Quick Bites: A Syrian-Korean market, croissants in Williamsburg, a dream ice cream collab

For this month’s edition of Quick Bites — our small-plates roundup of restaurants news your can use — we visit a new offshoot for SYKO, an expansion for Nick + Sons and a killer Russ & Daughters collab.

The SYKO family opens a grocery (with fresh baked goods) on Prospect Park West

On the official opening day of Dukan Syko earlier this week, the excellent new Syrian-Korean neighborhood grocery store from the folks who gave us the equally excellent Syrian-Korean neighborhood restaurant Syko in 2022, James Kim was chasing down his two little kids in the aisles while his wife, Rosette Khoury Kim, was trying to get them fed with the help of James’s parents, who ran this space for more than 30 years as J&H Farm before retiring last winter.

Meanwhile Rosette’s older brother Mazen was cranking out savory pastries in the back, and her younger brother Michael was up on a ladder, head poking up into the ceiling, trying to fix the shop’s internet connection. Customers came and went, buying Syrian hummus and cheeses, Korean kimchi and chips, and James and Mazen stopped what they were doing every time, greeting almost everyone by name. It felt like the best kind of chaos. It felt like a happy home.

Various fatayer (mini pies) and manousheh (flatbread), priced from $3.25 to $9 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

“We’re a family business,” Kim tellls Brooklyn Magazine. “Like, that’s it. There’s no line between partners. We’re all in this together.”

In addition to the un-improvable vibes and superb selection of groceries — don’t miss the olive bar, and all the banchan — Dukan Syko also sells a remarkably large assortment of fresh-baked savory fatayer (or, stuffed mini pies) and manousheh (flatbread laden with all kinds of different goodies). Mazen loaded me up with just about everything in the case the other day, and it was all delicious. Show up with a box-full of these beauties at your next Prospect Park picnic and be a hero.

Dukan Syko is located at 214A Prospect Park West, just off 16th Street, and is currently open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Nick + Sons, one of Brooklyn’s best bakeries, opens a huge new space on Lorimer Street 

Nick Heavican, the co-owner of Nick + Sons with his business partner Nick Brophy (they have five sons between them), got into the laminated dough game in an unexpected way, in an unexpected place. About seven years ago the Nebraska native and longtime Brooklyn resident stopped by a bakery in Reykjavik, Iceland, and fell so hard for the bread there that he signed on immediately to be an intern. After two-and-half weeks spent working the ovens in Iceland, then six months more practicing his craft back home in Brooklyn, the first Nick + Sons bakery, a hole-in-the-wall on Leonard Street, was born.

Various pastries, priced from $4.50 to $5 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Turns out Heavican can make a killer croissant, and though the bakery enjoyed immediate neighborhood success, it was during the early pandemic that the place really started getting slammed every time he opened the doors. Heavican knew they needed to increase production somehow, and, after three years of looking, that vision became reality this week at the massive new Nick + Sons located less than a mile away, in a former garage right across from McCarren Park.

“We went from 500 square feet to over 3,000 square feet, with a big customer experience area up front. No seating, just drink counters,” Heavican tells Brooklyn Magazine. “But people can kind of mill around here now, and just be in the space.”

While you’re milling, get as many pastries as you can handle. On soft-opening day only five were available but they were all terrific, from the classic croissant (right up there with the best in town) to a sensational cardamom bun (ditto). Coming soon: pizza, chorizo cheese balls, focaccia sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and honey buns.

The new Nick + Sons is located at 892 Lorimer Street, right near the intersection of Nassau and Bedford Avenues. The hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to start; check their Instagram to see which days it’s open.  

Dream team treats! Morgenstern’s and Russ & Daughters collab on three new ice cream bars 

Like most of us, Nick Morgenstern is a huge fan of Russ & Daughters, the iconic, 110-year-old appetizing shop on Houston Street that has expanded its reach in the last decade to include a dine-in cafe on Orchard Street, a stand in Hudson Yards and a huge counter-service spot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Unlike most of us, Morgenstern also runs one of the city’s best ice cream parlors, so when he said to Josh Russ Tupper, Russ & Daughter’s fourth generation co-owner with his cousin Niki Russ Federman, “all right when are we doing an ice cream collaboration,” the dream actually became a reality.

“We’ve been making halvah ice cream at the cafe, we do a babka ice cream there too,” Tupper tells Brooklyn Magazine. “But now we’re doing it proper with Morgenstern’s.” Proper is right. I wolfed all three of the exclusive summertime treats in front of the OG Russ & Daughters the other day, and they were all amazing.

Sesame bagel ice cream sandwich, $8; Chocolate babka ice cream pop, $8 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

The “sesame bagel ice cream sandwich” is a chewy sesame cookie filled with tangy cream cheese ice cream. The “five-layer halvah bar” is a decadent vegan delight, with halvah ice cream surrounded by dark chocolate. And the “chocolate babka ice cream pop” uses Russ Daughter’s legendary pastry to excellent effect.

The three ice cream treats will be available all summer at three Russ & Daughters locations (everything but the cafe) as well as the Morgenstern’s flagship on West Houston.

The post Quick Bites: A Syrian-Korean market, croissants in Williamsburg, a dream ice cream collab appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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