by Andrew Rosenberg, 01/28/2014
Fletcher's. Photo: Lori Lovejoy Fletcher
Two establishments that have made upper Third Avenue a sort of Restaurant Row of late are Littleneck and The Pines. The former, perhaps not unexpected with water so nearby, is a refined clam shack: in its cute confines, decorated with rope and fishing supplies, you can get a $14 single-malt-based cocktail to go with your oysters or belly-clam roll. The Pines is geared more for landlubbers, bringing locavorish items—say, boar belly and maitake mushrooms or Wagyu beef and sunchokes—to the shores of a canal that has rarely seen the likes.
Not everything has sprung up in the past few years. Gowanus' Italian heritage shines at Two Toms, a 60-year-old red-sauce joint that feels like, and nearly serves as, a private social club (call ahead for reservations); and Monte's, reportedly an old favorite of Sinatra's and various mobsters. In 2011 new owners overhauled the century-old restaurant by restoring the wooden bar and focusing on thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas. Casual Italian is the thing at Bar Tano, where large corner windows, warm lighting and a pressed tin ceiling, not to mention the rumble of the train overhead, could serve as an emblematic neighborhood diorama.
A bit of a barbecue battle is also being waged locally: there's roadhouse Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, with its smoky 'cue and giant mobile of upside-down glass bottles, and traditional Fletcher's, all long tables, bright lights and porky, bark-edged ribs.