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Zagat: Hometown Barbecue and Grindhaus Lead Red Hook Restaurant Renaissance

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There’s a restaurant renaissance going on in Red Hook as eateries in the neighborhood finally reopen more than a year after Hurricane Sandy closed their doors. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.

The Red Hook area of the Brooklyn Waterfront was badly flooded during Hurricane Sandy, and a year after the storm neighborhood's restaurant scene is being reborn. The water came halfway up the wall of owner Erin Norris's Grindhaus, which has finally opened in a cozy and charming space on Van Brunt Street.

"I was looking to open in December of 2012," said Norris. "Mother Nature had other plans. I didn't have a plan B, this is something that I wanted to do for so long, since I worked at my first restaurant when I was 13."

Don't let the dinner-party like vibe fool you, chefs Aaron Taber and Leon Douglas have created an ambitious, delicious menu that feels as unique as this neighborhood.

"Red Hook has, you know, it’s known to be a little odd ball, a little quirky, with a few little surprises," said Norris, "and I think our menu definitely reflects that."

A few blocks away on Van Brunt Street, you'll find Hometown Barbecue, a massive restaurant that is bringing brisket and whiskey to the waterfront. Owner Chris Miller took inspiration from Texas when designing the venue, but when you visit you'll find a mash-up of styles.

"It's a hybrid," he explained. "But our beef is definitely Texas, basic salt and pepper. We use oak to smoke it."

The counter-service restaurant is located in a former warehouse, a venue that feels like a perfect fit for this industrial hood.

When asked why he decided to open his concept in Red Hook, Miller said, “A lot of barbecue places through Texas, and different places that we traveled to look at barbecue, you'd always have to drive, go out of your way a little bit to get to the good barbecue. We think Red Hook is kind of the same thing. You have to try a little harder to get here, but we think it's worth it once you get here.”

For more food and restaurant videos, go to youtube.com/zagat.

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