Red Hook

The Good Fork

Van Brunt Street is an unlikely restaurant row. This despite, as Red Hook boosters will have you know, the idiosyncratic charm of 360 and the retro-chic appeal of Baked. But little by little, it's getting there, and The Good Fork makes one of the neighborhood's strongest culinary impressions yet. The restaurant opened quietly in March 2006, but felt, at a dinner shortly thereafter, already warmly embraced by a grateful (as well as noisy, and maybe slightly drunken) local crowd. Built and operated by carpenter-actor Ben Schneider and his wife, Sohui Kim, who's cooked at Annisa, Blue Hill, and the Sony Club, the Good Fork feels homespun, with mini-booths and a vaguely nautical curved-wood ceiling (a garden recently opened). It has personality and warmth, just like the eclectic food that comes out of the quasi-open kitchen: Pork and chive dumplings feature a superbly delicate dough wrapper and a vibrant dipping sauce. Vegetarian diners will appreciate the concessions made to them by the short, Asian-accented menu, which offers alternate versions of dishes like 'steak and eggs' Korean style (the Korean-american Kim happily substitutes tahini-slathered tofu), served with savory kimchee rice. She uses produce from the local farm (yes, Red Hook has a local farm) to stuff her ravioli. And she proudly offers Steve's Key-lime pie, another local specialty, for dessert—a community-building gesture, sure, but also a wise confectionery choice. — Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld

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