September 17

Review: Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant | Dalian, China

I have a confession to make.

I’m the person that willfully goes against the crowd. 🤷🏽‍♀️

When everyone is raving about a series on Netflix, I’ll watch it much later…like…a lot later.

So don’t be surprised when I tell you that I’ve lived in Dalian since January 2019 and had never been to Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant before.

Prior to the pandemic, my former colleagues would often go to Brooklyn for Trivia Night (yep…they have a night just for trivia games) and would rave about the Western food options.

Sadly, I never went with them to Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant, primarily because I didn’t see it as a need. But, friend, if I’m completely honest, I avoided going with them because I’m not good at trivia.

Like, at all. 

The Need for Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant

Well, it finally arrived. 

The day I would need Brooklyn. 

After returning to Dalian during the pandemic, I was met with the terrible news that all three of my favorite Western burger joints were no longer in business. 

I was crushed and frantically began my hunt for a new restaurant to call, “my go-to burger joint.

After asking for suggestions in a WeChat group for Dalian expats, I received a list of recommended restaurants to try that had good Western burgers.

Unsurprisingly, Brooklyn was the first recommendation made by several people so it was only fair that it be the first place to visit in my quest for my new burger home.

Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant at Night

Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant

Located in the Xigang District of Dalian, Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant is a favorite for locals and expats alike. As an American that’s familiar with Brooklyn cuisine, I wanted to see if I could find a burger that would actually resemble something that would be served in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn has eating areas upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs is where Trivia night is held and downstairs houses the bar. 

The decor, style, and atmosphere all scream, “Welcome to Brooklyn, Home of the Greats!

The Food

I craved juicy homemade beef patties covered in cheese with lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, and ketchup.

Since I knew that I would be ordering a burger with cheese, the menu options were easy for me to choose from for my entree, however, there were many enticing choices to choose from for an appetizer.

In my opinion, wings and burgers go together like peanut butter and jelly. You just gotta have ’em together! As I perused the Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant’s menu, those were the two items my eyes hunted for.


The appetizer

Tony, our waiter for the evening, eased my doubts about the wing sauce as he told me how popular the BBQ wings were. I ordered the 1/2 dozen (6) wings for 40RMB because I wanted to save room for the main course and dessert.

Accompanied by carrots, celery, and ranch, the wings had just the right amount of crispness to the skin, and BBQ sauce was perfect, not overbearing like most restaurants. 

These are the wings and yes, I took this photo while they were still fresh and hot!

My colleague and I shared the chips & salsa and an order of wings
My colleague and I shared the chips & salsa and an order of wings

The chips and salsa were 35 RMB and came with different kinds of spicy salsa. I personally asked for mild but what Tony brought to us was all hot. Still tasty, but no mild sauce was available.

While waiting for the main course, I noticed familiar old-school tunes playing in the background. Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant actually played music by popular African American artists in their rotation.

As I nodded my head to the beats, closed my eyes, and smiled, for just a moment, I felt like I was back in the States.

Main course: Brooklyn Cheeseburger (85RMB)

Made from in-house from imported beef, served on a homemade sesame bun and with a side of fries, my burger consisted of a double patty, lettuce, tomato, house pickles, cheddar cheese, and Brooklyn’s secret sauce.

I didn’t realize until after writing this review that I could have added bacon and mushroom to the burger for an additional 10RMB each but I’ll be sure to add it next time!

Just look at this double-decker masterpiece!

I enjoyed the juicy beef patties squishing a thick slice of cheddar cheese together. 

This burger was worth my time!

My colleague ordered the Brooklyn Burger Combo (75RMB). I’m not a fan of omitting cheese from anything in life but I must admit, this cheese-less burger still looks tasty, right? 🤤

After we finished our meals and chatted for a while, it was time to order dessert. 

The Dessert

Now, friend, another thing that you may not know about me (There’s just so much to me, right? 😂), I. LOVE. CHOCOLATE.

Please let me say it again so you can understand my heartfelt sentiment.

I.

LOVE.

CHOCOLATE.

With that said, I haven’t had a good warm, gooey, chocolatey brownie since I was back in the States so when I saw Brownie Sundae (40RMB) on the menu, there was no question as to which dessert item I would choose.

Unfortunately, the brownie part of the sundae didn’t live up to my expectations.  Let me admit, my personal opinion is that the perfect brownie has a warm, gooey center surrounded by crispy (not burnt) edges.  

But the ice cream and drizzle of chocolate sauce made up for it. 

Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant has a brownie sundae for 40RMB
Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant Brownie Sundae (40RMB)

Now, friend, this is how I need my brownies to be, especially if they’re homemade.  Also, the brownie could have been a bit sweeter. 

Conversely, this style of brownie may be perfect for you so be sure to try it for yourself. 😉


The Atmosphere

As previously mentioned, I noticed familiar old-school tunes mixed in with other pop-culture genres playing in the background. It was satisfying to hear music by popular African American artists from back in the day in their rotation.

It definitely served a version of Brooklyn that I wouldn’t expect in Dalian – maybe in more international cities like Shanghai or even Beijing, but definitely not Dalian.

And that was dope. 🔥

The People

Although Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant was empty when my colleague and I arrived (I strategically plan my visits so I can capture footage uninterrupted 😉 ), Tony and the rest of the staff were very accommodating and courteous with us.

I had several questions that Tony adequately answered which left me satisfied.

Conclusion

Is the Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant “Burger-certifiable???”

It most certainly is.

As I ate my meal and enjoyed the company of my colleague, I mentally kicked myself in the tush for not having visited Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant in 2019. 

After having had some of the best BBQ wings in town and whole-heartedly enjoying the Brooklyn Cheeseburger, I won’t make that mistake again.

If you live in Dalian and you’ve yet to visit this place, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE, and hurry over to the Xigang area for an authentic Western burger experience at Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant. 😋

I’d like to thank the Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant staff for their time and for attending to my needs during my visit. I will most certainly return to try the pizza next as that may be the next Western fave that I search for in this city that I call, “Home.”

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