Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go out to dinner and be certain that your favorite alcoholic beverages were available, for around $3 per drink? Have we got news for you: Brooklyn has some awesome BYOB restaurants, so going out to eat and drinking cheap doesn’t have to exist only in your dreams.
A BYOB restaurant is a beautiful, cost-effective option often overlooked in a city where you’re constantly stuck $12 for something you already have in your fridge and could’ve poured into your own mason jar. We’re obviously not taking any kind of anti-bar stance here, but if you have a few odd beers at your apartment and want to get rid of them, why not take them out for a night on the town at at one of Brooklyn’s best BYOB restaurants?
53 Morgan Avenue (rear building), East Williamsburg
Shinobi Ramen serves up heaping bowls of authentic ramen in their modern, laid-back space, nestled in the street-art laden landscape around the corner from the Morgan Ave. L stop. The menu, written out in its entirety on a large chalkboard, stays below the $12 range for the most part and has plenty of veggie options. Not a veggie option: the Super Miso Ramen, which we highly recommend.
7026 3rd Ave., Bay Ridge
This bright, spacious restaurant with fresh, authentic Turkish cuisine is a must-try in South Brooklyn. Pashazade’s extensive menu offers a wide range of hot and cold appetizers and entrees. Highlights include kibbeh ($8) and chicken kebab ($16.25), but there’s really nothing we wouldn’t recommend, and you could just spring for the mixed grill entree ($21.75) and have a bit of everything. Their attentive service makes for a great dining experience, and with their generous portions, you might not even have room for the booze you brought (jokes!). But really, formulate an eating strategy so you can still try the baklava ($4.50.)
Kelso Bistro Bar and Restaurant
648 Franklin Ave., Crown Heights
Kelso is one of the only Panamanian restaurants in the city, but that’s not the reason it’s one of the best. Their fantastically flavorful Panamanian, West Indian, and Spanish comfort foods will warm your heart and soul, and the friendly staff will make you feel right at home. The menu is daunting, as enticing options like bistek picado and camarones calipso can be yours for $10 and $12, respectively, so just listen to your heart (and the nonstop salsa music.) All these things and more have kept Kelso open since 1969, which is no small feat in BK.
1141 Brighton Beach Ave., Brighton Beach
Just a couple of blocks from the Brighton Beach BQ, Cafe Kashkar’s menu is based on Uzbeck foods and that from the Uyghur region of Western China. Where else can you even find such a winning combo? A: Nowhere else in the five boroughs– it’s the only Uyghur restaurant around. If you’ve never tried this cuisine before, high-tail it over there because you’ve been missing out, my friend. Plenty of satiating, heaping appetizers like the fried lagman ($7.50), hearty lamb soups all around $6, and massive manti (lamb and onion dumplings, also $6!).
646 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint
With its tchotchke-decorated walls, mounted deer heads, and cozy atmosphere, walking into Lomzynianka can feel like walking into someone’s grandmother’s house. In historically Polish Greenpoint, this is one of the best spots for authentic Polish eats. Hearty goulash, kielbasa, boiled or fried pierogies, and more are all available under $10, in generous portions. Grab some Zywiec and try to get there before it fills up!
433 Dekalb Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant
Opened by King Phojanakong as a sister restaurant to his Kuma Inn in the LES, this Asian-fusion eatery in Bed-Stuy features mostly Filipino and Thai dishes. Its name means “to drink” in Tagalog, so pick up some booze from the bodega next door and observe accordingly. Order the pork belly adobo ($14). Order it! Or order a bunch of things from the extensive selection of small plates to split.
709 Franklin Ave., Crown Heights
This Franklin Ave. joint has a primarily Thai fusion menu with some solid standard dishes. The food is great, the prices are wondrously reasonable, the service is fast, the interior is simple, and, c’mon, every restaurant you go to doesn’t have to be painstakingly industrial-chic. Their most expensive options are around $15, but most of their food is at far lower prices than that, so go nuts. The pineapple fried Rice ($7 or $8, depending on which meat/meat proxy you choose) is truly something to behold.
Kaz an Nou
53 6th Ave., Prospect Heights
Kaz an Nou is a French-West Indian cafe that offers a seasonal menu of some intricately spicy and simply delicious dishes (Read: twice-baked goat cheese and fresh thyme soufflé.) Both the indoor and outdoor spaces are decked out in a welcoming, colorful decor, and they host live music on Tuesdays and Sundays. With entrees closer to $20, this is one of the slightly pricier options on this list, but we daresay it’s worth it– and there are still plenty of super-wallet-friendly appetizers as well.
575 Henry St., Carroll Gardens
Straight up, Lucali makes freaking excellent pizza. Also calzones. Nothing else, and we’re more than okay with it. Upon entering the cozy, no-frills restaurant, you’ll be greeted by the aroma of wood-fired oven cooking up doughy goodness with the freshest of ingredients. Owner Mark Iacona built and renovated the entire place himself! You’ll also probably encounter a large crowd– this place is extremely popular (for good reason) and has been a favorite of power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. Definitely come here with your partner in culinary crime to split a pie ($24) or massive calzone ($10 for a “small,” $20 for a [quite] large.)
234 Starr St., Bushwick
It would appear that a new restaurant opens overnight, every night, in Bushwick. This newcomer popped up a couple of months ago, and it’s a welcome addition to a bourgeoning restaurant scene that had previously been sorely lacking in pasta options. Antonio Campanelli’s Pasta Shop boasts a short menu of simple, delectable appetizers and pasta entrees prepared with great attention to detail. They’re only BYOB until they acquire a liquor license, but even so, this place is worth the bang for your buck. Both the gnocchi al pesto and the pici cacio e pepe are $12 each, and the rest of the entree menu prices aren’t much higher.
228 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene
If you’re jonesing for Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food in Fort Greene, may we direct you to Black Iris? You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu– there’s something for everyone, especially the vegan crowd. Standards like falafel, kebabs, gyros, as well as assorted combination platters are all available at low prices, and cold appetizers like tabouleh and baba ghannouj run at $5.50. The hummus (small $5.50/large $7.50) and zaatar bread ($5) will knock your socks off.
Follow Shaylyn for more culinary adventures at @Berlewnatic