Location: 900 Washington Ave. BK
People: RB, CK and myself
Feelings: A few years ago, my dear friends from Denmark were visiting New York and said, "How come you can't buy beer at the parks here?" I should have sent them to Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden's annual cherry blossom festival has become many New Yorker's Spring staple. It gets insanely crowded, and the lines for bathrooms are nearly half an hour long. Since I am not a huge fan of Shidare Sakura ("weeping" cherry trees with drooping branches) which is the main attraction of this festival, I don't mind missing it altogether. Instead, I visit the garden in earlier April to enjoy the traditional Yoshino Sakura.
If you get there before noon on Saturdays (except the day of the Cherry Blossom Festival), the admission (regularly $10) is free. The park security is extremely strict, and they are serious about enforcing no picnicing, no outside food policy. You cannot have any food except in the designated areas.
Their cafe, The Terrace Cafe, offers a solid, impressive meal at a reasonable price. The food is freshly made with quality ingredients, and there are many vegan and vegetarian options. The soup of today was egg drop with chicken and spinach or five spice-carrot. The special hot entree was crab cakes with napa cabbage slaw with a side of hijiki. They of course offer beer, lemonade, iced coffee and many other park necessities. We shared the pasta salad, which was simple and well executed without being overly seasoned. The fresh radish and scallions brought an earthy flavor to the dish.
The food at The Terrace Cafe reminds me of a lot of dishes from locavore, farm to table restaurants. I just wish that the park offered more seating since we had nowhere to sit. And with the strict park security, where on earth are we supposed to eat?