Few fruits embody summer like a juice-laden peach on a sweltering city day. And so it was the pursuit of cobbler that led me to Peaches in the small pocket of gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant, or Stuy Heights as locals call it. But if refined comfort fare like crab cake over spicy peach salsa isn’t enough to inspire a jaunt into Brooklyn, maybe tender pulled pork drizzled with BBQ sauce and a perfectly chilled sweet-and-savory watermelon salad will be.
Shrimp po’ boys, smoked chicken with sausage gumbo, and other Southern staples share space on the menu with baby back ribs from sister restaurant Smoke Joint, a popular BBQ spot in Fort Greene. To complement the flavorful dishes, they recommend the Brownstone Punch, which looks like sunrise in a glass thanks to layers of rum, coconut, pineapple, orange and cranberry juices topped with champagne. Also try the fruity bourbons that are infused in-house, and which play tastefully in a variety of cocktails.
In spite of downturns in dining out elsewhere, co-owner Craig Samuel says “[Peaches] has actually gotten busier since we opened a year ago.” Take a glance at the affordable tabs on the down-home classics with upscale aspirations (like creamy grits with shrimp in a mushroom and white wine sauce) and it’s obvious why diners queue up for Sunday brunch and amble in on a rainy Tuesday night to unwind at the bar, Usher’s Confessions bouncing between the bright yellow walls.
While outer borough restaurants are usually described as either “neighborhood joint” or “dining destination,” Peaches exemplifies both with its easy vibe and approachable menu that invokes local pride with mass appeal. For sure, this Southern bistro presents a more upscale dining affair than what the area—better known for its low-income housing than the gorgeous brownstones along Stuyvesant Avenue— is used to.
But Peaches gives reason to venture outside your culinary comfort zone to scrape the inside of your bowl for the last satisfying spoonful of cheesy grits. Considering the fierce pour in your wine glass and eight hour-smoked pulled pork, you’ll wonder whether you actually have room left for peach cobbler. But you’ll try anyway.
How to get there: Take the A or C train to Utica Avenue, walk north along Stuyvesant Avenue and make a left on MacDonough Street. Peaches is located on the corner of Lewis and MacDonough. (Peaches, 393 Lewis Ave, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, 718.942.4162, peachesbrooklyn.com/Smoke Joint, 87 South Elliott Place, 718.797.1011, thesmokejoint.com)