I’ve made something of a theme of my neighborhood’s amenities—or lack thereof—in these pages, but for once, I’m not here to complain. (Well, not entirely. I do miss the BBQ truck like you wouldn’t believe. Come back, BBQ truck!) You see, my little section of Bed-Stuy has finally gotten a bar—a nice one!—that serves food. Pretty good food, too.
I was first introduced to Black Swan the day I got back from the Philippines: The Carnivore had kept an eye on the construction progress while I was gone, and my timing was perfect. It was open for business that very evening. And, after two days of airports, airplanes, trains and buses, followed by a full day of sleeping in my own lovely bed, I woke up just in time for dinner. Hungry, too.
That first visit, I had one of the best gin and tonics I’ve ever tasted, made with Bluecoat organic liquor. As I hadn’t eaten all day, a few appetizers seemed like a good idea as well.
The fried oysters were a little light on the breading, but minerally, oceany bites of bivalve deliciousness nonetheless. As I popped another one in my mouth and washed it down with a sip of my drink, I could hardly believe I was in the same neighborhood I’d left behind two weeks earlier.
We also ordered the deviled eggs; it’s hard to go wrong with those. The diced red pepper garnish was a nice touch, and although I tend to like my yolks slightly firmer—Black Swan’s version oozed a bit—I still managed to polish off my share with no problem.
On my next stop-in, I sat at the bar for another round of those Bluecoat G&Ts and struck up a conversation with the girl to my left. She swore by the jerk chicken wings and insisted I try one; I allowed my arm to be twisted with minimal protestation and took her up on the offer. Though barely spicy enough to warrant the name, the flavors were solid, the frying impeccable. I refused a second, with some regret.
Another post-work visit culminated with a perch in the sliver of a backyard, a plate of salt-cod fritters, and a gin and soda with lots of lime. (I do like to change things up from time to time.) The fritters themselves were great, though the puddle of sauce that cradled them, a caramel-ginger something or other, was slightly too sweet for my taste.
Really, the only thing I’ve ordered that I wouldn’t eat again was this macaroni and cheese. The texture was grainy and the cheese wasn’t cheesy enough, though the presentation was cute.
Even though the menu isn’t perfect, I’ve found more hits than misses so far—I’m willing to give them time to sort the rest out. I’m thrilled, no overstatement there, to have this option in my neighborhood, and this one is only the beginning.
According to two very reliable sources, the Bedford Avenue corner spot pictured above is soon to be the home of SCRATCHbread, a Brooklyn-born bakery that peddles its wares all over the borough. Can you hear the squealing from where you are?
One can only imagine what lies behind those papered windows, but I’d be willing to bet that whatever it is spells trouble for my carb addiction. It’s one block from my house, people. T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
Also in the works, just another block down Bedford? Our very own Indian restaurant. The website promises summer sidewalk seating, so I’m holding out hope accordingly, crossing fingers for an opening within the next six weeks or so.
So, things are moving quickly in my neck of the woods, but while the neighborhood is changing, my apartment remains crappy. Which might not be such a horrible thing, actually—I’m not sure what I’d do if all my causes for complaint were yanked out from under me at the same time. Easing into satisfaction, now that’s the way to go.
1048 Bedford Avenue