License to Ill: Food Network’s Justin Warner on the Best of Bed-Stuy

Videos by Jill Selsman and Alexei Kaleina

Illustration by Anne Foley

Justin’s Bed-Stuy (Illustration: Anne Foley)

When Food Network Star winner Justin Warner isn’t blazing trails across the country in search of Rebel Eats, he’s the de facto mayor of Bed-Stuy, entertaining the masses with  irreverent, delicious food at his own Do or Dine, and tracking down the best there is to eat in the area. We caught up with him on the streets of his own neighborhood to eat our way through Justin Warner’s Bed-Stuy.

1. Do or Dine
Justin tells us about his own restaurant, Do or Dine, where the fish arrive with roe-hawks, and the menu changes “when we’re bored.” How does he decide what to cook? “This is not an easy neighborhood; I don’t want to make easy food.” explains the chef.

2. Dough
Don’t come here for plain glaze. The pastry wizards behind Dough frost their giant, fluffy rounds with combinations like Strawberry-Jalapeño, Hibiscus and Passion Fruit with Cocoa Nibs.

3. Umi Nom
Justin takes a crack at boiled fertilized duck eggs (called balut), with Umi Nom Chef King Phojanakong. “King is the king of Filipino and Thai cuisine here in Bed-Stuy,” he says.

4. Brooklyn Kolache
What exactly is a kolache? Watch and find out. As Justin says of the filled Czech pastries, “Once you have it, you’re like ‘I don’t want a bacon, egg and cheese. I want a kolache.’”

5. A&A Bake and Doubles
Justin hops behind the counter of this shoebox-sized Trinidadian breakfast hot spot to serve hungry commuters fry bread and chickpea sandwiches.

6. David’s Brisket House
Never one to end on a whimper, Justin pushes the limits of his appetite — and his forearm strength — finishing the tour with this legendary deli’s Three the Hard Way, a towering triumph of brisket, corned beef and pastrami piled between two slices of rye.

For more of Justin’s favorite spots, check out this round-up on Serious Eats.

What do you think of Justin’s Bed-Stuy hit list? We want to hear your comments on favorites, too.