As the young owners of Do or Dine explain on Facebook, “We got tired of stumbling home drunk and eating bodega food and Crown fried chicken.” Not content to just call for pizza, they opened their self-styled “American izakaya” this month in Bed-Stuy.

The often-updated menu is playfully, omnivorously global, leaning more East than West at the moment. Nippon-Nachos are perfectly fried dumplings (pork, beef, or veg) topped with melted cheddar, salsa, and dollops of sour cream spiked with wasabi caviar—”a cool surprise,” says first-nighter Chief HDB (who also blogs about the place). Tender duck breast, its skin cooked to bacony crispness, comes with kiwi, fennel, and sansho pepper (“Awesome,” the Chief declares). Lamb belly with cumin and lime, he adds, is a plate-licking-good spin on the Chinese dish, though Joe MacBu finds it disappointingly tame compared with the real deal. Other early favorites include “A Fish and Some Chips” (whole fried branzino, flavored with shallot and yuzu and served atop a heap of fries); grilled shishito peppers with four seasoned salts; tender mussels delicately flavored with chamomile and white wine; and twice-cooked fries, which get a lift from a drizzle of sesame chile oil.

Just about everything here would match up well with drinks, in keeping with the izakaya theme, and the liquor license is expected any day now. Prices are fair: most appetizers around $6 or $7, entrées in the low to mid-teens. Service is improvised and friendly, much of it handled by the owners themselves, who are front-of-the-house veterans of The Modern. “There’s definitely some creative thought and ambition behind the place,” says Joe. “I wish them the best.”

Do or Dine [Bedford-Stuyvesant]
1108 Bedford Avenue (between Lexington Avenue and Quincy Street), Brooklyn

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