Ocean View Café

Photo by René Atchison

290 Brighton Beach Avenue


Open daily, 11 a.m to 10 p.m.

Ocean View Café is a longtime Brighton Beach mainstay, a corner kitchen that revels in its breezy, greasy-spoon milieu. Except here you find dishes like a caesar salad topped with meaty swatches of smoked eel — a logical aquatic bedfellow for the anchovies in the recipe's signature dressing. Hearty and homey Eastern European standards — beef stroganoff, stuffed cabbage, veal rack submerged in mahogany gravy — reign supreme. Top-notch borscht, the Ukrainian version green with sorrel, the Russian rendition red with beets and served cold in warm weather, join pelmeni and vareniki, paunchy dumplings filled with ground meats, potato, or sour cherries. Sip cups of the fruit punch known as compote, or swig neon-green tarragon soda that tastes of anise. In contrast to the melting pot of pan-Soviet cuisines on the main menu, desserts look to Italy, with offerings like tiramisu and tartufo and crêpes and cakes to round out the assortment. Ocean View has a relaxed vibe; TVs buzz in the background, mixing with catchy pop songs to form a media-fueled white noise. In summer, expect the occasional long wait: Although owner Nicholai Ivanov’s modest respite doesn’t boast actual ocean views, the crowds still find their way to his tables from Brighton Beach a few blocks away.

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Photo by Dominic Perri

175 Kent Avenue


Winter: Tuesday to Thursday 1 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1 to 11 p.m., Sunday 1 to 10 p.m. Closed Monday. Summer: Monday to Thursday 1 to 11 p.m., Friday 1 p.m. to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday noon to 11 p.m.


Sam Mason’s post–wd~50 career has seen the former pastry chef delving into savory territory at Tailor before decamping to Brooklyn to own a bar, start a badass mayonnaise company, and, now, scoop adventurous ice cream flavors for the people. Mason's balance of playfulness and edge sure hasn't blunted — at OddFellows Ice Cream Co. he doles out a mix of scoop shop classics and daring flavor profiles. Butterscotch takes a hit from earthy, salty, fermented miso bolstered by chunks of sweet cherries. A sweet-and-savory master, Mason stocks his cold cases with an ever-changing roster of ten flavors — ice creams like miso cherry, extra-virgin olive oil, milk chocolate with pretzels and peanut butter, and manchego-pineapple-thyme ice cream, not to mention raspberry pink peppercorn sorbet. Listed on the menu under specials you can find caramelized-onion ice cream covered in sea salt, and raisin caramel with walnut topping. The chef gets similarly whimsical with the shop's sundaes (caramel corn, anyone?). In a nod to soda jerks of old, staffers wear snazzy aprons and paper caps — though even the vintage duds feel fresh when the person wearing them is handing over a scoop of creamy, frozen foie gras.