Have you ever wondered why there's 'no sleep 'til Brooklyn?' Without confirming it with Mike D himself, I'm pretty sure it's because the Beastie Boys were just too damn excited about the tasty street food that would be greeting them on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Bonnie and Tom of Public fame are bringing the humble Brooklyn block party to the people of Brisbane in the form of their new Gresham Lane establishment, Red Hook. Tagged with the label 'New York Street Food', Red Hook is a new Brisbane bar, diner, and takeaway restaurant rolled into one very drool-worthy package.
With the Americana trend in full swing, Red Hook have played their cards wisely to ensure they hang around the nooks of Creek Street well after the next fad sweeps through the river city. In the few days since opening they're already up there with the best bars in Brisbane. While other trend-centred restaurants focus on 'Deep South' flavours like heavy marinades and hearty fare better suited to the colder months, Red Hook are making easy eats the heart and soul of their menu.
Bonnie says their hole-in-the-wall eatery is aiming to emulate the kind of bites you can grab from the street food vans that truck around New York City. For lunch or dinner, you can enjoy the likes of cheeseburgers (complete with glossy American buns), lobster roll, brisket burrito, a Kransky hotdog and — my personal recommendation — kung fu duck tacos. A side of battered pickles is a must, but mac'n'cheese squares or Buffalo wings will also satisfy those hunger pangs (and then some!).
Of a morning, simplicity is key: it's just the infallible marriage of coffee and waffles. Everything at Red Hook is served up in classic New York style — with haste and in takeaway boxes ready for those who want to eat on the run, or whose eyes were bigger than their bellies. If you want to linger longer, beat the lunch crowd and grab a table on the Queen Street side of the laneway where you'll be greeted by giant bottles of Sriracha and mustard.
Smooth hip-hop beats pump well into the evening, at which time you can sink a Brooklyn Lager or Budweiser (tip: the Brooklyn Lager was practically brewed to go with the NYC dog), or swirl a glass of wine from the States, Europe, or our very own shores.
However, it's the cocktails that have us all shook up. A Harlem Hard Shake (bourbon, chocolate, caramel, peanut butter ice cream) is pretty much guaranteed to turn any workday on its head. If you'd like to work your way down the list (and you're not alone there), you can add a Spiked Cream Soda (vanilla vodka, ice cream, creaming soda), Salted Caramel Old Fashioned (buttered bourbon, rum, vanilla sugar) and Dr Pepper Depth Charge (amaretto, oven proof rum and lager) to the list.
The eatery takes its cues from the Brooklyn neighbourhood of the same name. Home to an Ikea, a salty seafaring history, and some ace views of Lady Liberty, Red Hook is probably not high on your must-visit list, but that's okay —its Brisbane namesake is bringing the borough to you!
Red Hook is the latest place to inject a little love into Brisbane's laneways, with Coop Espresso popping up a little ways along the road in Eagle Lane and a cold press juice bar soon to cosy up next door. With more exciting things coming for Red Hook after a blink-and-you-missed-it opening, Brisbane's once neglected back alleys are fast being tinted with a foodie-approved brush. Watch your back Melbourne — we're coming for you!
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Travel writer by day, freelance foodie by night and full time cake enthusiast. When Ashton isn't at one with the keyboard, you'll likely find her saluting the sun in a yoga class, absorbed in a 90s sitcom marathon, or practising the timeless art of Instagramming around Brisbane. Twitter: @AshtonRigg. Want more from Ashton? Read more here!
Image credits: Daniel Maddock