By Ave Frances:
Peaches, a modern Southern restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (unfamiliarly known as Stuyvesant Heights as the website would tell it) has long been on my bucket list of black owned restaurants to visit. I also learned from the website that Peaches is only co-owned by a black man, which could explain the neighborhood description and some of the experiences mentioned in this review.
After a long Friday at work mixed with a beautiful summer day and an empty fridge, I decided to check Peaches out finally.
Before my experience at Peaches and before any thoughts of writing this review, I have heard great things about the restaurant.
Side Bar: I knew to expect a wonderful ambiance, an intimate space with attractive black and brown faces, major hipster vibes, and even a few hipsters… And that is exactly what I got. I also knew to expect a pricey menu. Not very surprising for many black-owned businesses in Brooklyn, and is usually always worth it.
I arrived at Peaches at 10 pm (I wasn’t lying about the long work day). Even though it was an hour before closing, the place was filled, but not PACKED. The main dining area is medium sized. What I perceived as an intimate space on a Friday night could easily become a cramped room on a Sunday afternoon.
It took about 5 minutes to seat my party of two, which was surprising because we were told to expect a 20-minute wait. One thumb up. We waited longer for our waitress to take our order than we did to be seated.
The entire wait staff at Peaches was overall very kind and professional. My waitress, in particular, was very neglectful. She basically took our order and dropped off the check. Our food was brought over by a young man. We were then served by what I like to think of as our real waiter, and the star of the show, a 2nd young man, who eventually listened to our complaints about the food. Some of which he actually agreed to.
But we aren’t there yet…
When I sat down and looked at the menu, there wasn’t much to see. The dinner menu has four starters, four salads, 14 entrees in 3 different categories, and nine sides. I wasn’t turned off by the small menu. A smaller menu should equal consistently delicious food, or so you would think.
I ordered the “Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes.” I substituted french fries for mashed potatoes and kept the regular coleslaw the entree is paired with. My date ordered the “Smoked Chicken and Sausage Gumbo” starter and two sides of sweet potato fries and collard greens.
Now, this is where the night is about to go left, but before we get there, I want you to keep something in mind. I EAT. I eat out; I eat in, I eat out some more. I know good food, and I know good service. As a black woman with a Southern family, I know Southern food. As a millennial, I completely understand the modern twist of Peaches.
Now let’s move on….
The collard greens. Those poor collard greens were not it. My date and I can be harsh critics, but even waiter #2 (the star of the show) confirmed that the collard greens were just not good. They were largely cut and tasted like they were just dipped in vinegar and hot sauce. They were not sweet at all, which is what I usually expect at a Southern restaurant.
The mashed potatoes were very disappointing, especially because I usually order mashed potatoes wherever I go. They don’t automatically come with gravy; I had to request it. The gravy did these mashed potatoes no justice. The potatoes were very bland. Unfortunately, waiter #2 never tasted the mashed potatoes so he couldn’t give any input.
The crab cakes just needed seasoning. Another bland dish. I blame gentrification. The crab cakes were literally just crab lumped up into a Jumbo ball… so I guess the name of the entree is very fitting.
My date was somewhat satisfied with the gumbo. It wasn't as thick as I personally like my gumbo to be. There was more rice in the gumbo than anything else. The gumbo also isn’t very spicy, which might be a turnoff for some. It wasn’t mouth watering, but compared to most of the meal the gumbo was a winner. The sweet potato fries were also average. My date prefers the fries at Smashburger.
I drove to Peaches, so I didn’t drink, which means I can’t review their cocktail and wine selections. There is a bar version of Peaches right next door, which also serves food. If I do go back, I will most likely head to the bar.
According to waiter #2, brunch at Peaches is prime time. They supposedly have a popular brunch menu. I’m not opposed to coming back for brunch if I decide to give Peaches a second chance.
I bet you're wondering why I would even want to give Peaches my time and money again. I’m wondering that as well. My expectations were so high based on reviews; I’m almost convinced that I just came on a bad night.
I might be indecisive about coming back, but I am positive that Peaches crab cakes and collard greens will never be in my future again. I will also definitely eat at home before attending the bar. It has to be hard to mess up a drink… right?
Food, service, and vibe considered. I rate Peaches 2.5 stars. I still recommend you head down to BedStuy and try the food for yourself. Hopefully, you're more impressed than I was.
Ave is a Brooklyn girl that enjoys Netflix and likes to eat.