The borough of Brooklyn became the setting for three primetime U.S. TV shows in 2014, and I think I know the reason why. It’s because the residents of this borough lead such happily bohemian, unconventional lives that outsiders are both jealous and, sometimes, appalled (and because of that, it makes great TV). As an example of what I mean: In 2013, there was a huge brouhaha, reported in papers both local and national, when bar owners in the borough started banning customers who arrived with babies and toddlers in tow for their nightly pint. Since this had been such a big part of the social life of the borough, the locals were appalled by the ban.
You’ll see all the delightful quirkiness of Brooklyn in full flower at this three-story crab shack. On the ground level are several outdoor bars surrounded by a minigolf course, carnival games, and a small playground. All the games are free, so groups of laid-back families come here, the parents enjoying a beer while their youngsters work off energy before dinner. Upstairs are two stories of open-sided dining with one fully open patio, all with glorious views of the Statue of Liberty. Diners are served all sorts of seafood from heaping piles of crabs (which one attacks with a mallet) to fish and chips and Maryland crab cakes.
Just as much fun is how you get here from Manhattan: Diners head down to the South Street Seaport where they hop the free “Ikea NY Water Taxi” (the restaurant is not far from that behemoth store) and take a 15-minute boat ride, seeing all the sights of Lower Manhattan on the way.
One warning: The hostess seating guests inevitably tells everyone there’s a 2-hour wait. I’ve been told that each of the five times I’ve been here, and have never waited more than 50 minutes (in fact, my kids are usually in the middle of a game, and complain that we were called to dinner too quickly!).
- Pauline Frommer