THE BITE: I recently spent some time in the farthermost reaches of Sheepshead Bay, near the intersection of Avenue U and Nostrand Avenue. Many folks will argue that this neighborhood is not part of The Bay, but part of Marine Park. Sorry, folks, but I disagree. When it comes down to brass tacks, it doesn’t really matter to us here at Sheepshead Bites. We have always featured items about Sheepshead Bay and the neighborhoods that touch us. Call that area Sheepshead Bay, call it Marine Park (or as the new TD Bank on Nostrand and U likes to refer to it, Marine Park South) it really doesn’t matter, it’s still part of our ‘hood.
I had a chance to stop into Zeeeeee Bagels (2803 Avenue U – between East 28th Street and East 29th Street) for lunch. Now this little spot has seen more than its share of eateries in the last few years and I wondered how this latest incarnation was faring. I was pleased to find that Zeeeeee Bagels is fairing very well, thank you very much.
One of the things that caught my eye, was the naming of their sandwiches. They’ve come up with some interesting names for their wares. There’s the “Avenue U” (roast beef, fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers), the “Nostrand Avenue” (roast beef, ham, turkey, swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing), the “Grease Ball” (prosciutto, soppressata, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers) and the “Messy Beast” (Cajun roast beef, melted mozzarella, and Lugar toast bread, whatever “Lugar toasted bread” is). I could go on and on, but the sandwich that caught my eye was “The Gravesend” – a crispy chicken melt with cheddar and roasted peppers.
This is the first time I’ve encountered a sandwich named after Gravesend. It’s an interesting choice. While I know that Gravesend is one of the original six towns of Brooklyn, whenever I hear the name, I still associate it with a grave or some remote corner of a cemetery. I know I’d never put the name grave in a sandwich.
But, that’s the name that was chosen and that’s the name that attracted me to the sandwich. So I guess, from a marketing perspective it works. And you know what? As a sandwich it works pretty well, too.
Zeeeeee Bagels offers a choice of the traditional fried chicken cutlet, or the more healthy option of grilled chicken on the “Gravesend” and it’s available on a roll, bagel, white bread, whole wheat bread or rye bread for $5.95 (which includes your choice of a 16 oz. bottle of water or a 12 oz. can of soda) or on a traditional Italian bread or whole wheat hero, or panini for $1.00 more.
Biting into this sandwich, my first thought was about the roasted peppers. The peppers, and smattering of onions, stole the show. Tender, yet remaining slightly al-dente, the fresh taste and sweetness of the peppers and onions stood out in this hearty sandwich.
The hero was overstuffed with four marinated and grilled chicken cutlets, that remained moist and tender long after the sandwich was delivered into my hands. Hell, I took it back to the office and we photographed it before I even tasted it. This sandwich sat for a good 30 minutes before I could try it and the chicken remained moist and flavorful the whole time.
I was concerned that this sandwich would be dry, as it contained no condiments to boost the moisture, but it didn’t need the boost they usually provide. It also didn’t need the cheddar cheese. While the cheese did provide some salt, the “all-American” flavor of cheddar seemed a bit out of place here. Mozzarella or provolone would have been a more appropriate choice and would have been more in-tune with the Italian flavors of the peppers and marinated cutlets.
But, that’s a nit-picking. This was a mighty fine sandwich and with the free soda or water, it’s a bargain to boot.
Zeeeeee Bagels, 2803 Avenue U, between East 28th Street and East 29th Street), (347) 554-8700
The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.