There is something about Red Hook that grabs you. Whether it's the sea air or those deep blue skies on a crisp Spring day, life on the waterfront seems insulated from the hustle and bustle of city life. It's also where you will find businesses willing to take a chance on life.
One of those businesses is Fort Defiance, named after a fort used in the Battle of Brooklyn. Located inside a brick storefront, it offers a welcoming bar and table service for cafe-style food. Opened in 2009 by bartender St. John Frizell, the restaurant features seasonal American fare prepared by chef Matthew Fleming.
We stopped in for a late brunch on a Sunday afternoon. There are lots of tempting cocktails on the menu along with artisinal beers and a lengthy wine list. Don't pass up on the Deviled Eggs which have a wonderful whipped center with hints of mustard. A grilled cheese sandwich is served on crusty bread with layers of cheddar and sauteed onions. The Muffuletta, a New Orleans-style sandwich, comes packed with mortadella, coppa, salami and cheese slathered with a wonderful olive spread. It's served on a quarter round of seeded Italian bread.
Dinner brings on larger plates, including a grilled skirt steak, whole roasted fish, and risotto served with butternut squash, kale, roasted mushrooms, hazelnuts and sage. Monday is burger night. And Thursday is The Sunken Harbor Club, a tiki-inspired night of Polynesian food and drink. Or, head over to the "Oyster Happy Hour," featuring $1 oysters Monday thru Friday from 5-7pm.
Getting to Red Hook can be a bit tricky. Biking or driving may provide the easiest route if you don't live in the area. It's also available by the B61 bus and a 20 minute walk from the Smith/9th Street stop on the F train.