For those with discerning palates, it is not enough for a neighborhood to have a variety of top-notch restaurants. It must also include shops that sell superior ingredients for preparing meals at home. Brooklyn Heights has its share of such purveyors. Whether you are shopping for dry-aged steaks, house-made hummus, rarefied loose-leaf teas, or vegan cheese, you can find it in at least one of these stores below.
193 Atlantic Avenue (between Clinton and Court Streets)
Dry-aged steaks are among the offerings at Dellapietras. Image: Ernesto Andrade/Flickr
In some ways Dellapietras is like the butcher shops you remember from childhood: Behind the counter, wearing white aprons and rolled-up shirt sleeves, the pros chop, hack, and trim beef, lamb, pork, and poultry to your specifications while providing helpful advice regarding the best ways to prepare the meat. But here only free-range, organic, pasture-raised poultry is sold, and all the lamb is free-range and organic as well. The pork is exclusively kurobuta, from heritage Berkshire hogs, and the steaks are dry-aged for 50 to 65 days, on a par with those served at five-star restaurants. In addition to selling cuts ranging from baby-back ribs to brisket to saddles of lamb, Dellapietras offers a selection of homemade sausages, including andouille, bratwurst, and caseless hot dogs. As one cannot live by meat alone, the shop sells locally made artisanal breads, house-made mozzarella, and a variety of vinegars and oils too. And if your love of eating does not extend to a love of cooking, Dellapietras sells ready-made mains and sides, such as smoked Kurobuta ham with a glaze of brown sugar and pink champagne, steamed asparagus, and red and yellow beets dressed with fennel and a blood-orange vinaigrette. Perhaps best of all, the shop is open seven days a week—perfect if you wake up Sunday morning with a sudden yearning to make osso bucco for dinner.
180 Montague Street (between Clinton and Court Streets)
A one-stop shop for those with discerning palates, Fresh Start Marketplace is chockablock with fresh produce, cheese, baked goods, fish, and meat, along with a stellar selection of packaged foods. The baskets and bins filled almost to overflowing with lush vegetables and fruit qualify as works of art; ditto the pastry cases lined with cakes, pies, and tarts. But it is perhaps its own prepared foods that have earned Fresh Start its devoted following. Favorites include beef brisket, Cajun catfish, roasted asparagus, and orzo spinach salad, any of which you could easily pass off as your own at your next dinner party.
175 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court Streets)
Perelandra has been selling natural and organic foods since 1976, long before such edibles became mainstream. The locally owned business makes a point of buying from other small, local businesses whenever possible. It also has a licensed nutritionist on staff who trains other employees so that they can inform customers as to why the shop does not sell products made with hydrogenated oils and the like. As you would expect, Perelandra has a robust produce section. There is also a room dedicated to nuts, grains, granolas, legumes, snacks, and other foods sold in bulk. Among the grocery products are a wealth of plant-based milks, a sizable selection of East Asian ingredients, and a plethora of earth-friendly cleaning products. The store’s juice bar and prepared foods are the star attraction, however—so much so that Perelandra spent the first few months of 2018 renovating and expanding its facilities. From house-made cashew cream cheese to jackfruit salad, vegetable subs with lentil-veggie balls subbing for meatballs to vegan peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake, the offerings are all plant-based, with at least 95% certified organic ingredients, and made daily on its kosher-certified premises.
187 Atlantic Avenue (between Clinton and Court Streets)
Hailing from Lebanon, the Sahadi family began bringing spices, nuts, and other foods from the Mediterranean to New York back in 1898; in 1948 it opened its Brooklyn Heights store. Though still owned and operated by the Sahadis, the business has grown far beyond what its founders could have ever envisioned. Its olive bar alone has more than 30 varieties; its cheese department offers some 200 varieties; its grocery items encompass pomegranate molasses and peach-habanero hot sauce, rose-flavor Turkish delight and chestnut puree, Hawaiian hazelnut coffee to shichimi togarashi, a Japanese mixture of seven spices. And then there are its house-made offerings: hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, a variety of meat and vegetable pies—roughly 30 specialty dishes are made each day. As soon as you step inside the store you’ll understand just how well deserved its 2017 James Beard Foundation Award was.
Two for the Pot
200 Clinton Street (between State Street and Atlantic Avenue)
In the great coffee vs. tea debate, Two for the Pot takes no sides. This compact shop sells plenty of both, some of which are roasted in-house, others of which will be new to those who are not aficionados (genmaicha, anyone?). In addition to coffees, loose-leaf teas, it offers a carefully curated assortment of spices, herbs, and bitters as well, and the staff are more than happy to explain how, say, one Earl Grey differs from another or which pepper berries are best for which recipes. U.K. ex-pats and Anglophiles have yet another reason to make a beeline to the store: It sells British groceries, including Walker crisps (aka “chips” to Americans), Heinz beans, and Horlicks malted milk powder.