On first glance, Talde looks like so many other Brooklyn restaurants: pressed-tin ceiling, large marble bar at the front, decorative carved wooden trim everywhere. But when you look a bit closer, you realize that Buddha is carved into the wood, along with other Asian symbols. And the menu contains all sorts of unlikely marriages, like pretzel-crusted pork dumplings (spectacular!) and yuzu guacamole (which turns out to be avocado and yuzu mashed together and slathered, finger-food–style, over cakes of crispy rice). Other stars of the menu include a creamy tom kha soup with lobster, a pad thai with bacon and oysters, and the hola hola dessert—shaved ice with a changing mix of toppings (when we were there, it was fresh berries, Captain Crunch, and balls of tapioca, which sounds odd but tasted fabulous). My one complaint: The waiters push customers to order more than they need (portions are larger than they say).
- Pauline Frommer