Zagat Editor Kelly Dobkin headed "down underneath the Manhattan Bridge" to check out two new restaurants along the Brooklyn waterfront.
The team that owns Brooklyn Heights’ Colonie is also behind Governor, which is also helmed by executive chef Brad McDonald, formerly of Noma and Per Se.
"We’re trying to be a neighborhood restaurant that also appeals to other neighborhoods as well as out-of-towners," says McDonald. "The design of the menu is small to keep a constantly rotating list of ingredients going through it. My philosophy as a chef is to cook local and seasonal ingredients with a nod to ethical farming practices."
Governor is named after Robert Gair, who was an inventor and important political figure in DUMBO back in the 1800s.
"He invented cardboard, so we thought we’d pay homage to him and the neighborhood by calling him [and the restaurant] by his nickname, which was 'Governor,'" says McDonald.
Just around the corner is Gran Electrica, a new spot bringing authentic Mexican fare to the streets of DUMBO.
"We noticed very quickly at our restaurant in Brooklyn Heights how many DUMBO residents were coming to our restaurant pleading with us to do something in DUMBO," says Gran Electrica co-owner Tamer Hamawi. "It’s definitely a family-oriented neighborhood, so we thought that Mexican would work well within that environment -- Mexican food that was super-authentic within a greenmarket philosophy.
"We had this idea very early on to draw inspiration from José Guadalupe Posada. He was very famous in Mexico for his 'Day of the Dead' artwork," continues Hamawi. "One of his most famous pieces is 'Gran Calavera Electrica.' The name itself ended up being part of our name."
The cocktail program at Gran Electrica features an extensive selection of margaritas including the cucumber margarita, made from Pueblo Viejo blanco tequila, Combier, fresh cucumber juice, lime and cilantro syrup.
"One of my favorite drinks right now is definitely the cucumber margarita. I think you can’t go wrong with cucumber in the summer. It’s so cool so refreshing and it actually works really well with tequila," Hamawi says.
For more information on opening restaurants, visit blog.zagat.com