Food Hungry Much? Get Noah Fecks’ Brooklyn Food Finds

by the editorial team at Citi | November 26, 2019

For a version of this video that includes audio descriptions click here.
For a version of this video without audio descriptions click here.

“Photographing food makes me hungry,” Noah Fecks admits.

Good thing, then, that the Brooklyn, NY-based photographer and director is never far from his next delicious project — or new taste obsession.

How do you make your life’s work documenting what’s new in the culinary world? For Fecks it began over two decades ago, when a food writer recognized his talent and set him on his career path. “She threw me headfirst into food photography. She pushed me to dive into this world and make it my own,” Fecks recalls.

Fecks has since built a thriving business capturing restaurants, bars and of-the-moment chefs in his signature vivid style. He’s shot 25-plus cookbooks, and local assignments keep him deeply dialed in to his city’s culinary scene. “One of my favorite things about New York is there's a million things that are tried and true, but blink your eyes, and there's 10 new places that open,” Fecks says.

Fecks has a keen eye for trends, discerning taste and an adventurous appetite — making him the ideal guide for a tasty (and budget-friendly) eating tour of Brooklyn. And, according to Fecks, the best way to buzz around New York is on two wheels; he says he’s on a bike 200 days a year. So, Life and Money by Citi recently rode around Brooklyn with Fecks for a mouth-watering day spent tasting some of the borough’s best bites.

To get the full scoop on where to dine next in Brooklyn, watch the video above and read below for more of Fecks' favorite spots.

Fort Defiance

365 Van Brunt Street / Red Hook

For a decade now, Fort Defiance has served as the de facto dining room for Red Hook locals — Fecks included. His photography studio is right around the corner from this casual all-day eatery known for its buzzy brunch scene and creative cocktails (see: Tiki drinks club on Thursdays).

“I often start my day with their cheddar biscuit egg sandwich with ham and jalapeño jam — the jalapeño jam knocks this one out of the park,” Fecks shares. But, his favorite thing on the menu? The deviled eggs. “They are New York's most photogenic deviled eggs…super visual,” Fecks says. And, best of all, they’re a bargain at $4 per egg.

Hometown Bar-B-Que

454 Van Brunt / Red Hook

Bring your appetite — and a group — to this temple to slow-smoked meats and southern-inspired side dishes.

Fecks is a fan of the Korean sticky ribs and gooey Texas-style mac and cheese. Brisket by the quarter pound, racks of Jamaican jerk ribs, and sides of collard greens and tangy potato salad are ideal for splitting and sharing family-style. Long rustic picnic tables add to the pass-and-try-everything vibe.

Check Hometown’s events calendar to see when live rock and country music bands take the stage.

Lavender Lake

383 Carroll Street / Gowanus

Brooklyn is New York’s most populous borough, so finding a spot where you can stroll right in and grab a seat like a regular is key. And Lavender Lake, a bar and restaurant tucked away on a sleepy block in the Gowanus, is that place.

“I love the heck out of Lavender Lake…I go often in the summer,” Fecks says, when its outdoor back patio ramps up. It’s the ideal setting for sipping a cold local brew alongside a “smashed” Lake burger piled high with cheese, pickles, red onion and a swipe of the house special sauce.

Ciao, Gloria

550 Vanderbilt Avenue / Prospect Heights

Opened in September 2019, this pastry and coffee shop serving breakfast and lunch is a welcome addition to the destination-dining scene emerging in Prospect Heights. In concepting his latest venture, owner Renato Poliafito says he pulled inspiration from Italian café culture, Japanese design, Scandinavian minimalism and sunny Southern California coffee shops. And the diverse mix of influences somehow all comes together.

“Renato had a much-loved bakery in Red Hook, and his pastry game is top notch,” Fecks explains. “I’m a sucker for all things scone, and their lemon poppy seed is one of my favorites in all the land.” For a more substantial snack, try the zesty salty-ricotta toast or one of the breakfast sandwiches stacked with crispy prosciutto, egg frittata and pesto.

Maison Yaki

626 Vanderbilt Avenue / Prospect Heights

Another newcomer, Maison Yaki opened its doors April 2019 with a decidedly distinct mash-up of French classics and Japanese cooking techniques.

“The pairing might sound odd, but trust me…it’s delicious,” Fecks assures. “Everything is à la carte, and they do nothing but these small little skewers. So it's actually quite easy to pop in there at an earlier time without a reservation and just get a couple of skewers and bolt.”

Once you’ve filled up on the beef tongue sando or the duck al’orange skewers (Fecks’ picks), roll to the backyard to play a game of pétanque, France’s answer to bocce.

MeMe’s Diner

657 Washington Avenue / Prospect Heights

The cozy and inviting MeMe’s Diner – set in a bright storefront space in Prospect Heights – counts Fecks as a regular. “Two of my best, best, best friends in the world are the owners,” he says. “And it really is someplace I go, like, every other week,” he says.

The menu is a refined take on comfort food and changes with the seasons. However, a few crowd pleasers stick around all year, like the meatloaf and the buffalo chicken salad.