We partnered with Karen Mordechai, the founder of the communal cooking school Sunday Suppers, and her culinary community to host a spirited Friendsgiving dinner in her Williamsburg, Brooklyn studio. Guests feasted on a rustic menu featuring recipes from Karen’s new book, including a truffled turkey, luxurious mashed potatoes and a pumpkin creme brulee served family-style. Read more interviews with the guests and get the recipes here.
When native New Yorker Karen Mordechai isn’t cooking meals at home with her daughter and husband or hosting cooking classes and dinners in the Sunday Suppers studio, she’s seeking culinary inspiration in her Brooklyn neighborhood. We asked Karen to tell us about some of her favorite spots; read on to find out where she loves to get brunch
What inspires you about living in Brooklyn?
I think it’s one of the most exciting creative and artistic scenes right now. There’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up with it! It gives us a lot to do, and there’s a lot to do with Sophia (her daughter). We live in Williamsburg, on the waterfront. It’s peaceful here but there are great restaurant and great cafes. It’s cool and industrial, but at the same time it feels like home.
How has it changed over the years?
It’s changed so much. There’s so much development and construction, and there are new restaurants popping up all the time. When we first moved here there were maybe like two restaurants–Marlow & Sons and Diner, and a small little grocery store. Then another little cafe opened. We still don’t have a ton of everything, but we have at least one really good thing of everything.
How would you describe the food scene?
It’s great. I always think it’s reached a climax, but it keeps going. It’s exciting. Everyone’s really interested in going out, but I also think there has been a return to cooking in general. That’s why Sunday Suppers resonates; people are less intimidated to get into the kitchen. Once you cook in a casual way, with friends around you, a lot of the intimidation wears off. That’s a great thing that’s happening in the food scene, a return to cooking with family and friends.
Let’s say someone had 24 hours in Brooklyn—where are the must-eat places?
Maybe you would get your morning coffee at Toby’s Estate. It’s an Australian-based coffeehouse and it’s really amazing and nice. Then you could have breakfast at Egg, a really well-known hipster breakfast place. Then I would take a walk along the waterfront on 10th Avenue, and you could take the water ferry or the East River to other neighborhoods, like Dumbo or Long Island City…it’s a nice ride. For lunch, Diner is pretty awesome, you really can’t go wrong. The burger is amazing. It’s a seasonal menu, they have different things. But they are known for their burger. For sweets, there’s a place called Bakeri that has amazing pastries and a garden in back.
For dinner, head to Bushwick and go to Roberta’s—very good pizza and seasonal fare. And they grow a bunch of their vegetables in their garden.
What is the brunch spot you frequent the most? Dinner spot?
We go to Reynard a lot. It’s the restaurant in the Wythe Hotel. They have a brick oven and it’s super-seasonal; everything has a wonderful flavor. We’ll go there both for breakfast and dinner. We tend to go through phases; we’ll really love a place and then we move on. Rubirosa in the city is great. It’s a family-style pizza and pasta place with homemade pastas and one of the best pizzas in the city. The other place I really love is the new Russ and Daughters café.
Where you could you eat every day and never grow tired of it?