In a word, YES.
You have to figure that something pretty spectacular would have to happen in order for me to take time out of my other projects (make that project) in order to write up a little review here on my beloved eating clinton hill (I do miss it!).
Well, how about not just one but TWO spectacular things. Since it would be hard to put them in order of greatness, I will just talk about them chronologically.
On Friday, lesterhead of the inimitable Clinton Hill Blog posted about a brewery on Waverly between Fulton and Atlantic (see I always said the odd piece of the world between Fulton & Atlantic was actually a diamond in the rough), called oddly enough, Greenpoint Beer Works. Skip over to CHB for the downlow, but suffice it to say I happily passed this info onto G-pup (the extreme beer fan in our house). There house brew is called Kelso, and later that evening, G-Pup and I found ourselves in a position to enjoy many pints of their Chocolate Lager - boy was that delicious beer!
Friday night we decided to traipse across the intimidating border of Atlantic avenue to Crown Heights where I had heard there was a lot going on food wise. On Franklin there's Sushi Tatsu II (good size deck for the upcoming summer months) and the new and lovely Saje - getting a lot of talk on Brooklynian. But our destination was on Classon Ave, not known for its culinary destinations - at least not yet! We were going to Chavella's which has also gotten some write ups on Brooklynian. Here's my bottom line, I would come out to Classon from Manhattan for this food. It is easily the best Mexican I have had in all of NYC. Believe me I have tried a lot of places, in Brooklyn and Manhattan and there is nowhere better.
We started with the trio of salsas and some guacamole. The salsas were a fresh pico de gallo, a rich smoky chipotle that g-pup thought was divine, and a salsa verde that while a bit salty was perfectly piquant and my easy runaway favorite. The chips that came with it were small round fried corn chips, fresh from the oil. There was still some oil on the chips which although generally a turnoff, does go to prove how fresh they were (you would understand if you ever made your own corn chips at home). The guacamole was also incredibly fresh (despite it not exactly being the season -ever- for avocados around here). I good amount of guac that let a little spice come through in the flavor. This was served with a pile of warmed soft corn tortillas - we enjoyed that touch, giving our palates a variety of flavors and textures.
On the entree side, I went for the chile relleno, which I always see as a good judge of a mexican restaurants capabilities. It would seem an easy enough dish - but it is actually difficult to balance all those flavors and textures. Chavella's does a great job! The relleno flavor was fresh, the breading still had some crunch in it, and the red sauce was smoky and complex. It was sided by a fluffy spanish rice and some black beans. The serving was just the right size too. G-pup went for an aguacate taco (black beans, avocado & queso fresco) and a quesadilla de hongo (mushrooms). He enjoyed both immensely and loved that his quesadilla had more of the chipotle salsa on the side. The decor was simple and cute, warm dark colored walls. Hopefully they will get a sidewalk permit so that we can enjoy our meals outside as it gets warmer. The service was unbelievably friendly, nice and prompt. Just what you would expect from a neighborhood joint. They are also awaiting their liqour license, so take your beer or sangria with you.
We could easily stop by there at least once a week. If Kelso opens a beer garden too, well then we would never leave the neighborhood!
732 Classon at Prospect Place
Tue–Thu 11am–10pm; Fri, Sat 11am–11pm; Sun 11am–9pm.
(no liquor license - yet!)