Do or Dine in Brooklyn

My proposal to experience a night out at the new Brooklyn restaurant, Do or Dine, was accepted as part of Foodbuzz’s 24×24 program. I had a really incredible experience and even if I hadn’t received the $250 stipend, I would gladly have spent my own dolla dolla bills to eat at this restaurant. I try to keep that in mind when I receive free samples and such – would I spend my own money on this? Yes? Well, then I’ll blog about it. If not, I’ll either give an honest review and say I wasn’t a fan or I won’t even bother mentioning it. Anyway, on to the restaurant recap!

If you’re familiar with Brooklyn neighborhoods, fine dining might not be what comes to mind when you hear Bed-Stuy. The neighborhood is better known for producing hip hop legends such as the Notorious B.I.G. (he grew up 3 blocks from my apartment!). However much like it’s neighbors to the north, Williamsburg and Bushwick, the area has been undergoing a wave of gentrification. Whether this is good or bad isn’t something I feel I can sufficiently discuss on the blog right now, but I can say that the changes to the neighborhood are certainly interesting. Do or Dine, a new restaurant on Bedford Avenue was founded by guys whose lack of formal cooking experience is made up for by a love of food and more than a little creativity. Although it should be noted that two of the founders did wait tables at The Modern and the chefs in the kitchen have some impressive pedigrees (i.e. Moritmoto and DBGB). Per Do or Dine’s Facebook page, the owners say they came up with the idea because “We got tired of stumbling home drunk and eating bodega food and crown fried chicken…” At least they’re honest. From the moment you approach the restaurant, you know you’re not going to be having a stuffy, formal dinner. From the outside, Do or Dine could be mistaken for a fast food spot or bodega, but if you look closely, you can see the logo underneath the awning and above the security gate.

Inside, the walls are covered with what looks like recycled subway tiles, a spinning disco ball hangs from the ceiling, and a playlist featuring Pitbull and Sean Kingston sets the mood. It’s clear that the owners curated an atmosphere that lends itself to having fun. I would go back to this place for the music alone! Upon arrival, Leslie (my date for the evening!) and I perused the cocktail list. I mean, let’s be honest, decisions are best made with a strong drink in hand. I chose a libation made of Tennessee whiskey and house-made ginger beer as my first drink and later on moved to a spicy tequila cocktail. The drinks definitely paved the way for the spread of food that we were about to order. I had questions about nearly everything on the menu (I didn’t even know what half the terms meant!), but our server was very patient and offered suggestions and explanations throughout the night.

To begin, Leslie and I decided to split two items from the snack menu and two small plates. I’m not usually a super adventurous eater (especially when it comes to meat and seafood), but I figured that if there was ever a time to stretch my boundaries, it was now.

The nippon nachos have been getting a lot of press, so we had to try them. The “nachos” were actually vegetable gyoza covered in gouda, cheddar, tomatoes, and sour cream. These were probably my favorite starter of the night.

We also ordered a plate of shishito peppers with four flavored salts (hickory, yuzu, wasabi, and green tea). These were good, but the peppers were a Russian roulette of sorts – most were mildly spicy, but one left my mouth absolutely on fire!

The E666S were deviled eggs stuffed with baby octopus and ume (Japanese plum). Baby octopus?? Could I actually eat this? As someone who wouldn’t eat any form of seafood (even fish sticks) up until a few years ago, this was a major step. But I took the plunge and gobbled up an entire deviled egg. The octopus was mostly just chewy, it didn’t taste fishy at all. And I really liked the little Japanese plum – it seemed to be marinated in something like soy sauce.

Our final appetizer was a bowl of pumpkin peanut soup with a butterscotch & bacon compost. Both Leslie and I really liked this dish and would love to have the recipe (hint, hint Do or Dine…). The butterscotch “compost” was unexpected and made the soup almost like a dessert. YUM.

When Leslie and I decide to eat, we EAT. After four appetizers, we moved on to our entrees – pork tenderloin with duck fat, wasabi-apple gratin, and choucroute for me and New Zealand duck breast with sansho, kiwi, and fennel for Leslie. The wasabi apple-gratin recipe was posted online a few days before Thanksgiving and despite not being a wasabi fan, I loved it. I’m not even sure I offered Leslie a bite. Whoops. I did snag a bite of the duck though and it was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and very tender.

By the time we worked our way through our dinner, we were pretty full, but not full enough to turn down the infamous foie gras doughnut that caused a stir among animal activists. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’ve eaten foie gras and while it’s not really my favorite thing, I’m glad I was adventurous. A yeast raised doughnut from nearby Dough was filled with foie gras and jam. The sweet and savory combo reminded me of a grown up play on PB&J. Glad we tried it!

And nearly 3 hours after we arrived, Leslie and left sated and impressed with Do or Dine. The menu would turn heads no matter where it was located, but the fact that it’s on a desolate street in Bed-Stuy makes it that more intriguing. The cozy bar tucked into the corner of the restaurant looked promising and the reasonable prices mean I’ll most likely be back. The menu is constantly changing, so you never know what you’ll get!

This has been a veryyyy good week of eating for me and the running has been relaxed and enjoyable. I’m still feeling a little tight in my glutes, so I’m taking it easy, but I was able to log four days of mileage this week.

Monday, November 21 – OFF
Tuesday, November 22 – OFF
Wednesday, November 23 – 4 miles, hilly
Thursday, November 24 – 7 miles, hilly
Friday, November 25 – OFF
Saturday, November 26 – 7.5 miles, easy
Sunday, November 27 – 11 miles, easy
Total: 29.5 miles

I’m still not sure what my plan is for the next few weeks. I’m just playing it by ear, evaluating how I feel day-by-day. I have a lot of fun holiday parties and events coming up, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if those take precedence over mileage. And I’m totally okay with that and even looking forward to it.

Question: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten? I’m STILL thinking about those baby octopi…

  • i want to go to there.  that duck looks fantastic.  if i come up there, it’s WOFFAL time.

    craziest thing…. when i was studying abroad in shanghai, i had cow penis, lamb kidneys, pig brains…

  • Anonymous

    shut the front door, cow penis?!

  • Lamb’s tongue at Babbo – only got it because everything online raved about it. It actually wasn’t half bad. 

    Bed-Stuy is where that Spike Lee movie “Do the Right Thing” is set, right? I feel like pretty much all of NYC is essentially becoming gentrified. When I first moved to NYC, I thought Alphabet City was dangerous, like it was still as it was portrayed in RENT or something…pretty sure I run through Alphabet City all of the time now…

  • I had baby quail at Nobu, which is a nice Japanese restaurant in NYC (I actually had it at Nobu London though, not sure it’s on the menu in NYC) Very game-y and when they were served they actually looked like little baby quail sitting in a nest. Bizarre! I also went to Russia for work with a soccer team for two weeks and I’m preeeety sure I ate dog and who knows what else. Russia is not known for its food, and there is definitely a reason for that! They did have tasty ice cream though 🙂 OH and my hubbie is half albanian and they have lamb brain soup at orthodox Easter and I tried that. It was kind of bland. I think the stuff you had sounds delicious! Next time I’m in NYC I will try it!

  • this post has left me speechless (wordless?). i want to eat at do or dine stat. will let you know when i’m planning to drag BT to bed-stuy… bahahaha. maybe we should go on our own? 😉

    i haven’t eaten anything nearly as adventurous as the stuff pictured here. i hope that will change soon!

  • I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat a whole lot of crazy foods, since I feel like the foods people get most freaked out about are things like cow brain and octopus guts. But I have eaten a horned melon, which is violently lime green and bears a strong resemblance to octopus guts. Here’s a visual if you want to know what it looks like: http://blog.hotelclub.com/10-must-try-exotic-fruits/african-cucumber/  

  • Mmm, that’s on my list of places to try next time I’m in NYC. My craziest was probably uni (sea urchin). With my boss. So I couldn’t spit it out. (Not that I exactly wanted to, but the texture was a little too much for me to handle.)

  • Congrats on getting the award from Foodbuzz! Sounds like an interesting place! If I ever find myself in Brooklyn, I want to try it for the atmosphere alone. I’m not a very adventurous eater myself though. And being a vegetarian, I can’t say I’ve tried anything all that crazy. People don’t seem to get as freaked out by dishes made with exotic vegetables as ones made with exotic animals, you know? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    ooh, those nachos looks delicious. I also really like octopus but not if they look too in tact  like those little guys do. I’d have to close my eyes and eat them! I think the most adventurous things I’ve eaten are turtle soup and BBQ alligator when I was in New Orleans a while back. Or bone marrow at the now defunct Triple Crown here. That was kind of gross…

  • RunTheLongRoad

    i’m super impressed with your adventurous eating!  i’m terribly picky and could never go to a restaurant like that!  

  • ChiGirlRunning

    i want to go to Brooklyn just for that foie gras donut. 

    I’ve eaten pig face. And i kid you not, it tastes like the most delicious breakfast you’ve ever eaten.

  • Woah looks great! I absolutely LOVE octopus – but hate looking at it! haha. That duck looks amazing – duck would probably be my “last meal”. Great review! Glad you’re enjoying a relaxing week running-wise.
    Strangest food I ever ate was chicken heart at one of those Brazilian steakhouses in NYC. Kind of had the consistency of a grape. (ew) 

  • brian

    i kid you not m. kretz. there would be photos if i were as food obsessed and blogging as i am now. it fortunately wasn’t presented in a way that was appalling either. not amazingly good though.

    oh, more recently i’ve had eyeball tacos at this mexican restaurant in south philly. perhaps you and leslie want to join in a couple? haha, i kid…

  • Anonymous

    Hey, new to your blog, but glad to see someone enjoys running AND food as much as I do! Awesome. If you’re ever in Alphabet City and in the mood for something different, you should try out Lavagna. They have an amazing rabbit pappardelle. Totally worth the trip.

  •  I still can’t get over those baby octupi in the deviled eggs….my stomach is kind of churning just thinking about it…

  • Anonymous

    i love pappardelle! it’s my fav type of pasta (which is notable since i am usually ambivalent about pasta…).

  • Anonymous

    All of it looks so delicious!

    Would love a recipe for the foie gras doughnut, though.

    Charlie

  • Charlier

    OK… maybe I’m naive but why would animal activists be upset about fois gras?

  • Anonymous

    i think it’s because foie gras is fattened up goose liver…and i guess the activists think that it’s inhumane to treat geese that way. i think there’s a huffington post article about the whole debacle!

  • Charlier

    I can’t see why, the entire goose gets eaten.

    Do they have the same problem with fattened up turkeys at Thanksgiving?

  • Anonymous

    according to the huffing post article ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/19/brooklyna-do-or-dines-foi_n_903533.html ):

    “Foie gras production methods are well-known to be cruel, made by force-feeding ducks and geese several times a day using a metal feeding tube” the letter reads. “*The birds’ livers are engorged to ten times their healthy size. Birds should not have to suffer for donuts.*”

  • Charlier

    Oh no!  That just isn’t right.

    I just thought they got a lot of livers and made it.

    Naive!