Where to Eat Dinner and Still Get to a Barclays Show On Time

By Heather Holland on December 13, 2012 7:22am 

BROOKLYN — These concert-goers are hungry for more than just good music.

Thousands of people flock to the Barclays Center on show nights, and many wander the neighborhood looking for a quick bite to eat before heading into the arena.

To help time-pressed music and sports ticket holders find the best food within the shortest distance, DNAinfo.com New York put together a guide of the top nearby restaurants, including what to order if you want to get out the door quickly.

Please note, “Total walking time” refers to the time it would take a person to walk from the restaurant to the Barclays Center.

Bogota Latin Bistro, 141 5th Ave.

Total walking time: 11 minutes

Best for: Big groups

Energy: High

Get riled up for a game or concert at Barclays in a high-energy, festive environment. Bogota offers traditional Colombian dishes, a large selection of cocktails and a highly trained staff that is willing to accommodate guests in a hurry.

“We’ve got these systems in place and the staff is very knowledgeable,” said Farid Ali, an owner at Bogota. “We know what we’re doing here, and people can expect to be in and out of here in 30 minutes.”

For those looking to dine quickly, Ali recommends ordering the arroz con pollo, a rice and chicken dish, or the arepas, which are traditional Colombian cornmeal cakes. The cornmeal cakes can be enhanced with a variety of toppings including avocados and fried egg.

Drinks including mojitos, sangrias and pina coladas are priced at about $9 a glass or $45 for a pitcher. Virgin cocktails are also available.

Bogota has 120 seats, which makes the restaurant ideal for bigger crowds. It also has a heated patio with additional seating.

“Whenever I go to a large concert arena, I’m already hyped and revved up, and I want the restaurant to match that energy level,” Ali said. “I want a place that’s got its act together and isn’t just going to wing it.”

Although reservations are recommended during busy nights, half the restaurant is always dedicated to walk-ins, Ali said.

Rosewater, 787 Union St.

Total walking time: 14 minutes

Best for: Intimate groups

Energy: Low

Rosewater, serving an American seasonal menu, is ideal for those looking for a relaxed experience before the show.

“We’re a very small restaurant,” said John Tucker, its owner. “It’s a casual fine dining place with elegant décor that isn’t too stuffy.”

The restaurant offers a prix fixe dinner every Monday through Thursday with a three-course meal, including wine pairing, for $28.

For those looking to dine within a time limit, Tucker recommends Rosewater’s fish dishes such as the seared wild striped bass, or the baked polenta, which is served with goat cheese, fried egg, collard greens and salsa verde.

The dining room seats 50 people — including outdoor seating in a heated, enclosed patio — and is recommended for more intimate groups. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome.

Maimonide of Brooklyn, 525 Atlantic Ave.

Total walking time: 6 minutes

Best for: Big groups

Energy: Medium

Vegetarians looking for gourmet cuisine and a fun and relaxed environment can head to M.O.B., where veggies take the form of burgers, nuggets and a variety of flatbreads.

“The service here is fast and fun and there’s plenty of comfortable space for families and date nights alike,” said Neal Harden, chef at M.O.B.

For those looking to dine in a flash, the chef recommends the house-baked flatbreads with creative fresh toppings such as horseradish aioli, sautéed kale and shitake mushrooms.

With a total of 65 seats and communal seating options that seat up to 20 people, M.O.B. can accommodate any size crowd, though reservations are highly recommended on show nights.

Pardes, 497 Atlantic Ave.

Total walking time: 7 minutes

Best for: Small groups

Energy: Low

For those looking for kosher food, Pardes — only three blocks from the Barclays Arena — offers modern American kosher cuisine with an innovative twist. The menu changes daily, but classic American favorites, such as hamburgers, sandwiches and pizza, are always available.

“Because our menu changes daily, our servers are able to recommend quicker items for guests on a time limit,” said Shana Wendel, co-owner of Pardes.

Some of Pardes’ most popular dishes include the Beef Cheek Pizza with roasted tomatoes and basil, and the Charred Aji Tartare with fennel, walnuts, black garlic and grapefruit.

“For people with some time to kill, we highly recommend trying several of our smaller dishes as the best way to experience Pardes,” Wendel said.

With only 34 seats, Pardes isn’t suggested for big parties and reservations are recommended. 

Alchemy, 56 5th Ave.

Total walking time: 7 minutes

Best for: Small groups

Energy: Medium

Head to Alchemy for a quick drink and some American comfort food.

Alchemy, about three blocks from the arena, is a bar and restaurant with a low-key, pub-style vibe.

“I think we’ve done a great job of…maintaining a casual and friendly atmosphere,” owner Kevin Read said.

Happy hour specials run every weekday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. with draft beers, wine and house liquor priced at $4. During happy hour, the price of small plates is reduced to $5.

For customers looking to dine and dash to a show, Read recommends the BLT sandwich, ravioli or burgers, which can all be prepared fairly quickly.

Alchemy seats up to 48 people, with additional seating outside when weather permits. 

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