For a place called Brooklyn Coffee Shop, there is quite an extensive food menu at this new Mills 50 spot.
Also, for a place named after a New York borough, there's a lot of South American influences. Seattle, too. Also Miami.
But that's all explained, at least partially, on the business's website. Owners Daniel and Patricia Carvalho lived in Seattle and New York but moved to Brazil, where, in 2010, they opened the first Brooklyn Coffee Shop as a paean to Seattle's favorite liquid and Brooklyn's neighborhood bistros. That location in Curitiba and a second one there continue, though its Facebook page makes a lot of references to Orlando.
The Orlando BCS takes the space most recently occupied by Restaurant Ash, which was also the original Funky Monkey Wine Co. So there's a kitchen to be put to use.
They fire it up in the morning for breakfast fare such as Shakshuka, house-made doughnuts and a variety of dishes with eggs, including empanadas.
It continues through lunch with the morning menu available plus a variety of salads, sandwiches and other empanadas.
It's clear that empanadas are a specialty, so I had the Pastel de Carne when I stopped in for a late lunch. It was filled with lots of shredded brisket, seasoned with garlic, onions and chili spicing. The turnover-like device had a wonderfully flaky crust, at least on the top. When I picked it up I found the bottom part quite moist. This apparently was from the fatty brisket, so it just added flavor. Lots and lots of flavor. It was even better when dipped in the mildly spicy chimichurri.
I also had the Bauru sandwich. Bauru is a traditional Brazilian sandwich that is usually made with roast beef and melted cheese, typically mozzarella. For some reason -- perhaps in an attempt to Brooklynize it? -- here it is made with Canadian bacon and swiss cheese, unmelted, along with tomato and sliced pickles. What makes this odder is that the restaurant's website says this sandwich is made with brisket. And since we know that brisket is available for the making of empanadas, why Canadian bacon?
Whatever. It was a very good sandwich, with plenty of meat, and a buttery taste in the toasted bread. I don't think it quite warranted the $8 fee, especially served solo. (The $3.50 charge for the empanada was fair.)
And then there's the coffee. It's a bit strange that a place named Brooklyn would specify Americano as a choice. I'd think that would be the default. The beans are from Panther Coffee in Miami. This would have been a great chance to bring in the Seattle connection, or even the South American angle.
My $2.50 cup of Americano, served in a Christmas themed mug, was only so-so.
Little seems to have been done with the interior other than moving some furniture around. To wit, a hightop communal table that was near the front window is now in the back of the restaurant. The Edison lights that hung low over the table remain, below head level. Screws and hangers where photos and other accouterments of the previous occupant used to be are still in the walls. Some sprucing up may be in order.
Brooklyn Coffee Shop is at 912 N. Mills Ave., Orlando. It is open for breakfast and lunch daily, with dinner hours to be announced soon. A brunch menu is served on Saturday and Sunday. The phone number is 407-704-1757