If you're looking for an excellent dinnertime adventure this fall, Bed-Stuy's Do or Dine is totally the way to go, Foie Gras Doughnut, Octo-e666s, street-art murals and all. Opened this summer by four young non-chefs, (two of whom, Justin Warner and George McNeese, worked front-of-the-house at Danny Meyer's The Modern, and so at least have impeccable service credentials), Bed-Stuy's Do or Dine overcomes its potentially too hipstery-precious premise (basically: stoner food served under disco ball) with aplomb, by serving terrific dishes in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
We went to Bed-Stuy's Do or Dine twice last week, and had a great time and even better food both nights. The name Do or Dine is just one of many puns you'll encounter here. For example, those e666s mentioned above are of the deviled variety (get it?!?), and they come two ways, both of which are outstanding. We loved them when they sprouted grilled baby octopus tentacles and were dusted with black pepper, accompanied by cornichons shoved into the cephalopods' little heads; we loved them when they were stuffed with bacon and culantro, then fried in a light tempura batter, and topped with a dollop of hot sauce. One or both of these snackish plates are menu musts.
And then there's Do or Dine's (in)famous Foie Gras Doughnut, which is nothing more than a jelly doughnut from Bed-Stuy's world-class bakery Dough that's also filled with intensely rich pate. The teenager at our table was skeptical that this dish made any sense; one bite had her eyes rolling back in her head with uncontrollable bliss. Share this with the table, in order to avoid richness overload. Do or Dine's lovely Lamb Breast is equally rich, and equally delicious, the crispy, fatty meat redolent with cumin, the whole thing brightened by a hit of lime. The Shishito Quarte Sel featured a pile of impossibly large, sweet and meaty roasted peppers, with four flavored salts in which to dip, including a wasabi and a yuzu, and were gone in less than two minutes.
And the hits just kept coming at Bed-Stuy's Do or Dine, including a perfectly cooked bowl of meaty, head-on prawns (this dish is called District D9ne, in a shout-out to the oppressed aliens of the recent, cultish movie) with tiny clams, fennel, greens, tomatoes and a hunk of very good, locally baked SCRATCHbread; and the Chicken and Woofals entree, the juicy roasted bird smeared with pate (hence the "offal"), and stacked atop sweet, crunchy waffles in a wonderfully sticky, orangey, mapley sauce. In two nights we had almost half of the Do or Dine menu, and every dish was a winner. AND, if you're so inclined, Bed Stuy's Do or Dine just received their liquor license, making the idea of snacks and drinks on the graffiti-festooned back garden even more appealing, come some warmish autumn evening.
Bed-Stuy's Do or Dine details
Do or Dine is located on Bedford Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Do or Dine is about a ten-block walk from the Nostrand Avenue A train station, or about five blocks from the G train's Bedford-Nostrand stop. Do or Dine is iopen daily from 4:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., though the kitchen closes earlier, depending. Also: the Do or Dine crew is talking about rolling out a weekend brunch service soon. For more details, please see the Do or Dine Facebook page, here.