In the last 40 years, Brooklyn has evolved from a joke to the ’hood to a brand. Today, neighborhoods all over the borough are flourishing. The working-class industrial neighborhood of Red Hook has been part of that transformation, with shopping, restaurants and waterfront parks drawing a steady stream of visitors.
One of Red Hook’s most popular eateries is Brooklyn Crab. Its open-air, three-story building offers a friendly, funky bar at street level; picnic tables with colorful umbrellas up one flight; and a roof deck with a view of the Statue of Liberty. The backyard has a minigolf course.
Brooklyn Crab’s menu is straightforward, but the quality and flavors stand up to any New England seafood shack. Try raw oysters, creamy chowder, fried scallops (huge and sweet), crab bites (fritter balls served with Cajun aioli), and of course, divine crab rolls — fresh meat with a little mayo and lemon on a toasted bun. Do not fear the whole crabs: Waiters gladly provide advice on getting meat out of the shell. For dessert, try the key lime tart, or walk a few blocks to the bakery that makes them, Steve’s.
Brooklyn Crab opened in June 2012, just five months before Superstorm Sandy hit, flooding much of Red Hook and knocking out power for weeks. Luckily the restaurant suffered little damage and helped feed locals and volunteers while the neighborhood recovered.
Other eateries worth visiting in resurgent Red Hook include the slightly upscale Good Fork, Fort Defiance, known for great cocktails, and if you prefer lobster rolls over crab, Red Hook Lobster Pound. For Statue of Liberty views, check out Louis Valentino Jr. Park & Pier, or head to Fairway’s rear patio and parking lot.
• Brooklyn Crab: 24 Reed St., Red Hook, Brooklyn; 718-643-2722; www.brooklyncrab.com .