Quick Bites: Filipino brunch, Argentine pizza and sausages galore on Sackett Street 

Bed-Stuy’s revamped Swell Dive launches weekend Filipino brunch

Tortang talong (eggplant omelette) bowl, $14; longanisa and egg sandwich, $10 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

It was a blow to the locals when Dennis Mendoza shut down Swell Dive last year. Since 2016, the ramshackle bar with a great outdoor patio and decent tacos had become a neighborhood go-to for a certain kind of night — but Gino Angelo took the news harder than most.

“My first industry job in the city was at Swell Dive,” Angelo tells Brooklyn Magazine. “All of our friends in the neighborhood met through this bar. I just really didn’t want to see this place close down.” Rather than just saying R.I.P. and moving on though, Angelo and his partner Tara Reyes asked Mendoza if they could take over the place.

Thankfully for Bed-Stuy, Mendoza said yes. Swell Dive reopened last January with a new, Filipino-focused food and cocktail menu, nightly karaoke, and, as of a couple of weekends ago, a killer new Filipino brunch. “We want to showcase our culture,” says Angelo. “Filipinos are good drinkers. We love drinking. And along with that is good food, and of course good times.”

The brunch menu is compact — basically, five proteins in either sandwich or bowl format — but immensely restorative. The Longanisa sandwich comes with a generous stack of that funky, slightly sweet Filipino pork sausage topped with a runny egg and hot sauce, and the tortang talong bowl is excellent, a creamy, roasted eggplant omelet laid over a mound of very good garlic rice. Wolf down either of these out on the patio, maybe with a special brunch cocktail, and you will feel better, I promise.

Swell Dive is located at 1013 Bedford Avenue, just south of Lafayette Street, and is currently open for drinks and food nightly at 5 p.m. (karaoke starts at 10), and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 

Argentalia is slinging pizza, empanadas and monster sandwiches in South Slope

Argentalia pie, $21.95 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

It may just look like a sliver of a slice joint, but there are some incredible beasts coming out of the kitchen at Argentalia, Pablo Spadavecchia’s Argentine-Italian spot that opened last month near the southern end of Seventh Avenue.

Spadavecchia owns a string of Argentine restaurants and bakeries in New Jersey, but for this, his first foray into Kings County, he put his nephew Tyler Cappelluti in charge of the place. “My uncle really liked it over here [in South Slope], ” Cappelluti tells Brooklyn Magazine. “It reminds him of the area we’re from, Hoboken.”

Be that as it may, Cappelluti is firing up an impressive array of Argentine (and Italian) favorites from the tiny kitchen here. The baked empanadas are huge and come in some 20 different varieties, including chorizo, spinach, spicy chicken and guava and cheese.

Slices are available from whatever pies Cappelluti has displayed when you get there, but you can also get a made-to-order full pizza from an extensive menu of white, red, square, and “genuine” pies, the latter of which basically means Argentine style, so the the dough is thicker and the cheese is piled high for extra gooeyness.

And the sandwiches are massive. We had the lomito and it was a beast of a thing, stuffed with sliced ribeye, prosciutto, fried egg, and mozzarella. You can also get a meatball parm, an Argentine choripan with chimichurri, and something called the “Outta Control,” which features chicken cutlet, fig spread, and burrata. Pro tip: ask for some of that housemade hot sauce they serve with the empanadas to dump on your sandwich.

Argentalia is located at 449 Seventh Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets, and is currently open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

The Meat Hook, one of Brooklyn’s best butchers, expands into Carroll Gardens

Brent Young working the counter at the new Meat Hook (Photo by Scott Lynch)

The Meat Hook, a whole-animal butcher with a punk-rock vibe, has been serving the folks of East Williamsburg for about 15 years now. But though owner Brent Young and his crack team have expanded beyond just selling meat, produce and other provisions to the neighborhood — their back alley barbecues are legendary, and they launched a restaurant, Cozy Royale, in 2020 — they hadn’t yet opened a straight-up Meat Hook II.

Last weekend though, Young and crew flung open the bright red doors on Sackett Street to The Meat Hook’s sequel, offering the same combination of familiar and more obscure cuts, plus mountains of different homemade sausages (spicy Italian, Philly cheesesteak, chicken and herb, and pork, beet and onion were among the options on opening weekend), and a solid selection of fancy groceries.

“When Esposito’s closed a year ago a bunch of friends from the neighborhood started telling us ‘you should take it over,’” Young tells Brooklyn Magazine. “Which sounds great, but you don’t ever really want to take over a legacy store. But we started looking around the neighborhood, and here we are. This place was a funeral home!”

Young also promises that, in addition to all the goodies mentioned above, there is more to come here in Carroll Gardens. “We’re here for the neighborhood,” he says. “So whatever people want we’re going to try to provide. And there’s already been very enthusiastic requests for sandwiches, so we’ll figure that out in a few weeks.”

The Carroll Gardens Meat Hook is located at 301 Sackett Street, just east of Court Street, and is currently open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The post Quick Bites: Filipino brunch, Argentine pizza and sausages galore on Sackett Street  appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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