Source: Eater NY

Has anyone else seen Urban Spoon’s list of “The Best American Restaurants in Sheepshead Bay?” The restaurants are, in order:

  1. Brennan & Carr
  2. Paradise Garden
  3. T.G.I. Friday’s
  4. Buckley’s
  5. Cherry Hill Gourmet
  6. Applebee’s
  7. Restaurant Sabor Latino
  8. McDonald’s
  9. McDonald’s

Anyone else find it to be just a trifle… off?

The first time I saw the list, I inadvertently glossed over the word “American,” and just read it as “The Best Restaurants In Sheepshead Bay.” I don’t know why. You know how that sometimes happens though, right? Still, going through the list, my first reaction was a simple, understated, “WTF?” I then showed it to our venerable publisher, who asked me why I found it so odd, and then, magically, the word “American” appeared.

Upon realizing that the criteria was somewhat different from the first time I had viewed the list, my thoughts reverted to yesterday’s post about L Magazine, in which I had listed a handful of Sheepshead Bay’s fine dining and food institutions. We do agree that Brennan & Carr, Roll-n-Roaster, Randazzo’s, Chicken Masters, Jordan’s Lobster Dock, Clemente’s, and Wheeler’s have some of the finest “American” food available in the Bay, yes?

If yes, then WHY is Brennan & Carr the only “American” restaurant on Urban Spoon’s list?

I’ve never been to Paradise Gardens, so on that I cannot comment, although its website describes it as “a Russian restaurant,” and Buckley’s is a neighborhood institution and my old job used to hold the occasional holiday party there, so I have no issue with Buckley’s either. But… McDonald’s? Twice, no less? Come on. Which one? The five star bastion of fine dining on Nostrand between V & W, or the palatial charcuterie on Sheepshead Bay Road?

I can’t really knock TGI Fridays or Applebees either. I haven’t eaten in either of those places but once in my life, and barely remember the experience. In fact, I could barely tell the two places apart. Some days, when I ride my bike along Emmons, I’m still half expecting to see The Sizzler where Applebees is now, but I digress.

Now, Cherry Hill Gourmet Market. I shopped there once. Which is kind of the point. It’s a supermarket, no? Where one goes food shopping, not sits down to eat, right? Maybe they have a hidden café, which I could have managed to overlook. I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt here.

What did perplex me the most was the inclusion of Restaurant Sabor Latino. Now, Robert Fernandez of “The Bite” had high praise for the restaurant’s Latin American fare — even noting that their “hearty, bone-warming stew” reminded him of “the stews of mi abuelita” — but at this point we should be hearing a screeching record come to a complete eardrum-piercing halt.

No wonder we get no respect. Some nice, unassuming family from Dubuque, Iowa, or Butte, Montana, might wish to visit Sheepshead Bay one of these days, and the parents — traveling with their iPad — will look up some good “American restaurants” to eat at in the area… and this is what they will find: McDonald’s, McDonald’s, a bunch of generic franchise restaurants, an exotic supermarket specializing in imported Eastern European fare, a Russian restaurant, a Latin American restaurant… and Brennan & Carr.

Methinks Urban Spoon is messing with our heads with some April Fool’s in September.

If you had to make your own list, what would your top 10 “American restaurants” in Sheepshead Bay be?

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  • Superhero

    Paradise should be #1. Because as you know Russians are #1

    • Knickzmetz

      Get a grip Superhero; this is AMERICA, where AMERICANS are number 1.

      You want to be number 1?

      I suggest you travel back to your Mother Land!

    • Cabbie

      I think they’re #2!

      only kidding – couldn’t resist!

    • Cabbie

      I think they’re #2!

      only kidding – couldn’t resist!

  • Pissed off

    P.S – Erica your Russian and you never been to Paradise? What is wrong with you?

    • http://ericasphotos.tumblr.com/ ES

      My great-grandparents on my mother’s side came to the USA, by way of Dubuque, from Minsk prior to the Bolsheviks coming to power so, yes, while I can claim Russian ancestry, my grandparents and my parents were all born in the United States. My Brooklyn roots date back to at least the 1920s and ’30s.

      • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

        Paradise is not only for Russians, it’s for devoted Catholics and occasional Newborn Christian. The rest can enjoy 9 circles of Hell.

        Blessed be.

        • nolastname

          Oh well, 9 is a good #. Amen.

  • Allen

    So Mcdonalds, TGIF and Applebees is on that this but not Roll n Roaster?

    • Georgia

      I agree Roll n Roaster is missing 

  • Anonymous

    What ever the list is, El Greco should be at the bottom of it.

  • Anonymous

    That’s embarassing.
    I’m surprised they didn’t list peanut butter and jelly at my house.

    • http://ericasphotos.tumblr.com/ ES

      Thank you for the much-needed, elusive laugh I’ve been in search of for the past couple of weeks.

  • Asads

    They just took 10 random places and put them up

  • EDouble

    Yeah, I’m not even sure how Roll n Roaster and Randazzo’s is not on this list.  TGI Friday’s a national chain and not even that good, and shouldn’t even be considered on this list. Where does Urban Spoon gather this information from? it must be from the Pro J’s on Nostrand to include Che Mickey D’s…Twice no less!!!

  • geneee

    is this a joke?! lollllllll!

  • http://twitter.com/NickySatch Nicholas Satchell

    I can imagine the conversation when putting together this list.

    Jerkoff #1: ‘Damn, I’m two short of a perfect 10.”
    Jerkoff #2: “Isn’t there a McDonald’s in Sheepshead Bay?”
    Jerkoff #1: “You’re right! Good one! Now what about the last one?”
    Jerkoff #2: “I think there’s another McDonald’s out there too!”
    Jerkoff #1: “You’re not sure? Well have you actually been to Sheepshead Bay?”
    Jerkoff #2: “No, Have You?”
    Jerkoff #1: “Good Point. McDonald’s it is!”
    Jerkoff #2: “Hey wait a second…there’s only 9…”
    Jerkoff #1: “Isn’t there a Burger King out there as well?”
    Jerkoff #2: “Let’s just keep it at 9!” 

    ;)

  • Nyckat

    Cherry Hill serves a fair meal upstairs, and outside on nice days. Good prices too. Wouldn’t call it American really. Wheelers- come on they- should be on the list way over TGI and Applebees! Jordans and Clementes also need to be on the list. And for the sake of closeness what about Nathans? Gee two Micky D’s and no Subway? What gives?

  • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

    This list appears to be an aggregate of popular/reviewed/discussed restaurants in the area based on urbanspoon. I’m pretty positive this list wasn’t written by a person and you’re seriously writing an article and complaining about something a computer generated.

    • http://ericasphotos.tumblr.com/ ES

      What? And you read the whole thing? I am so sorry. Also, the three minutes of your life you devoted to reading this terrible fluff piece is non-refundable. Company policy. I hope you’re OK with that.

      • nolastname

        Yes but if 10 people waste 3 minutes each thats a lot of nonrefundable wasted time. No sarcasm there.
        Good for you Lost…speak your mind.

      • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

        It’s not so much the wasted time in reading it, it’s the disappointment that the article as a whole reads as simply a gut reaction, complaining about what you saw with no attempt to check out the background reasons for such a screwy-looking list in the first place. It seems like you didn’t even bother to go to the site itself to see how the listings individually function before getting worked up about it, or tried to contact the admins to find out firsthand how the lists are compiled.

        You may have done so in reality, but it doesn’t read that way. That’s the point, and no reason to snap at Lost for making it.

    • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

      This. I went into more detail about how the cuisine types are chosen in my own comment, but I do agree it’s silly to get worked up over an automated list from a user-run site.

  • alex

    Ned, tsk tsk, you have to go to these restaurants if you are a true Sheepshead Bay resident!

  • The Truth

    umm this place sucked.Point blank 

  • Ct

    Urban spoon is retarded. And to add, the writers for that site are far from “urban”… more like suburban.

  • BigBrother

    The last time you dined in a TGI Friday’s, I believe it was several years ago, we had such amazingly bad service that you got up and complained to the manager and were waiting in the bar drinking alcohol with my ID.  I say my ID because I believe if I’m not mistaken you were 17 or 18 and in no way of age to be drinking.  Just a reminder.  Oh yeah the alcohol was free too.

  • BigBrother

    Those Mc Donalds will be gone soon, when the fast food wars start…EVERYTHING WILL BE TACO BELL!!!

  • nolastname

    Brennan and Carr for the civil war pics alone.
    I guess it is true they can not change the appearance of the place. 
    I used to mow Ms. Carr’s lawn in the 60′s. What a family history.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UHINMM2FK3AKR5RYWVCSZ4VWXQ Boris P

    WHERES ROLL N ROASTER!?

    • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

      Here: http://www.urbanspoon.com/n/3/256/restaurant/New-York/Sheepshead-Bay/

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    Apparently this list fails on all counts. It is not an article, It is merely a listing based upon site user ratings. If it shows anything at all, it is proof that the Internet has now reached all corners of society; why else would TWO McDonald’s restaurants (and I choke at that combination of words) appear on their list. But to be fair, for many young people McDonald’s is the zenith of dining satisfaction. Perhaps some older ones feel similarly. There are people who enjoy the simple, and predictable.

  • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

    I’ll skip McDonald’s… spent enough time at the one on Bay Road back in my day as a manager there in the “hey days” when it was a good, bustling venue… not the empty shell it is now.

    • Georgia

      I agree it’s the help they are half asleep. They keep saying what to the order half the time the order is wrong. That place is a waste 7 it is not as clean as it used to be. in its hey day it was worth wild to stop in and grab a fast bite. Employees were great with there customers. You don’t even get a smile now and they look annoyed. 

  • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

    I think the main problem is that it’s a user-run review site. It works the way Yelp does, and users are the ones who submit the initial restaurant listings to be critiqued. That means whoever submits an original listing is responsible for choosing from a dropdown menu what “cuisine” that venue has. Others can edit the listings (if you click on any restaurant in the Urban Spoon list and hit the “Edit Restaurant” link, you’ll see you have the ability to remove and change things, including the cuisine type), but if enough people figure the description is “close enough”, nobody will bother to change it.

    That means Urban Spoon itself has no say on whether a place is listed properly as “American” or otherwise. It’s majority rules, and as we all know, the majority can be very uninformed and wrong. For the “Best” list, Urban Spoon probably just did a database-wide search for “American” and blindly ranked what had the most stars in a given area.

    Another problem is the way their listing submissions are worded. If you look at the Edit Restaurant page for Paradise, for instance, and scroll down to the part where you can choose cuisine type, look at what that heading says: “What type of food do they serve?” An uninformed person might figure “well hey, they have chicken wings, that’s kind of American,” (I don’t know if they actually serve chicken wings, I’m just using a random example) and choose that as one of the descriptors. In the actual listing itself, the website just lists the entire restaurant as those tags instead of specifying that they may only have a particular dish or two that falls into that style. Hence the confusion and misnomers when it comes to unchecked lists like this.

    • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

      Hey Ari, how about you write an article comparing Urban Spoon’s list with a list based on Yelp ratings for Sheepshead Bay. I’m sure Ned would love to post it.

      • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

        It’s a thought, but that seems like it would be more of a straight comparison of the websites in general. I’m not sure what purpose that would serve for Sheepshead Bites directly, other than just having the top Sheepshead Bay searches from both sites listed in a single place. If Ned is actually interested I’ll look into it, but honestly anybody can do that kind of research and presentation – it is just reporting statistics, after all.

      • JackieRN

        Well, just went to McDonald’s on Sheepshead Bay Rd. It’s closed. Anyone know what’s opening up there??