The Castello Plan
1213 Cortelyou Rd. (at Argyle)
What it is: The snazzy, woody bar and restaurant is a pillar of “the new Smith Street,” as Marty Markowitz has called Cortelyou Road.
Why we love it: Rustic but not pig-farmy, trend-conscious but not precious, Castello Plan is highbrow modern Brooklyn but not achingly so. Castello’s wide-ranging menu has an adventurous side (gazpacho with white peach and seared squid) but doesn’t thumb its nose at updated classics (tagliatelle with tomato pesto and pecorino.) Bring a date, for sure, or old friends you want to catch up with while feeling like you’ve done well for yourselves. Uninformed people who ignorantly equate your fantasy of moving to gorgeous Ditmas Park with words like “finished,” “suburbia” and “Queens?”
What to order: All-you-can eat mussels on Monday nights ($11), oysters for $1 on Saturday afternoons, the charcuterie platter any time. Choose from 16 beers including seven European craft labels. The cocktail menu is divided into “Classic” and “Signature,” so you can opt for a Sazerac (founded in 1838 in New Orleans, as the menu annotates) first and then a “Kentucky Two-Timer” (bourbon, antica formula, mint tea, lavender, black pepper, toasted coriander). Meet somewhere in the middle with “Brooklyn Crossing” a classic dirty martini using pickles from the Pickle Guys. At daily happy hours from 4 to 8, beer is $4 and cocktails and wine are $6. Also, brunch.
Regular tip: The name refers to Jacques Cortelyou’s first map of lower Manhattan. Delightful owners Ben Heemskerk and Mauri Weakley also own the richly curated Collyer Mansion home store on nearby Stratford Road and Lea, an Italo-terranean spot where Vox Pop used to be.