Bushwick's popping open new bars and restaurants faster than you can say "handcrafted jorts." But if you can't get an outdoor table at Forrest Point, you might want to swing by Koda, a little "Asian fusion"/American restaurant that quietly opened off the Morgan L stop this summer.
This slim little spot, run by Verlaine's Cliff Williams and Mario Montanez, boasts a handful of candlelit tables and an intimate bar, offset by a Bushwick-appropriate slice of graffiti art on a back wall. The real charmer here, though, is Koda's sweet little backyard, where you can drink and dine al fresco under some standard twinkling Christmas lights.
We were invited to Koda as guests, and though we weren't wowed by all the dishes, the appetizer selection, burgers, backyard and cheap drinks are enough to warrant return visits. The chicken wings ($8) stand out from the pack—they come doused in your choice of spicy sauce or flecked with piquant ginger, and one serving of each will suffice as a full meal if you feel like skipping the mains. They've also got fresh-tasting Vietnamese-style "spring" (really "summer") rolls stuffed with shrimp, chicken and vegetables and wrapped in rice paper ($8) if you're looking for something a little less deep-fried.
When it comes to main courses, you may want to skip the Asian portion of the menu entirely, although the miso noodle portion of the Pork with Miso Noodles dish ($12) is quite tasty. The real highlights here, though, are the more standard bar fare options. The fish and chips ($11) comes with plump, fried cod and a heaping pile of french fries; the chicken po' boy sandwich ($10) wins thanks to the caramelized onions that line thick hunks of bread and meat. And the Koda burger ($8) is perfectly seasoned, served rare and softened with melted cheddar cheese. They've also got a brunch menu, with basic egg dishes, pancakes and other goodies running $7-$11.
But while the food may get you into Koda, it's the (thankfully cheap) drinks that'll keep you there. They've got a tamarind martini that runs only $7, and South Korean Hite beer runs 2 for $5 daily. Plus, happy hour's a delightfully extended 5 to 10 p.m., boasting $5 martinis, 2 for $5 Yeunglings and other cheap deals—you can even score wings and a beer for just $10. Keep those $12 cocktails in Williamsburg, please.
Koda is located at 985 Flushing Ave between Forrest Street and Central Ave in disputed East Williamsburg/Bushwick, Brooklyn territory (347-223-4026, kodabrooklyn.com).