Cooklyn opens at 659 Vanderbilt Ave, the old Forest Floor space — Brooklynian

Cooklyn opens at 659 Vanderbilt Ave, the old Forest Floor space

edited January 2015 in Prospect Heights

When I looked in today, carpenters were busy constructing what looked like a bar along the left side of the space, and a big bench type seat that ran the length of the right side of the space.


  • Many moons ago this was supposed to be a wine bar, but then it sold suits and after that it closed. I wonder what's next.

  • Rumors are that it could be the future location of this burger place:

  • Calling The Dressler a "burger place" is like calling al di la a "sandwich place" because the same people own Lincoln Station.

    The Dressler was a Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant. It was owned by the same people who also own DuMont. The DuMont's burger has been so justifiably popular that they spun off a separate restaurant called DuMont Burger, which also serves as kick-ass mac and cheese.

    For what it's worth, I think the Forest Floor space would be way too small for a Dressler part 2, if that's what they have in mind.

  • Very True.

    I was actually thinking in terms of this location resembling their Dumont Burger place.

  • The Forest Floor was much bigger inside than it looked. It even had a little garden out back. I'd love a burger place - I think the owners of Stocked were telling me they had heard that the "Fish Fish Mo' Fish" space might become a burger joint.

    Sounds like the street could use one - even though the Soda burger is pretty good and Plan B has that "inside-out" thing. Plan B just seems to have some sort of force-field that repels my appetite as I approach.

  • While it is good, Soda takes forever to produce a burger.

  • What happened to Fish Fish Mo Fish? I don't remember it ever opening, even though they got that fantastic sign.

  • edited September 2014

    Fish Fish Mo Fish was financially affiliated with Back 9.

    Back 9 went under when the avenue did not instaneously fill with burger/wing eating hoards.

    Fish Fish Mo Fish stopped work and never opened. I've heard the owner lost a lot of money on the two establishments.

  • That's too bad. I got take out a few times from Back 9 and it was pretty good. It's a shame they didn't have the cash to last at least a year, so they could've built some local following.

  • He put so much money in to those places that a local following would not have sustained him. He needed visitors that were willing to overpay.

    lots of 'em.

    I was told his grand plan was to have moderate prices until the arena opened, then jack them up.

  • the issue with this stretch of Vanderbilt is that no full liquor licenses are available (most or all of the block, I think) due to the presence of the brotherhood Baptist church on the corner. beer & wine-yes; full liquor-no. SODA is grandfathered and R&D somehow got in under the wire. I understand that the inability to become a "sports bar" is one reason why there is no FFMF. I am not sure whether the landlords have priced this reality into their commercial lease demands, but if not you may see some empty storefronts while they figure it out the market.

    also, the "blessed hands" hair salon (next to prospect heights realty) has moved. no idea what is going in there.

  • to be clear, the block with the liquor license restrictions is the fish fish mo fish block. not sure how far the 250 ft radius (that restricts liquor licenses) goes - probably just to park pl intersection. I heard that old pena's is the location Dumont is looking at for a burger joint, but maybe they are looking someplace else where they can do full liquor. as for forest floor, wasn't it the plan b owners who were going to do the tapas place? maybe they're back in the game.

  • The amount of street traffic on Vanderbilt during prime evening hours is really something nowadays. I think a burger joint wouldn't need more than a beer & wine license to make it (take a cue from 67 burger). Local beer, local beer, local beef.

    Also, it should be noted that the Vanderbilt actually has a fantastic burger AND it's (usually) on the happy-hour menu AND happy hour kicks in again at 11 PM on weeknights.

  • edited September 2014

    I like the burger at Vanderbilt, but the prices and atmosphere is a little upscale for eating solo.

    I think something along the lines of Bark (located on Bergen, near Flatbush) would thrive. It has beer and burgers..

  • Enough with the burgers. I think we need a takeout/eat in salad place - like a Chop'd.

  • edited September 2014

    I am surprised that little organic market doesn't have made to order salads.

  • Arches came across this news about one of the primary owners of Dressler/Dumont:

    arches said:

    This probably doesn't bode well for a new Dumont. Sad.

    If 659 Vanderbilt was going to be the rumored location, plans have suddenly changed...

  • It's still supposed to be a wine bar. Every few months I see guys doing what's probably illegal construction for a while and then they disappear. It's the same owner as the awful sports bar across the street.

  • I'm still confused about why people hate Plan B so much. It's actually a nice place to grab a bite to eat and watch a game. Anytime I've been there, the patrons and staff have been perfectly civil.

    Anyhow, I hope the wine bar eventually opens. I always welcome another place to unwind.

  • We like it! Decent food, buy backs and it is one of the few bars in the 'hood that we do not feel like we are chaperoning.

  • Amen, regarding Plan B.

  • As a future wine bar, I find it odd that I have not heard about them having to present to the CB8 committee.

    I perceive wine and beer lic's (as opposed to full liq lics) as being a given, but I would want to get the process started before I began construction.

    The last permit for 659 Vanderbilt seems to have expired back in 2003, back when it was a grocery store.

    Nothing seems to be pending.

  • As expected, that will soon change....

    Sept 23: An entity known as GE Park LLC is in the process of asking the Community Board for their support for a Beer and Wine lic, one which allow them to use their back garden/grounds.

    They are expected to present on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 6:30 PM at CNR-Center Light Health Care Center, which is located at 727 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (between Park and Prospect Places).

  • They didn't appear on Oct 7. They are expected to appear at the next SLA & Sidewalk Café Review Committee:

    Monday, November 4, 2013 at 6:30 PM at CNR-Center Light Health Care Center, which is located at 727 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (between Park and Prospect Places).

  • They showed up at tonight's (Nov 4) mtg.

    Yes, they do also own Plan B across the street.

    Yes, they will serve food including brunch.

    Yes, they are receiving the support of the board for a lic to serve wine.

    No, they can't use their backyard space yet.

  • Did a restaurant ever open here? I don't walk by often enough to know. But anyway, something named "Cooklyn" just applied for a restaurant inspection in this space. Is this plan B? or plan C? 
  • edited October 2014
    Not yet.

    Construction appears sporadic, and slow.
  • Ok, so Cooklyn is most likely the now-soon-to-open wine bar with brunch and back garden that was being planned by the plan B people a year ago.

    They really have a way with names, don't they?
  • edited September 2014
    This is progress.

    At least Cooklyn does not make me think of what one uses after a condom breaks.

  • edited October 2014
    Sign now posted on restaurant: Cooklyn

    ...looks like it could open pretty soon. It already has its alc permit, which is usually the most time consuming hurdle.
  • Every single time I walk past this all I can think is that it looks like someone dismantled The Doctor's TARDIS and turned it into a storefront.
  • edited November 2014
  • Never would have expected the owners of Plan B to open an upscale restaurant previewed by the city's paper of record.
  • Wishing them the best!

  • From gothamist link:

  • Bumped into one of the chefs this weekend who was making a dash to the Met for eggs.  I'm excited to try this place.
  • They "source" their eggs at Met?
  • That is local.
  • So whats the story on crooklyn? Who owns it? Not a fan of plan b so I doubt I'd patronize another of their places. Hopefully the bathroom isn't as offensive.
  • They "source" their eggs at Met?
    Maybe it was their Plan B.
  • I wasn't to thrilled with the place. To be short, except for the veggies that come with said plates, everything seems to be dry and salty. The service is excellent, however.
  • Wizzlebach sources lots of stuff from the Met. I see him pulling 12 packs of Corona out of there all the time. 
  • Like most places I think after the big splash opening it'll b business as usual, nothing to write home about...
  • Ah, but if we didn't write about business as usual, we would have stopped writing home years ago.
  • My wife and I dined her over the weekend and had a really great time. The head chef, Anthony, came out of the kitchen to see how we were enjoying our meal and even sent us each a glass of wine compliments of the house. The highlights of the night were the cheese plate (Stinky!), octopus and squid ink pasta. We didn't love the lamb buns as much as we expected (I'll stick the the traditional ones up the street at Choku).

    The bartender/sommelier is also a very friendly, big personality who really is passionate about his wines. The selection is diverse and unique. Also, the quartinos are the way to go.

    We'll be back in January after the holidays. Vanderbilt is putting together a nice collection of restaurants.
  • Three neighbors who eat out often ate here last week and it was lovely. We think it is in a class with James, if not a small step up. Very professional service (except, why does the waitress remove one diner's plates before all guests at the table were finished...a bad habit in many restaurants. It makes the others feel as tho they should hurry up and finish already!) Excellent wine advice and the quarto is a good choice.  Delicious, well-prepared food beautifully presented. Only truly negative note (and an important one) is the music was much too intrusive. Maybe later in the evening turn it up for the bar people, but it was too loud for civilized, conversational dining. Still try this place out. It's a winner.
  • I agree about the music, and really why would you turn it up later in the night for the bar crowd? Wouldn't that just make them yell even louder? If anything I would lower it as the night goes on. Besides that though, the place is lovely and everything we tried was great. It's a bit pricy to be on our regular rotation but definitely a good option for date night. 
  • We went last night and sat at the bar and had a few appetizers (all delicious). The music was not that loud, I guess they read last poster's comment. All in all, a really pleasant experience and we will return sooner than later!

  • edited January 2015
    Tonight, Cooklyn received support from CB8 to serve alcohol.

    The owner sought permission to stay open until 10 PM on week nights, and midnight on Fri and Sat.
  • Is that for the backyard as well as the restaurant?
  • edited January 2015
    I don't recall if he said he planned to close the backyard before the restaurant.   
  • We are going there for brunch today. Will let you know how it was.

    Disappointed to see that the Plan B guy is involved. He's creepy.
  • Zero vegetarian options means we won't ever go there.  Which is too bad, because the menu looks good otherwise.

    It's surprising to see any new restaurant open with a menu that excludes vegetarians.  I mean, if it was a churrascaria I could understand it.  But New American?  Bad move, guys.
  • It was good

    There isn't really a healthy option on the menu either -- even the salad
  • Looks popular.  We tried to go on Friday night, but the wait was too long.  Good for them!
  • Our first lunch/brunch today at Cooklyn was terrific, beautifully cooked. Incredible staff well-trained and attentive. Happily the music/noise that threw us off in evening visits has all but gone away. People should stop being hung up on Plan B and this place. They are completely different places and personnel (tho I must say I speak with as much authority as those who question Cooklyn without having been there...I have never set foot in Plan B.) Give this place a try. It really is wonderful (I have no stake in Cooklyn other than as a neighbor and 45 year resident of the Heights.)
  • A neighbor told me they've just begun ripping up the the backyard for their outdoor seating. They've also taken over the backyard of the health food store next door so it will be a big space.

    That's going to be a lot of noise out there.
  • we have been here a couple of times over the last few months and even though we were initially really excited about this place, we have been let down both times a bit.... and a lot of it has to do with a menu - which seems a little limited, severely lacking in vegetarian friend options, healthy options or vegetables.. it's just not a balanced menu. 

    However, we did hear that once the backyard opens, it's going to be lamb and pig roasts served and that sounds interesting... will give it one more try when that does happen...
  • So I live on this street. because of my relationship with the landlord I can't publicly complain but these folks are totally not closing the backyard when they're supposed to and the noise echoes all the way over to my place.

    It's after 10:30 now and the backyard is still completely packed from what I can hear and Saturday night it sounded like they had people out there till almost 1:00. 

    Who is supposed to police this kind of stuff?
  • I'd actually start with contacting the manager of the establishment.

    But if you are in a situation where that isn't possible, I'd give CB8 a call for advice and help mediating it:

    If you want/need to demonstrate that this is an ongoing issue, begin calling 311 and logging those calls.     Have others do it to, so you are not dismissed as a crazy person who should live in the country.

    Then, submit a log of those calls to CB8 and/or the SLA:

  • Thank you! They were out until almost midnight last night (I believe they're supposed to close at 10:00) So I might have to start doing some, or all of this, very soon. 
  • edited February 2016

    Now closed.   It seems it was open a little more than a year.

    "Prospect Heights restaurant Cooklyn has closed its doors. The restaurant's landlord, Mohmoud Widdi, confirmed that the restaurant at 659 Vanderbilt Ave. had its last night of service on Sunday, but he did not know if owner and chef Anthony Theocaropoulos —who's worked under Michael White, Masaharu Morimoto, and Mario Batali — planned on reopening or renovating. A tipster tells Eater that a completely new restaurant may be in the works for the space."

  • That's a shame - I really liked this place.  FWIW, we were there for dinner on Friday night and the waiter told us that they were going to be closing for a few weeks "to do some renovations." Sounds like that is not true - I wonder if he was lying or if that's what he was really told.   
  • edited February 2016
    An expensive meat-heavy restaurant goes out of business. I wish I could find the sympathy.
  • edited February 2016
    That's a shame, always sad to have less options in the area but I can't say I'm surprised.  I had a couple of good meals there right when they opened, but my few more recent experiences took it off my list.  I feel like they couldn't figure out what they wanted to be or what the neighborhood was interested in.  They ditched the interesting wine program and slightly more casual vibe that they opened with because it seemed like they were chasing something more upscale and hip.  But this is an area where you succeed by being a neighborhood restaurant and the whole vibe was just not welcoming at all.  I will miss those lamb buns though.
  • That's a shame - I really liked this place.
    So did I.  Luckily, we got to go there several times in the last year.  I'm going to miss it.  I hope that something new, and just as good, opens in the space.
  • edited March 2016

    I only went to this place once, because I went during the summer and they had no air conditioning.

    It didn't seem to be broken, it seem to not be installed.    ...which was odd in light of how well decorated the place appeared.

    I hope whatever entity comes into this space makes an investment in AC...

This discussion has been closed.