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We had a pretty good feeling that Do Or Dine would be our kind of place. Just look at how the owner wears his hat, and how much they use the term “bad ass” on their social networks. It’s clear that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously, and it’s also clear that they’re extremely dedicated to their craft. We like that. We also appreciate their reasoning for opening a restaurant: “We got tired of stumbling home drunk and eating bodega food and crown fried chicken.” Likewise. We started our website because we got tired of stumbling home drunk and reading Adam Platt reviews that compare a hip, downtown restaurant to being front row at a U2 concert. Yep, front row. Right next to my mom.
Do Or Dine is unlike any other restaurant in NYC. They’re doing some pretty crazy sh*t out here in Bed-Stuy. Like stuffing donuts with jam and foie gras and serving it as an appetizer. Like deep frying deviled eggs and jamming them with bacon. Like installing a disco ball in the middle of the dining room, ricocheting neon light everywhere while the opening music to Mad Men plays on the sound system. If Do Or Dine was a rap group (which they may already be, they roll pretty deep), they’d be Odd Future. Justin Warner, their swagged out leader, would be Tyler the Creator. Or maybe he’s Frank Ocean. Either way, he’s the face of the operation and will most likely be greeting you at the door and taking your order. He’s charming and affable underneath that crooked brim, and is on the verge of celebrity status thanks to his role on the Next Food Network Star, where he’s currently a finalist. We witnessed a 14 year-old super fan wig out on him and ask for a picture, and some girl even made a rap for him.
Our trip to Do Or Dine marked the first time we’d ever stepped foot in Bed-Stuy and were legitimately worried about what we were going to do with ourselves if we had to wait for a table. Thankfully, the crowds aren’t as demanding out here as they are in SoHo. Maybe next time we’ll grow some balls and hang out for a bit.
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks
Foie Gras Doughnut
Served warm and as an appetizer, not a dessert, the foie gras doughnut stuffed with strawberry jam has become Do Or Dine’s calling card. It sets the tone for the rest of the meal. And honestly, all you really need is one singular bite of this glorious, rich concoction. Get one for the table and share.
These ain’t real nachos – there are no tortilla chips to be found here. Instead, vegetable gyoza (dumplings) are topped with a bunch of cheese, pico de gallo, and jalapeno masago sour cream. It’s a big clumpy mess of dumplings and while it doesn’t look like much, it tastes fantastic. As you can probably tell, there’s no light food at Do Or Dine.
Tempura battered, deep fried deviled eggs stuffed with bacon and culantro (cilantro’s spicy Asian/Caribbean cousin). As Justin Warner would say, these eggs are “bangin’.” A must order.
The squid was cool, but not as exciting as some of the other stuff coming out of the Do Or Dine kitchen. The charred calamari rings were definitely tasty, as was the spicy dipping sauce, but this didn’t have as much wow factor as the other stuff.
A Chicken And Woffals
This was f*cking incredible. A cornish hen is roasted, fried, and then roasted again so it comes out with this glistening, crunchy exterior that has a sweet taste to it. The hen is then served atop sour cream waffles which are ironed and then fried to a crisp, with a layer of chicken liver and passion fruit maple syrup to finish. Somehow, it all works together, even though it’s completely ridiculous. I don’t even like chicken liver and I still freaked out.
Cuban meets Chinese meets Mexican. A perfectly seared piece of sauteed skate is the backbone of this “rice and beans” dish which comes with puffed rice, mango brunoise, Chinese sausage, black beans, and fermented black bean paste. Creative, different, and delicious.
The deserts are the simple antithesis to the rest of the food at Do Or Dine. Snickers ice cream bars, bodega style are available, as are a selection of ice creams and sorbets. After all that unhealthy eating, a couple of spoonfuls of blueberry ice cream does a body good.