If you are looking for a fun place to grab some delicious American burgers, pizza, salads and grilled dishes with a cold microbrew flown over from New York, then you will enjoy Brooklyn Parlor.
We chose this place because of the microbrew which is still an up and coming idea here in Japan. So, we made an effort to try a few of the microbrew offerings and were impressed. The large, signature bottles run over $30 (¥3,400) which may seem pricey for 750ml, but it was actually quite special. The waiter came over with the bottle and treated us with the full service of opening it like a champage bottle and poured it out for us. There are two types of select brew- the lighter version we tried was a bit sweeter and fizzier than commercial brands of bottled lager beer, but had a great flavor to it.
For a lot less money, and to be honest just as much enjoyment, you can have a pint of their homebrew on draught. There is also another lighter micro-beer available in small, standard sized bottles.
On the bilingual dinner menu, there is a wide variety of American style offerings from their specialty burgers to pasta, pizza, salads, grilled meats and fish to a big selection of desserts. Every dish we tried was cooked perfectly and seasoned well. We started with the fresh mozerella and cherry tomato salad which was dressed with a refreshing balsamic vinegar and oil. The classic Cesaer salad had a heavier, flavor-filled dressing we also loved. For mains, we tried two varieties of grilled fish- salmon and Tai seabream. I preferred the seabream which had a perfectly crispy skin and was bursting with herbs and garlic flavors, but the salmon was also cooked well. For dessert, a Rhubarb tart and fresh American cherries and yoghurt ice-cream on a tart- both were delightful. The cocktail and dessert menus were impressively varied and actually larger than the list of main dishes.
On the lunch menu they have a smaller menu, but offer a range of reasonably priced lunches (1,000~2,000 yen per dish) of salads, pastas, burgers, panini sandwiches and rib-eye steak & fries.
The atmosphere on a Saturday night was lively as the place was full of young couples, mixed groups (perhaps a kompa group date) and chatty friends enjoying the food and drink together. It was impressive that we didn’t have to wait for a table, but if you have a group of 3 or more, it makes sense to book a table in advance. However, they do have ample seating around the bar if you need to wait a little while for a table. There were many beautifully prepared cocktails being enjoyed by the many young women around the bar. Frozen margheritas served in a beautifully tall glass seemed to be the drink of choice for women while the men were enjoying the microbrews.
The décor is minimalist with walls lined with bookshelves that I didn't really notice until some people occasionally walked up and chose a book from it- not just for show I guess. The added distraction may make this a perfect venue for a blind date or first day to cut the tension. It is also in the same building as the Wald multiplex movie theatre which makes BP a convenient venue for a classic dinner + a movie date night.
There is a separate smoking section, but no partition which put some of the non-smoking tables nearby in the exhale zone. This usually drives me crazy, but luckily the ventilation was good enough that it didn't ruin our meal.
To be honest, I was quite disappointed with the music. Brooklyn Parlor promotes itself as a Jazz restaurant-bar associated with the highly acclaimed "Blue Note" and other famous jazz haunts, but on the Saturday night we were there we heard nothing but middle-of-the-road 1980’s American soft rock. I guess this factor might widen the mainstream public appeal, but I say bring on the Jazz.