The Q's no gourmand. Fact is the Q once tried to outsource all my restaurant posts, since I honestly prefer takeout on a park bench to white linen, white wine and white white white. But being a middle-class middle-aged man who doesn't go to bars, socializing is often focused on food, and so one does find oneself from time to time bellying up to a tightly spaced table in order to spend what would have in my youth seemed an OBSCENE amount of money on nicely arranged platefuls of things that taste pretty good but not OBSCENELY good enough to match the outlay. That's why I often order the burger. At least that way I can compare it to all the burgers I've had over the course of my life. And frankly, if you can't do a good burger, why are you even in the restaurant business?
Enter RISBO. No burgers. Great vibe. Terrific layout, outstanding food. A place you want to hang for more than just a meal - maybe stick around and head out to the garden for an after-drink. Just five days into what is sure to be a very successful run, the place is oozing with cool. Not hipster cool a la Billyburg, but real honest-to-goodness-I-can't-place-it-so-it-must-be-foreign cool. European cool. South American cool. French cool, with some Caribbean cool, and a Cosmo-Euro playlist with the music just a tad too loud and yet just right to ensure your conversation doesn't travel. Sorry. I don't want to hear about your love life or problems at work. I really don't. Not that I can't sympathize of course.
Address? 701 Flatbush btw Parkside and Winthrop. I know, right?
The emphasis of cuisine is on carne of various types, but the vegetarian sides and salads are delicious as well. As in really, really good. Garlic good. If you're allergic to garlic you may struggle here. And let's talk about the super sweet ordering style that seems to have caught on Stateside. Order here, pickup there, sit wherever. Not that it feels like a cafeteria. But the kitchen is so central to the proceedings you feel like at any moment chef Boris might ask you to toss him an onion. And you would. It feels communal that way.
The deep menu of yore is replaced by a few items done well. Yesterday I got the sliced lamb and it came with (get this) FIVE sides. Perfectly spiced and complementing one another. And the complementing didn't end there. My entire group of five parents-of-a-certain-age couldn't stop complimenting the owners/staff. A complement of compliments.
Cash only is a bummer, but I'm sure they'll take cards soon. The system is still being worked out. I liked the non-alcoholic offerings, and the winos seemed satisfied with the list. For now you pay and order from the host, then you bring your slip to the bartender. I got some sort of sorrel drink called bissap that was super righteous. I feel very cool having ordered and enjoyed bissap. Bissap.
But what impressed me most was the vibe. Great mixing of cultures and people. Didn't feel too pretentious, even though every detail has been considered. Thumbs up, y'all. Thumbs up.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.