An Open Letter: Brooklyn Heights Residents

Dear Brooklyn Heights Residents, 

220381694_2559702ac1_b.jpgYou don't know me, but I moved into your lovely neighborhood some months ago. I hope it isn't too much trouble, but can you please stop eating at Noodle Pudding and Henry's End so much? I have heard a great deal, all of it good, about these restaurants, and I would like to sample the supposed ultimate and penultimate in Brooklyn Heights dining. But I can't get a table. It doesn't matter the day — Saturday, Thursday…it could be a Tuesday and every time I walk by that end of Henry there's never an open table. Even their respective bar areas are crowded. Once a companion and I walked into Noodle Pudding, but it was so busy we ended up leaving after five minutes of standing around waiting to be put on the waiting list. It's crazy. So, I ask you: Stop going. Please. I know it will be difficult, but there are plenty of options in the area, some of which may surprise you. It's time for you to try new places. Open up to fresh experiences. Dine in the Chinese takeout place. Have Fascati's deliver a pizza to you on the Promenade. And there's always a free table at Food Maestro.

    If you find this request too difficult to fathom, I'll compromise: For all of next week, don't eat at either Noodle Pudding or Henry's End, and I will find two nights to attend these restaurants. I think you can keep away for seven days. Cook a meal, live your life.




(Fink's note: What makes Noodle and End so magnetic? What keeps you going back? I recently discussed Henry's End with a legendary music television director who lives in the nabe. We both agreed that the wine list there is the main attraction… what do you think?


Flickr photo by myersschecter

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  • Andrew

    Why? They are the only two decent restaurants in the ‘hood. Well, those two and Iron Chef house, which also usually has a ridiculous wait time.

    And though I haven’t tried either yet, but I’ve heard good things about Le Petit Marche and mixed to good about Jack the Horse.

  • spm

    Try a Monday night. I went at 7PM to Henry’s End and had no wait (Noodlepudding is closed Mondays.)

  • bongo

    Henry’s End’s wine list is superlative, excellent value too. Kitchen seems to have fallen off a bit recently. Hopefully just a temporary blip.
    Noodle Pudding is just so dependably good, + the atmosphere.
    Cafe Tutt is a recent experience to me, can’t believe I didn’t check it out sooner, highly recommended. BYOB though.
    [Andrew] I can’t believe you rate Iron Chef. Do yourself a favour and walk the extra couple of blocks down to Atlantic and check out Shinjuku, vastly superior.

  • MKT

    My husband and I are SO SICK of the local choices in the Heights that we have given up and just go tp Smith Street for some alternatives. Sure we order in regularly from Fascati, Tutt Cafe, and RICE, but it gets tired quickly. Siggy’s is fun and a nice new addition, but we desperately need more variety in Brooklyn Heights.

  • Claude Scales

    Qfwfq: Sorry, but my birthday’s next week, and I have my annual free entree card from Henry’s End, so I’ll definitely be going there. My wife and I seldom have to wait long to get a table for two there, but we usually go at less crowded times. If we’re going with friends, we always make a reservation, and IK’ve never had trouble getting one when I call a few days in advance (as you probably know, they only make reservations for parties of four or more).

    Homer: I’ve always been delighted by the food at Henry’s End, so I’m surprised at your and your producer friend’s observation. and concerned by bongo’s comment on the kitchen falling off. Since, as noted above, I’ll be going back there soon, I’ll let you know in a subsequent Open Thread Wednesday if I agree that there’s a problem. I’d add one more reason to go there – very helpful and knowledgable staff. If you’re lucky enough to have Bonnie as your waitress, you’ll be getting the best of a fine lot.

    anon: Your post brings to mind the following bit of dialogue from my daughter’s favorite TV comedy:

    Blackadder: Do you know what irony is, Baldrick?

    Baldrick: Oh, sure, it’s like goldy or silvery or coppery …

  • Jenn

    Noodle Pooding and Henry’s End are fantastic – though I would say HE more for the ambiance and convivial atmosphere than for the food itself. Jack the Horse Tavern is really excellent. If you had an ok meal there, still go back for a second one – my husband I went one evening for a casual dinner and were blown away by how good the food was. We even got dessert, which we rarely do, and it too was delish. Iron Chef rocks – they have tons of inventive, yummy rolls, though I think they overdo-it with the crunchy topping sometimes. If you feel like walking a little further, Osaka and Cube 63 in Cobble Hill are also great. I will have to check out Shinjuku on Atlantic. Is that the place that is always empty? I feel bad whenever I pass by…

  • Jenn

    Also, I would like to put this thought out there: if you were a prospective restauranteur, where would you put your money – in Brooklyn Heights or in Cobble Hill/Smith Street?

    The restaurants on Montague are terrible, but I don’t know what the solution is. In Brooklyn, I think some of the best restaurants aren’t actually on the throughfares – Applewood and 12th Street in Park Slope come to mind, and Jack the Horse in the Heights. Oftentimes the smaller, more intimate spaces found in the first level of brownstones on sidestreets translate into better restaurant setups. Perhaps the solution for the Heights then is to open up the zoning to allow for some restaurants to come into the heart of the nabe – Montague may be the center of the neighborhood, but it’s not the heart of it.

  • Qfwfq

    Claude: Unfortunately, it’s usually been myself and one other person, so could never make reservations. But now I’ve got a “cunning plan”: I’ll drag out Mr. and Mrs. Fink one evening just so I can reserve a table.

  • Claude Scales

    Cunning, indeed. I just hope reports of their kitchen being off its usual pace don’t mean their chef has quit, and they’ve replaced him with Baldrick.

  • Homer Fink

    I will say that the last time Mrs. Fink and I were there it seemed like the interns had taken over the kitchen. But service, the wine list and the vibe made everything OK.

  • hkjh

    I call bullshit on this post. I have never gone to Noodle Pudding and NOT gotten a table. Sure, sometimes you have to wait 10 or 15 minutes, but is that really so hard? Get a glass of wine and sit or stand at the bar or outside if it’s nice. If I’m taking kids and can’t wait 10 minutes I go at 6 or 630 and walk in.

    And you can make reservations at Henry’s End. I usually just walk in there too. Yes, sometimes I wait for 5 or 10 minutes.

    Did someone really write a whole letter about this? I can’t believe it.

  • Qfwfq

    hkjh: No bullshit, even the bar areas were crowded, and at noodle pudding, we were happy to be put on the waiting list for a table, but no one was coming around to help us. We stuck around for several minutes, trying to get someone’s attention, but they were just too busy, I don’t blame them. I think it was Thursday night at around 8:30. I don’t mind waiting 10-15 minutes, but both places have been so packed it probably would’ve been a wait of a half-hour or longer.

    Going around 6 or 6:30 would be tough to do, since I usually don’t get out of work until after 7. Next week I’m going to try, because I keep hearing such good things about these places. Honestly though, these places have been just too damn busy every time I went there, regardless of the night of the week.

  • Homer Fink

    wow a battle of consonants

  • Claude Scales

    Something seldom seen outside the Balkans.

  • Nigel

    We just got back from Noodle Pudding tonight – we’ve learned that the key is to go early. Like at 5:30 right when it opens. No problem getting a table then, though it fills up fast. But dinner at 5-ish means you’ll probably have to order a pizza from Fascati a few hours later…