When Justin asked me, “Wanna go see the Black Keys at Barclays,” it really didn’t take me longer than a second to say, “Definitely.” So, last Wednesday, September 24, that’s what we did. The most important question, for me, was, “Where can we eat?” I had never been to the Barclay’s Center, in Brooklyn, and I really don’t know anything around the area at all. So Justin ran through his Yelp repertoire and we came up with Talde. I was intrigued by this place, as a super casual but high end Asian soul food kind of place. Having watched Chef Dale Talde on Top Chef years ago also added to some of my interest.
I met Justin in the city at about 4:30 and he drove us into Brooklyn. We lucked out with parking right in front of the corner restaurant in Park Slope, and were sitting by 5:30, the first table of their evening.
First, to drink…
Justin went with the BBQ Negroni, on the left (super smokey) and I did the Ginger Rose on the right (sweet and sour). Both were fantastic and later in the meal we switched to equally fantastic classic old fashioneds.
I loved the decor of the place, with the open kitchen (I always love that), dark wood carvings and moldings all over (with a little explanation on the drink menu), and somehow an atmosphere that was totally casual despite the high expectations of the food.
Onto the food… The menu was perfectly concise, containing only 5-6 options for each section: appetizers, noodles, entrees, and sides.
The waitress was extremely helpful and informative, making our decisions incredibly easy. Justin and I decided to do one choice from each section, based on the waitress’s recommendations and descriptions, as well as my research of what was good here.
First, the pretzel pork and choice dumplings.
While the food continued, and continued to be impressive, I will say that the next three plates came out almost simultaneously. This was overwhelming and made us feel rushed and uncomfortable. By the time I got through my second course, my third was cold and fourth was colder. As the restaurant started to get pretty packed as our meal went on, it seemed clear that they had tried to get our table over with early, before they got too busy. It was sad to me that the kitchen and staff (although soo sweet and helpful) did not consider the pace of our meal at all, and therefore lost any hope of a five star rating.
But back to the food itself, next we did the Korean Fried Chicken with spicy kimchi yogurt, grapes, and mint.
Next was the crispy oyster and bacon pad Thai.
This was outrageously good, I think my personal favorite of the night. While there were only three pieces of bacon in the dish, the flavor was abundantly present in every bite… The fat from the bacon had soaked the noodles. Paired with the crispy oysters and tangy lime, I think I could eat this every night. The only thing that could have made it better is if I had gotten to eat it while it was still warm…
Last, we did the king crab fried rice.
This was Justin’s favorite. The crab meat was chopped small and almost unnoticeable but, like the bacon in the pad Thai, the flavor saturated the rice. It was lightly fried, so as to not feel to heavy, and was pretty amazing.
So by this time it was probably only about 6:15… Our entire meal had taken less than an hour. With all that free time left it seemed silly not to order dessert (I’m being facetious here, I always want dessert). It seems pretty genius to me that they only offer one option: halo halo.
This was the most unusual and fascinating part of the meal, for me: a Filipino dish that comprised of a giant bowl of crushed ice, Captain Crunch, coconut milk, strawberries, blueberries, and tapioca… I’m sure a few other things were thrown in there too; every bite surprised me.
While the pace of the meal really did bother me, the food still managed to shine. Talde earned an official Baconboozer rating of 4 stars: excellent food, great drinks, and great service, with the fatal flaw of just making me feel rushed… I don’t like rushing.
After dinner we headed over the The Barclay’s Center, where $11.50 Bud Lights abound. I had never seen the Black Keys live, and we had gotten the tickets last minute from a friend of Justin. The show was great; Cage the Elephant opened and were great and the Black Keys played their hits and a bunch of songs I’d never heard. Unfortunately being in the absolute farthest section possible made it feel more like a radio performance than a visual one. I could barely see the band members. Here’s my view, fully zoomed in:
All in all, an excellent night. Brooklyn seems ok, to me.