Welcome back to The Bite, 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.

It was one of those weeks, followed by one of those weekends, topped off with the beginning of one of those weeks. As I trudged along the Sheepshead Bay waterfront, as the sun baked my bald head, a song played in my addled brain. It teased me…

Help me, help me, help me, sail away,
Well, give me two good reasons why I ougtha stay,

This wasn’t looking good. Two reasons? I needed two? One wasn’t enough?

So, feeling beaten, I sat down for lunch and much to my surprise, I found “two good reasons, why I ougtha stay.” Ladies and germs, for the first time ever on The Bite, we take on two dishes. Masal Cafe & Lounge’s (1901 Emmons Avenue) Kumpir and Masal Special Toast.

Yes, history is being made, keep reading.

Source: REUTERS / Brendan McDermid for Ibtimes.com

I, as I am sure most of you are, am emotionally depleted from the mention of Congressman Anthony Weiner’s name, a name that I’ve known of, under more normal, pre-Internet circumstances, since I was in high school. The steady assault of “Weiner” jokes for the past two weeks (it feels like two years!) are old and tired, and a personal adversity is nothing to laugh at. But news is news, and even the not-so-fun stuff’s got to be reported upon… I guess.

So what are you waiting for? Read our report already!

… and call it macaroni. Photo by Natalya Serebrennikova.

And now a message from the Department of Education’s Gifted and Talented school programs:

G&T Offer Letters
Elementary school G&T offer letters will be mailed by Friday, June 17 to all families who applied through the G&T application process. If you applied online, you also will receive an email with information about how to access your child’s offer letter online.

G&T Pre-Registration
The pre-registration period is from Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24. When you pre-register, please bring your G&T admissions letter, proof of residence (two documents) and your child’s proof of birth and immunization records. If your child is new to New York City public schools, then he or she must be present for pre-registration.

For more information about elementary school G&T, visit the Gifted and Talented page. If you have questions about the admissions process, please email ES_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

Yelena Makhnin

The following Op-Ed is written by Yelena Makhnin, executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, representing businesses on and around Brighton Beach. Makhnin wrote this piece after the fatal shooting on the boardwalk on Thursday, June 9. She believes that the NYPD leadership should have been more responsive to local safety concerns about beach overcrowding on hot holidays, providing the 60th Precinct with appropriate personnel. She also said that the reverberations around sensational shooting like this can create a false perception of the neighborhood, devastating local businesses long-term.

Each headline screams about the shooting on Brighton Beach. Big stories like this are reported by everyone and everywhere. Big stories like this, especially a criminal one, is the best way to sell newspapers. Reporters walk around interviewing locals, trying to get as many quotes as possible depicting screaming and fear. I have read all of them looking for a small story behind a big one. A story, perhaps, about the responsibilities of city officials and the safety of ordinary taxpayers in Brighton Beach. A story with a silver lining.

Continue Reading »

Source: Anne Szustek of "Brooklyn Based"

Who knew that Midwood had such a dazzling array of eateries exclusively specializing in Turkish cuisine? Apparently Brooklyn Based’s Anne Szustek knew, because she wrote the ultimate compendium on where to go and what to order if one has the inclination to fress on some Agean or Black Sea delicacies beyond the borders of our favorite neighborhood:

Brooklyn’s Turkish community is located in the southern reaches of the borough. There are Turkish restaurants and shops in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay but you’re most likely to hear Turkish spoken on the street in Midwood. Home to Brooklyn College and painted Victorian houses, the neighborhood is easily accessible via the B, Q and F trains. Kings Highway and Coney Island Avenue are among its main thoroughfares; the Kings Highway B/Q stop is a good starting point to explore the Turkish community.

The Turks, for their part, use yogurt as liberally as mustard or ketchup—atop pasta, roast meats and vegetables alike. Casual fans of Turkish cuisine may be well acquainted with savory, spicy shish kebabs—another Turkish word. But these skewered treats hardly scratch the surface of the country’s cuisine. Turkey, straddling two continents and 81 provinces, is a hodgepodge of flavors.

Among the places she checks out are Taci’s Beyti (1955 Coney Island Avenue), Güllüoğlu Bakery (1985 Coney Island Avenue) and Turkish Café (1618 East 16th Street).

But beware, Anne points out: “Just don’t go to a Turkish restaurant and eat falafel, which is not a Turkish dish at all—it’s actually nigh impossible to find in the country outside of snooty Istanbul restaurants catering to expats and moneyed Turks who often developed a taste for it while studying abroad in the U.S. or U.K.”

Ah, the more you know, eh? What are some of your favorite Turkish spots?

Source: Regal Entertainment Group

As a member of the struggling demographic known as “Nowhere Near Being Rich and Not Yet Famous,” who also loves going to the movies, and who furthermore is not ashamed to use coupons and look for good bargains, I was dismayed that a very good bargain tried to slip by me unnoticed.

That’s right — I’m talking to you, Regal Cinema, which is holding a nine-week-long “family friendly movie festival” at United Artists Sheepshead Bay Stadium 14 & IMAX, 3907 Shore Parkway, where all the films are just $1. The catch? There always is one: All the films, which are screened midweek on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (perfect for the poor, beleaguered, unemployed soul), begin at 10 a.m.

Brokelyn lists the complete lineup of “Summer Movie Express 2011” and, having finally read the book last year, I may just pony up to the box office with my $1 to see “Charlotte’s Web.”

The best part? A portion of the proceeds from the film festival are going toward the Will Rogers Institute, whose mission is “to perpetuate the memory of Will Rogers by promoting and engaging in medical research pertaining to cardiopulmonary diseases and educating the public on topics of health and fitness.”

So, in the memory of Will Rogers and keeping healthy, go sit down in a dark room for a couple of hours, eat some nachos with liquid cheez, and wash it down with soda from a cup large enough to bathe a toddler in. Enjoy!

Photo by Erica Sherman.

Organizers at the Kings Bay YM-YWHA said yesterday’s Israel Expo – the largest celebration of Israel in Brooklyn – was a stellar success, with approximately 5,000 people once again packing Nostrand Avenue between Avenue V and Gravesend Neck Road.

Kids enjoyed tables of crafts, a petting zoo, inflatable amusements and live music entertainment while parents perused tables selling handmade goods like yarmulkes and jewelry. Sheepshead Bites also had a table, as well as El Al Airlines and the Israel Ministry of Tourism, since we all have so much in common, and all gave away information and goodies throughout the afternoon event.

City Councilman Lew Fidler, State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and State Senator Marty Golden stopped by to express their commitment to Israel and the Kings Bay Y. You can check out video of their statements after the jump.

Check out video and photos from the event.

Don’t forget that this Saturday, June 18, at 8:00 p.m., Sheepshead Bites/Bensonhurst Bean is thanking all of you wonderful readers with a party!


The event will be at the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue), who generously offered us their pier for the evening. Bassett’s Deli and Caterers (1404 Avenue X) will provide food, and Cupcake Kings (1613 Voorhies Avenue) will throw in desserts (while it lasts, anyway!). As for the music, so far we’ve booked the Penniless Loafers – a lively ska-influenced rock band whose drummer is a Leon M. Goldstein High School graduate – and Nelson – a longstanding local band that has been playing the area for at least 18 years, headed up by Sheepshead natives Nelson F. Ferrer and Ralph Favilla.

Officially, we’ll be celebrating the third birthday of Sheepshead Bites and the launch of Bensonhurst Bean. But it’s more than that. It’s our great, big thanks to all of you who continue to support us by tuning in every day. We’re looking forward to meeting you face-to-face, and hope you bring a lot of friends for this free event.

There is a suggested donation of $5.00 to help replenish our freelance budget. The donation is not required, but if you can spare it, it will go a long way in helping us provide you with more original reporting. (And, if you’re feeling extra generous, you can certainly donate more than the suggested amount!)