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Stone Park Cafe

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It may seem hard to believe, but in 2004, Park Slope's Fifth Avenue was still more bodega and laundromat than fine dining. A few key restaurant openings that year led to a boom that ten years later shows no sign of slowing down. One of those restaurants was Stone Park Cafe, which, at a time when its competition consisted primarily of pizza-by-the-slice and Mexican takeout, focused on introducing “neighborhood dining” to what partner Josh Foster and chef Josh Grinker lovingly refer to as “Brownstone Brooklyn.” The food is not overthought — the kitchen focuses on keeping its dishes to three or four ingredients each — but since earning a coveted two-star review from the New York Times, Stone Park has evolved into a more complicated restaurant, with more refined fare and a 325-bottle wine list. It has also become one of the most important New American restaurants in South Brooklyn and a destination for Manhattanites making the trek across the East River. It's hard to go wrong with any of Grinker's meat- or fish-based main courses, but those who fail to order his decadent bone-marrow and scallop tacos have no one to blame but themselves. Just saying.

324 Fifth Avenue

718-369-0082

Tuesday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Closed Monday.

Photo by Dominic Perri