The French are coming, the French are coming! Well, really, they are already here. Indeed the Columbia Street Waterfront District and Carroll Gardens have an unusually large French presence. Big enough for PS 58, on Carroll and Smith streets, to have started a bilingual kindergarten in September 2007. You can also find several delicious restaurants offering French, or French inspired, cuisine, such as Sugarlounge, Petite Crevette, Korhogo 126, Bar Tabac, Provence en Boîte, Patois, and more. The Pitstop, however, took the invasion one step further by bringing to Brooklyn the official sport of Southern France: Pétanque.
Here's a little history for those who don't know about this century-old sport. It was invented in 1910 in La Ciotat, Provence, near Marseilles. It is a game of "boules", the goal being to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called "cochonnet" (literally "piglet") or jack, while standing with your feet together (which is where the name comes from, les ped tanco in Provencal dialect literally means "feet together").
According to sources, it is played by 17 million people in France. Pétanque is also taken very seriously - so much so that conflicts created by the game have been known to break up friendships, families and sometimes whole villages for generations.
The Pitstop is a Formula One themed Mediterranean French Bistro, with a large backyard featuring 4 Petanque courts, outdoor seating, and toys for kids. The food is affordable, simple and delicious. I would especially recommend the $9.95 brunch on the weekend. Laurent, the chef-owner, started the Brooklyn Pétanque League and the season kicked off last week. The next tournament is Saturday May 31, at 11:30am sharp. You can still sign up, no previous experience required.
Check out www.brooklynpetanque.org for more information.
127 Columbia Street, Brooklyn 11231
718 875 4664
Opened 7 days
Lunch 11 to 4
Dinner 5 to 10 (to 11pm Fri-Sat)
Weekend Brunch 11 to 4