Greenpoint Gazette

Beco, A Small Slice of Brazil

BY Austin Kilham

The original idea behind Beco, and the initial inspiration for owners Dan Giddings and Andrew Liebhafsky, was to make it a like a boteco, a bar-like establishment common throughout Brazil. In Brazilian boteco is usually a small establishment stripped down to its bare essentials: simple décor, drinks and snacks. In other words, this restaurant does not present a loud and flashy Brazil, think less Carnival, more cool neighborhood hang out spot.
At Beco, it is the cocktail that is really on display. The food is really meant as an accompaniment, or a light snack as in a tapas bar. There is nothing that is really of entrée proportions. Which would be beside the point of a boteco.
To start off the drinks menu, there is the Brazilian cocktail must-have, the Caipirinha, $8. There are four kinds to choose from, which swap out which muddled fruit is included. Choose from classic lime, or pineapple-mint, strawberry-basil, or passion fruit. All are mixed with sugar, and of course cachaça, liquor made from fermented sugar cane, and the most popular distilled alcohol in Brazil.
But if you are all caipirinha-ed out, after their recent popularity a couple years ago, there are a number of other excellent cocktails to choose from. There is the Batido de Coco made with coconut mill, condensed mill a cachaça, topped with fresh shaved coconut, $8. Or try the kiwi-Sakerinha, $8 or the surprisingly good whiskey and coconut water, $8.
With all of these drinks to make you heady, you can stay grounded and compliment them with selections from the food menu.
First there is the staple of the boteco, the Pao de Queijo. These small, cheesy rolls are popular all over South America, and in Brazil, particularly in the state of Minas Gerais. They are made of either cassava or corn flour and have a moist and chewy inside. They are made to order, $4.
For another appetizer, try the Berinjela, a rustic eggplant dip served with pita, $4.
To move slightly in the direction of entrée, there are a number of sandwiches on the menu, including the Bauru ($9) made with filet mignon, queijo prato, and tomato served on a baguette, a delicious version of a steak and cheese sandwich. Or go for the Choripan ($6), a simpler sandwich made with Argentine Chorizo on a Portuguese style roll.
With the right food and drinks this place definitely has the makings of a perfect hangout.
Also, on the weekend you can do your hanging out during brunch; in which case, go all out with the Bife a Cavalo, literally “steak on horseback”, the Brazilian version of steak and eggs. Or omelettes and granola if you prefer.
Beco is located at 45 Richardson St. between Union Ave. and Lorimer St.

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Greenpoint Gazette
597 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
phone: 718-389-6067

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