Restaurant Closings Sweep the Heights

So long, Amin India. Farewell, Fresh Cafeé Bar. Sayonara, Sushi Gallery and Migita Sushi. And whither Fortune House? These restaurants and possibly others that I’ve forgotten have suddenly shut down, shuttered up and, as in the case of Sushi Gallery, appear to have split under cover of the night. Is it the economy? Rent? Or something else we have yet to discover? At the very least, am wondering what restaurants will move in to the neighborhood next.

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  • Luke C

    Have to agree about the wimp stomachs, that BBQ place on Henry 3 years ago hardly survived a year, even with students to feed.

    Mexican would be very welcome, Chipotle is good, but not when you want a sitdown service meal.

    Maybe when the Watchtower leaves, we can populate its apartments with iron-stomached, well-heeled starvlings who can’t cook.

  • AmyinBH

    I would like a real french provencal restaurant to open. Sadly, the number one favorite food in the US is [fake] Italian. So, we may be doomed to suffer. Plus, the mark-up on pasta is great for the owner.
    A fish market with a sit down casual restaurant on the side would also be really nice too. If the space were large there could even be a full bar. Many seaside towns have places like this. One of the only things I miss about living outside a city.

  • Matthew Parker


    If the Height Hanco’s menu is like the Hancos in the Slope and Smith Street, there won’t be any Pho.

    I frequent the Smith St. Hanco’s location and the Bahn Mi is quite good, as is their bubble tea (IMHO, best in the City, including Chinatown joints). They also have good cellophane noodles. But, alas, no soup.

  • Matthew Parker

    My vote would be for a good pan-Latino restaurant to open in the Heights. About 5 years ago, there was such a place where the Heights Wine Bar now resides. It was decent, but didn’t last, but I don’t think it was lack of popularity.

    I’m thinking something along the lines of Yerba Buena, Yucca Bar or Boca Chica in Manhattan. I know this is Brooklyn Heights and the likelihood of that happening is similar to the likelihood of an earthquake (hey, wait), but one can always hope and pray. All my praying did generate a Hanco’s on Montague St, so perhaps.

    This is an odd neighborhood, with a lot of families eating in, poor starving students in dorms looking for street cart, falafel, pizza and cheap sushi, professionals who work/eat in the City and come home to sleep and do their laundry, and bluebloods that like JtH and Henry’s End. And for the life of me, I still can’t figure out Noodle Pudding’s popularity.

    If I was a restauranteur, I’d look at the track record of restaurant road kill over the years and turn my attention to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Smith St. or the Slope. It’s kind of a head scratcher why the Heights is the culinary kiss of death, but it’s hard to argue with such a history. I’m resigned to traveling a few miles to get a good meal.

  • Henry T

    Last week the city announced the sale and development of the bottom floors of the Brooklyn Municipal Building (49,000 c.f.). The press release said to expect something like a “mid-level, cool, hip” restaurant, a home furnishing store, and other shops.

    Maybe we could campaign for a quality Mexican restaurant?

  • Tclinton11201

    there are 2 decent Mexican places around (not heights but not too far): Alma on Columbia St and Lobo on Court.

  • Wrennie

    MP, I agree about those other neighborhoods being so much more successful with restaurants. As much as I love the Heights, I’m never able to actually enjoy a good culinary experience here. It’s not even that the food here is bad, but the whole atmosphere of most places makes me feel like I’m somewhere in the Midwest. It’s so unsophisticated. Take Heights Cafe–the menu looks like a sampling of a mall food court and it feels like an upscale office cafeteria. It’s so disappointing. I think my demographic (in my late 20s, childless, job in midtown, social life downtown) is extremely outnumbered–I’d say that Greenpoint/Williamsburg restauranteurs should come here for a venture, but sadly, there’s not really a market it seems.

  • MM

    @MP The sign on the door of Hanco’s indicates that it will have pho (well I think it says soup, but I’m sure that’s what they mean) & I believe that Park Slope Hanco’s recently added pho. Either way I am trilled and so excited to have bahn mi not only a few blocks from my apartment but right on my way home. So often I am craving bahn mi for dinner & Nicky’s is just a little too far most nights.

  • Master Of Middagh

    I really hope the news about Sushi Gallery isn’t true. They are my FAVORITE restaurant. I haven’t been in for months, but my usual routine has been to dine there at the sushi bar once a week. Kuam and Soni (I don’t know the spellings) have been so good to me over the years, even giving me a free meal on my birthdays- and I never even had to tell them, they always remember! And they gave me a Sushi Gallery t-shirt too!

    I’ve had sushi everywhere they serve it in the Heights and many many times at that, None of them hold a candle to Sushi Gallery. The fish is always fresher and the Korean dishes are terrific!

    When they were closed for a spell last year, it was for a family vacation to Korea, but I doubt they’d be taking another one again so soon.

  • zburch

    Other than Sushi Gallery, I don’t see the other closings as much of a loss. I have lived here 12 years and always felt the restaurants catered too much to the lunch crowd, kid-friendly and geriatric crowd. Hence nothing too risky or “spicy”. Would love something like Alma, or a good upscale French place, or a Seafood joint, or really anything decent that does not play it so safe. I am glad Hanco is moving in. At least it is something different, and if its good, I won’t have to trek to Sunset Park for decent Banh Mi. I would love a good Thai place, typical of BH, Lantern tones everything down. Everything is much too mild there, I expect green curry to be super spicy and am always disappointed by theirs. I trek to Teeda on Columbia to get 1/2way decent Thai.

  • GHB

    Tclinton, I know about Alma and Lobo, but sometimes, I’d like to take a real short walk from the North Heights for good Mexican food. Those other options are a 20+ minute walk.

  • Sarina

    It is sad that a wonderful neighborhood like Brooklyn Heights only has a few really good restaurants. By good I do not necessarily mean expensive. Jack the Horse, Henry’s End and Iron Chef are the best in the neighborhood but I generally go to Smith Street or Manhattan for less expensive good food. We need a better choice of good restaurants. The new Vietnamese place near Armando’s is a wonderful addition if it is as good and inexpensive as the one on Bergen and Smith. Perhaps the reason so many Brooklyn Heights restaurants and other businesses fail is because the landlords are greedy and the rents are too high.

  • the Where

    This sounds like Seasons has an opportunity to do something smart. They seem to have deep pockets but not enough vision. What should they be doing and would you go?

  • epc

    Having witnessed firsthand what it takes to open a restaurant in the neighborhood, I think people are extremely unrealistic to expect cheap but excellent food. The rents are simply too high to run a restaurant at the cost point many people here seem to expect (the most common complaint in BHB about restaurants in Brooklyn Heights over the years has been how “expensive” they are).

    The Court Street/Montague Street restaurants which focus on the lunchtime crowd succeed precisely because they can focus on the lunch time crowd and get their expenses covered by that crowd. The evening customers, if any, provide the profit, but the bills get paid by the court & civic center staff & clientele.

    To everyone clamoring for a Mexican place: feel free to open one.

  • EHinBH

    Used to be a great little Mexican place where Subway is… I bet a Rosa Mexicana would do great in DUMBO.

  • Mickey

    I always liked Taco Madre on Montague, where Tendra is now. They had good authentic Mexican food at reasonable prices. But Chipotle opened up in a much better location — closer to the court patrons who, as epc notes, get the bills paid. I think that’s why Taco Madre went under.

  • Wrennie

    Rosa Mexicano is so obscenely overpriced. I used to live in the West 60s and my roommate and I would go there all the time–but only for guac and margaritas. $27 for 3 tiny enchiladas? Gross.

  • Master Of Middagh

    Okay- well I just had lunch across the street from Sushi Gallery and staked it out, so to speak. The son (Steve) was there doing some work it seemed. He also posted a sign which stated they would be reopening next Wednesday.

    So, I am glad to share that the reports of the demise of Sushi Gallery were exaggerated. And I’ve been so glad to read that a great number of my neighbors feel the same way about that beautiful little hole in the wall.

  • WillowtownCop

    Rosa Mexicana is not even good, despite the price. Montague St. needs a Dos Toros or the tamale place they have right on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, or even a good taco truck like the one at the Roosevelt Ave subway station in Queens.

  • MM

    @Master of Middagh That is great news! I love Sushi Gallery and was severely disappointed and saddened when this post was published. I was hoping that everyone’s comments were correct and they were just on vacation and not actually closed. Definitely will be grabbing dinner at Sushi Gallery as soon as the reopen. You can’t get their ginger dressing, their spicy rolls (they just have a different flavor), or the sweet tuna used in the tuna lover’s and peacock rolls anywhere else! Not to mention their sushi is the freshest in the nabe & it’s the only Korean food in the neighborhood!

  • Homer Fink

    Note – we received a tip last week but haven’t been able to confirm what the real deal is at Sushi Gallery… DEVELOPING…

  • Michael

    Good News. I just walked by Sushi Gallery and they have a sign posted on their door that they will be re-opening on 8/31.

  • Steve

    Sushi Gallery is open again!!! I walked by it today and found out they were on vacation.

  • fultonferryman

    “The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated” – Sushi Gallery Twain