Wow!! June 22nd is a pretty awesome day for national food holidays. First you get your sweet fix with National Chocolate Eclair Day, and then it’s a salty, savory, deep-fried love fest with National Onion Ring Day. Everyone who’s eaten fast food knows about the onion ring : onions, sliced into their natural rings, are breaded and deep-fried to form a crunchy, tasty crust, served at fast food locations worldwide. Although I have a deep affection towards French Fries, I have to say that onion rings are a great substitute when you’re down at Nathan’s or Roll N Roaster in my neck of the woods and you’re looking for a hefty side to stand up to a super-sized hamburger. And even though the onion frequently slips out of its breading when you first take a bite, I find them a welcome treat when I’m looking for something tasty, greasy, and inexpensive to enjoy. Plus, onions are a (kind of) vegetable! So it’s marginally healthy! Right? 😉
Any old fry joint can whip you up a batch of decent onion rings in the city (and chain onion rings are not acceptable–they don’t even use real onion strips!), but if you want to try something new and interesting, head to the neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn. This enclave of old dock buildings and residences is quickly becoming a food oasis in an area almost untouched by mass transportation. (If you don’t count the free Ikea shuttles.) Here, you’ll find the bar and restaurant The Good Fork, and boy, is it good. Tasty, tried-and-true comfort foods are all the rage here, from roasted brussels sprouts and dumplings to pecan pie and, yes, onion rings. They make their onion rings differently here, forgoing the regular buttermilk batter and bread crumbs and using tempura batter instead, making these onion rings bigger, fluffier, and tastier too. You can buy them as a side dish for a whole table to share, or order them along with the Good Fork’s hamburger–my favorite combination!
The Good Fork
391 Van Brunt St (between Coffey St & Van Dyke St), Red Hook
“Brooklyn’s best onion rings (unless someone tells me otherwise) are the tempura-battered beauties found in Red Hook at the Good Fork. These babies come with the Good Fork’s excellent hamburger, but they make a perfect side dish for just about anything else on the menu here.”–Serious Eats
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Their menu changes seasonally, and there are usually specials. A constant is my favorite entree, the Korean steak and eggs, where the skirt steak has an incredible marinade and is immensely tender and flavorful. Other highlights include the steamed mussels, burger, shrimp-scallion pancakes, potato-parsnip mash, dumplings, and onion rings. The latter are the best I’ve ever had, big onion rings married to a tempura batter shell that’s crisp, light, and adheres to the rings.”–Valery C.
“The side of onion rings was made with tempura flour, which made it a lot softer and milder than how it is usually made in most other restaurants. It was an interesting way of making onion rings which I had never tried before, and they were also very tasty.”–Radford T.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!