This summer, my husband and I used our weekly trips home from the beach at breezy point to our Park Slope home to chowhound through Brooklyn (with kids in tow). Two places, World Tong on 18th Avenue and Joe's of Avenue U stood head and shoulders above the rest. World Tong rightly gets praise for their fabulous dim sum (on our first trip there, we found ourselves at the table over from Ed Schoenfeld, always a good sign at a Chinese restaurant), but the meal I want to describe is my recent dinner there. We ordered a seafood and noodle dish for the kids, which included fabulous and fresh squid, clam and shrimps in bountiful portions. The Peking Duck was perhaps the best thing I have eaten at a Chinese restaurant. The duck and vegetables which came as the follow-on was also delectable. The soft shell crabs we ordered were nicely fried and tasty, but not likely to be ordered on a future visit. The eggplant with pork was out of this world though. The only real disappointment was the roast pork, mostly because we had been expecting the exceptional tasting pork we had eaten at dim sum on our fist trip with the perfectly crackled skin, and instead received a rather pedestrian roast pork plate. Still, we will go back, often.
On to Joe's, which we first tried only on Friday. We already regret not having discovered it sooner. We were with another couple and their kids, so we had a chance to try a lot of things on the menu. For appetizers the octopus salad was overflowing with delicious bits of chunky octopus legs. Amazingly, not a single bite was chewy and each bite still tasted of octopus. We also had fabulous caponata, baked cauliflower and swiss chard, each dish outstanding in its own way. For the kids we ordered some fried calamari, potato fritters and panelli. The calamari was tender but otherwise unexceptional, the fritters were good and cheesy and the panelli at least as good as the others I have had at Ferdinando's. The entrees were exceptional. Pasta con Sardi was worthy of its raves and stuffed sardines were excellent. The dish that took the cake was the Baccalao, which I only received a taste of, but will order if available next time. With a small carafe of wine and dessert, the bill still came to less than $60 per family of four for this exceptional feast.