Three Excellent Reasons to Dine in Bushwick Right Now

Lately I’ve found myself in Bushwick … a lot. The last time I was in the neighborhood this much I was a 22-year-old sharing a railroad apartment on Bushwick Avenue — I may or may not have gotten the idea from “Girls” — and hosting bar trivia at Pine Box Rock Shop once a month.

Bushwick has both changed a ton and not at all. You can still get some of the city’s best tacos in the neighborhood (Taqueria El Fogon and Nene’s Deli Taqueria forever). It’s still dominated by industrial buildings, warehouses-turned-lofts and the aboveground M train line. And Pine Box just celebrated its 13th year in business.

What has changed (aside from the rent) is the types of restaurants you can find there: People used to be drawn to the area by the soft glow of hype-worthy dining in an unexpected corner of the city — read: Roberta’s, Ops, a short-lived second location of Mission Chinese, the late, great Faro. But these days I’m far more interested in the restaurant offerings that are worth visiting on their own merits.

This poached shrimp dish at Maloya shows off vanilla’s savory side.Credit…Randy Smith for The New York Times

Skip the flight to the Indian Ocean

Did you know that you can enjoy the cuisine of Réunion, a tiny French island just off the coast of Madagascar, in Bushwick? It’s the specialty at Maloya, open since December on a busy stretch of Flushing Avenue.

You may ask yourself: What goes into “réunionnais” cuisine? For one, vanilla. (I mean, Madagascar, the world’s top producer of the spice, is right there.) At Maloya, it appears in a shallow bowl of poached shrimp aswim in crème fraîche that does a fantastic job of showing off vanilla’s savory side.

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