, is pretty much all delicious. Sturdy slices of dry-aged yellowtail, plucked from the aging locker up front, are fanned out across turmeric-spiked coconut milk, while a special of striped-bass ceviche is perfumed with charred bits of pineapple and basil leaves. Bread? There is plenty, like a twisty round of kubaneh to dip in a trio of spreads (or the leftover coconut milk from the fish). Skewers of cubed swordfish belly are sufficiently smoky from the charcoal grill and placed atop a mild-spiced labneh, and it’s a wise move to finish things off with a small sundae of peanut-butter-esque tahini ice cream, covered in caramel and pierced with jagged-looking bits of crispy phyllo. — Alan Sytsma 

Maloya (East Williamsburg)
On an industrial block of Flushing Avenue lies a portal to a tiny tropical refuge called Maloya. The turquoise room is dedicated to the creole culture of Reunion Island, a tiny French department in the Indian Ocean. Dimly lit, with paintings of lush valleys and a wall-size mural of the prized Victoria pineapple, you can almost sense the beach outside. Stop by for a ti punch and the assiette creole, a mixed order of canapés that allows you to sample cheesy samosas alongside lima-bean fritters, or a comforting entrée like lamb stewed with an aromatic masala. At the bar, peruse the selection of lesser-known rums from Reunion Island, Mauritius, and Fiji. — Tammie Teclemariam