Back when Bele Casel’s U.S. blogmaster lived in Brooklyn — Park Slope to be precise — in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there were still neighborhoods in the outer reaches of the borough that were still untouched by hipsterdom.
Today, the artists and musicians can no longer afford to live in Brooklyn proper: Areas like Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, and even Gowanus (!!!) are now inhabited mostly by New York City’s elite.
As a results, the city’s cutting-edge cultural life has move farther and farther out into the borough’s fringes, where rents are still affordable for those who don’t work in finance.
And that brings us to Fitzcarraldo in East Brooklyn, named after the 1982 film by German art house director Werner Herzog. Ten years ago, no one would have imagined that a high-concept and critically acclaimed Italian restaurant would open in this formerly industrial neighborhood.
“Music rains down from a gramophone horn hung from a ceiling that curves like a ship’s hull,” wrote Ligaya Mishan late last year for the New York Times. “Spiky ferns half-spill out of hanging baskets; peacock-blue flowered tile runs underfoot. The front wall is all window, 12 feet tall with a grid of steel, looking out on almost unrelieved darkness.”
“A kind of magical loneliness possesses Fitzcarraldo… The hovering plants and gestures at beautiful decay come, like the restaurant’s name, from Werner Herzog’s 1982 film, ‘Fitzcarraldo,’ in which a madman dreams of building an opera house in the Amazon. (It’s a favorite of one of the owners, Henry Moynahan Rich, who designed the space.)”
Mishan made it one of her “New York Times critic picks.”
And at Fitzcarraldo, they serve Bele Casel by the glass. When in East Brooklyn…
Image via the restaurant’s website.