Ridgewood: It’s all yours Brooklyn (for the most part)

So I have been hearing a lot about Ridgewood lately; it’s been tossed around as a Bushwick alternative, and I recently saw it mentioned in an article in the New York Times about Queens Brownstoner.  Without knowing that much about the area, it seemed only right that we go and check it out and see what all this fuss is about.

Taking the ol' Q58

Taking the ol’ Q58

After digging up a bit of research, it turns out that Ridgewood has quite an interesting history. Right on the border of Brooklyn, Ridgewood actually was once was a part of Dutch Settlement Bushwick, however is now a part of Queens county.

On a weekend it’s not the easiest area to get to from Astoria, with the M train out of commission. We had the option of taking two buses or one train and one bus– we went with the latter option, and ended up on the corner of Metropolitan Ave and Fresh Pond Road.  Our first destination was a Vietnamese place we read about called Bunker, further down on Metropolitan Ave.  As we set out towards the restaurant, we passed by a pretty forgettable area, kind of half suburban with fast food places, but also kind of industrial.  Walking past Flushing Ave things kind of took a turn for the worst in regards to scenery– it’s flat out industrial here, charmless and really, kind of a random place for a restaurant.

Carvel Ice Cream, Metropolitan Ave, Ridgewood

Carvel Ice Cream, Metropolitan Ave, Ridgewood

However, as we approached Bunker, Dustin and I both got super excited by the enormous Western Beef  that suddenly sprung up in front of us.  Forgetting our rumbling stomachs for a few minutes we went inside and wandered the aisles, gasping at the cheap prices and wishing we had a cheap place near us (there is that small Western Beef on Steinway, but that’s peanuts compared to this one).

After we had calmed down and tried a few free samples, we made our way to the restaurant and were quickly seated.  For an appetizer we shared the summer rolls, Dustin had a pork banh mi, while I had a pork and rice dish. The food was delicious, the service quick and the atmosphere was good, a nice small place, but a bit too small– the waiters kept bumping into us every time they walked past, which got a bit old.  Also, there’s something a tad odd about the theme, I mean, is it weird to call a Vietnamese place Bunker? And have a kind of war-ish decorated bathroom? Something about that seemed a tad off.  The only other criticism I would have is that the price seemed exorbitant– $50 for two lunches, an appetizer and two sodas?  All up I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth it.

Pork Banh Mi at Bunker, Ridgewood

Pork Banh Mi at Bunker, Ridgewood

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Pork and Rice at Bunker, Ridgewood

After eating we decided to head over to the Ridgewood Market.  Walking down Forest Ave we passed back over Flushing, and ended up making a slight detour when we saw a cute, historical-looking street called Stockholm. With it’s fake-cobbled street and colonial-looking houses it was definitely the cutest stretch we saw all day.

Proceeding down Onderdonk for awhile then detouring past a small main street that seemed to embody the vibe of run-down 50’s style, we eventually came upon the Ridgewood Market. Housed in the bottom of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, the market was a delight. Food and craft stalls selling their wares at decent prices! I’m all in.

We picked up a really cute cat illustration by Jackson Heights’ artist and photographer William Seifert.

By William Seifert

By William Seifert

After all the walking and browsing we had done, it seemed only right to end our day with a treat, in this case we chose a bourbon bundt cake from New Amsterdam Baking Company.  It truly hit the spot.

Ridgewood Market

Ridgewood Market

Delicious Mini Bundt Cakes

Delicious Mini Bundt Cakes

So all up: Ridgewood, after spending a day with you I still don’t know what to think. Part of me feels like you’re not that bad, though part of me just can’t make my mind up. The perks of the area seem few and far between. I’ll just leave it at that.

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