Bed-Stuy: Do or Dine brings an adventurous menu to the hood

July 20th, 2011

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Even though they’ve only been open for a month or so, I feel late to the game with Do or Dine. The internets have been abuzz with talk of all the crazy and interesting food they’re churning out for weeks. And that was all before some goofy vegans gave them the best PR gift you could ask for by starting a petition against the foie gras doughnuts they serve.
The restaurant, which is really more like a clubhouse, describes itself as an ‘American Izakaya,’ only because everyone’s tired of the word ‘gastropub.’ Really though, that’s what it is, an awesome gastropub where they cook whatever they feel like trying. I don’t care what you call it, it’s good and I plan to return soon. After the jump, check out the meal and a very cool surprise at the end.

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By the time we got to Do or Dine, the backyard was packed, but the space looks really nice and I’m looking forward to sitting out there one evening before the summer is over.
Instead, we were inside, under the disco ball, which provided its own entertainment, watching the kitchen activity and the who’s who come through (more on that later).
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Our first dish was an order of fried pork nachos – when we got it, I was confused, because it just looked like dumplings to me. Then I scooped a couple off and saw the layer of cheese underneath. It’s fried, filled with pork and comes with gooey cheese underneath. If that’s not enough to sell you, nothing I can say will.
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Next up were the pork and wasabi shumai. Tammi forgot about the wasabi and popped a whole dumpling in her mouth. She was in tears for a moment or two.
Going with the Asian/Mexican theme, we also had two Tako Tacos – that is octopus tacos, topped with nori strips and wrapped in what seemed to be seaweed-flavored tortillas. I thought it was great, but Tammi found the seaweed flavor to be a bit much.
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Deep fried deviled eggs were another imaginative offering. We had the culantro and bacon option rather than the octopus variety, since we were having the Tako Tacos. I could have used a little more filling in mine and I didn’t really taste the bacon,so I don’t know that I’d have it again when presented with so many other interesting options.
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The lamb breast was the star of the show for me. I could have had two more orders – if I’d had any room left. It’s crispy exterior, topped with a salty coating and its melting, fatty bits were all wonderful.
We also had ‘A fish and some chips,’ a literal dish that includes a whole fried fish and fries. Sadly, it didn’t photograph as well as the rest, so I’ll just have to try again on another visit.
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We finished off with the notorious foie gras doughnut. And by we, I mostly mean me. Tammi was full and isn’t a huge fan of liver of any kind. I was more than happy to pick up the slack. The foie gras is stuffed in the middle of a doughnut provided by Dough, along with what tasted like an apple jelly and topped with powdered sugar. It was exactly as rich and tasty as you’d think. The sweetness of the jelly complemented the foie and the soft dough made a great medium. I’ll definitely have it again.
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The highlight of the evening, though was when the crew from Brooklyn Kitchen came in for dinner and brought a surprise for Justin, the chef: A giant, jowly pigs head. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
Do or Dine,1108 Bedford Avenue between Lexington and Quincy.

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