Normally, when I find a place that isn’t good, I don’t write about it. It saddens me, and I’m not here to spread sorrow. I’ve never been much of a critic, because I just love to eat. There is enough great food in New York for a lifetime of Gothamist posts.


However, my girlfriend and I recently happened upon a restaurant that was so bad I found it personally insulting. Like a super hero who stayed up all night dying his underwear, I felt it was my responsibility to warn the city. It is called Hope and Anchor, but the Red Hook locals, I found out only later, have dubbed it Hopeless and Rancor.

I can appreciate grumpy restaurant workers, but only when the ‘tude is accompanied by character and at least a hint of humor (even if that humor comes at my expense). Regrettably, the girl who took our to-go order seemed to hate herself almost as much as she hated me, and I couldn’t find one redeeming quality in her rude demeanor. I asked if it would be alright to take our glasses of water outside to drink on the sunny bench while we waited. Her response was to stare at me blankly until it was uncomfortable and then mutter, “Yeah, don’t leave the glass out there though.” I’m not sensitive, but that bothered me.


We took our food to the pier at the end of Coffey Street, worried it wouldn’t be hot because it sat on the bar for a while as we waited outside debating whether the girl would let us know when it was ready (she did not, even though she had no other customers, and we were within earshot). It turned out not to be a problem for my girlfriend, because her $9 barbeque chicken sandwich was served straight out of the refrigerator. But we were hungry, so we ate it under protest.


My roast beef sandwich was still warm, but temperature was the least of its problems. The meat was visibly tough, but it was flavorful. Unfortunately, when a flavor is unpleasant, “flavorful” is not a plus. And the open face aspect made the experience a revolting mess. Roast beef sandwiches are a proud Brooklyn tradition carried on dutifully just blocks away at Defonte’s, so Hope and Anchor had best either stop serving it or move to a borough where people don’t know from roast beef.

Hope and Anchor, 347 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn