The menu is a collaboration between a Hong Kong-born owner and a chef, of Mexican and Salvadorian descent, who has traveled through and cooked in China and Southeast Asia. One happy consequence: char siu married with flavors from both East and West.
This block-long artwork brightens the southward view of a concrete plant operated by Quadrozzi Enterprises, which helped sponsor the mural, and the elevated station at Smith and 9th. The pineapple has plenty of company, but at least one local edible is missing from the picture: The mulberry, represented by the trees at the far left of the first, wide-angle photo. In early summer, the branches were filled with fat purple berries, though you wouldn't want to make a meal of them. The grayish-blue background, in the final photo, is the water of the Gowanus Canal.
"Pineapple Mural" Ruth Hofheimer (2013), in collaboration with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and some 60 volunteers Huntington St. east of Smith St., Gowanus, Brooklyn
For a late afternoon nosh this honey molasses pork belly (periodic special, $8 per quarter-pound) shared my tray with brisket. Tough luck for the brisket, which in lesser company could be a standout and even so was quite good with just a little sauce. The pork belly, by contrast, wanted for nothing; unadorned tidbits filled my mouth with lush flavor.
The murcott ($2.49 per pound) is a hybrid of the common sweet orange and the mandarin, though evidently with much more of the mandarin's genes. This compact fruit has a thin, easily removed peel and minimal "rag" around the segments; it's seedless, or nearly so. For a citrus this California-raised fruit has a rich flavor, with just a little acid to take the edge off the sweetness.
Also shown: two views from the roof deck, of solar panels, wind turbines, and Lower Manhattan, and of a familiar Brooklyn skyline. Come a season when we don't need citrus fruit to remind us of sunny weather, the deck will be much more inviting.
Occasion: a late afternoon coffee stop between a big lunch and an unexpected engagement for dinner. I was wondering aloud about the wildlife on the expansive mural (only a small section is shown here) on the sunny, south-facing wall outside Root Hill. My barista explained that the mural, designed by the artist Katherine Gressel and executed with the collaboration of neighborhood children, depicts animals that once might have lived in the marshy habitat nearby before the waters became too polluted. Most of those animals must be long gone, my barista added — and even if they return to the canal, I'm not sure I'm ready to sample Gowanus crayfish.
(This post is based on a visit to the now-closed East Village location.) Halusky (ha-Loosh-key) — a soft-textured potato-and-flour pasta, typically blended with a mild Slovak sheep's cheese called bryndza and topped with crumbled bacon — had in my experience always been plated as part of a larger spread, perhaps enjoyed with family. But for ballast against the unsteadying effects of too much beer, Korzo's salty, weighty rendition ($6) travels well, thanks to wise use of locally available packaging.
Can you get Chinese takeout in Prague or Bratislava? I can't say.
(This venue is closed.) For generations, many hawkers in Singapore have made their reputations on a single dish, or a closely related family of dishes, expertly prepared. In New York, where restaurant economics favor larger menus, street fairs can be an occasion for this singleminded approach — here, at $2 per BBQ rib.
Chestnut 271 Smith St. (Degraw-Sackett Sts.), Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn 718-243-0049 www.ChestnutOnSmith.com Closed Monday At the Smith Street Funday Sunday June (the 2001 festival was held on June 26, 2011)
Amid the apple varieties ordered by customers just before and after I arrived — salted caramel apple, apple pear rose — this was the pie that called to me. Subconsciously, perhaps, I associated "blackbird" with the predominant dark color of the roasted nut and chocolate pie (slice; $4.50).
Sadly, the chocolate lacked richness befitting its hue, the nuts were somehow not so nutty, and even the crust seemed thin and dry. (This was late in Four & Twenty's working day, also note.) I would have done better following the lead of Ed Levine, if only he'd published sooner.
Four & Twenty Blackbirds 439 Third Ave. (at 8th St.), Gowanus, Brooklyn 718-499-2917 www.BirdsBlack.com