Archive for the tag 'restaurants'

fridays

Source: Fridays

Thank the lord for America’s independent, free press, delving into the weightiest and most controversial of issues, serving as a public watchdog, the fourth estate, protecting our freedoms… and eating mozzarella sticks for 14 hours so we don’t have to.

In case you haven’t heard, T.G.I. Friday’s launched a new promotion at select locations, giving patrons the chance to eat an unlimited amount of appetizers for just $10. Creatively, it’s called “Endless Appetizers.”

I know what you’re thinking. “Psha. Endless? Yeah, right. They’ll crack down on you by hour three and start demanding you order something or get out.” Especially in the no-nonsense, rough-and-tumble Sheepshead Bay location, right?

That’s what Gawker’s Caity Weaver thought too. So she did her journalistic duty, trekked down to Harkness Avenue, ordered some endless mozzarella sticks (you only get to choose one of seven appetizers – madness!), and sat their for four… teen… freakin’… hours.

Forget Israel. Forget the Ukraine. Somebody get this lady a Pulitzer and tell all those other reporters to go home.

What resulted from the effort was a whopping 6,000-word opus to utter self-contempt in a nearly minute-by-minute breakdown of her stay. All-in-all, Weaver didn’t eat all that much; just 7 orders, or 32 mozzarella sticks in total. That’s an amount most of fat, big-mouthed jerks behind keyboards think is just pitiful, but Weaver attributes it to the fact that Friday’s mozzarella sticks, which have been gussied in up in vain with a Parmesan and Romano dusting, were just god awful. And I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, because by the end of it she so clearly hated herself in a way that suggested she ate three times that amount.

The conclusion? Well, the Endless Appetizers deal is unlimited, although Weaver potentially sabotaged the report by disclosing to management before she began that she was there to test the policy. So further research must be done. (We’re on it.)

Other takeaways? Friday’s mozzarella sticks reportedly suck. Heinz makes you do too much to participate in their back-of-the-bottle promotions. The daytime service at Fridays is nice; in the evening, not so much. Weaver doesn’t care much for Plumb Beach channel, which she describes thusly, “as nice as any scenic bay or rainbow gasoline puddle.” There appear to be a few creeps who hang out there and say weird things to pretty girls covered in mozzarella-stick-grease.

Oh, and Caity Weaver is funny as hell. Read this thing. It was the best part of my day.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

It was just last week that Brennan & Carr was named one of New York City’s most iconic meat dishes by Eater NY. Was rival roast beef peddler Roll-N-Roaster (2901 Emmons Avenue) going to be ignored?

C’mon. Nobody puts Roll-N-Roaster in a corner. They put them on “Best of” lists. Specifically, CBS News “Best of” lists, which has to be among the best “Best of” lists because they once named us Best Local Affairs Website and obviously have good taste.

The news outlet calls Roll-N-Roaster one of eight best sandwiches in Brooklyn, describing it thusly:

While “You can have CHEEZ on anything you PLEEZ” would be enough to entice even the strongest will-powered man into Roll-n-Roaster, there are reasons galore to visit – though most do include said CHEEZ. First and foremost is the wonderful roast beef sandwich; thin slices of beef with a pink center arrive piled high on a soft bun, a sandwich that would put to shame that fast food sandwich chain that claims to make these.

One week, two local roast beef sandwiches on “Best of” lists, and never a consensus on which is better.

Congratulations to both of our meateries!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Oh, the struggles of life in Sheepshead Bay. A beautiful waterfront. A glut of mass transit options. Prideful mom-and-pop businesses lining the commercial streets.

Sounds like hell, right? That’s the way some residents make it sound. If I had a nickel for every time a reader has told me we need one corporate franchise eatery or another – Starbucks! Outback Steakhouse! Red F’ing Mango! – I’d have enough nickels to give up this journalism racket, open up a 7-Eleven, a shove taquitos down everyone’s face-hole while yelling “ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? ARE YOU?!”

The latest is this open letter by Sheepshead Bay resident DJ Alex Edge to Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer. Edge has just finished up Meyer’s book, “Setting the Table” and it made him hungry for a “beautiful cheese drenched Shake Shake [sic] double.” But Manhattan is oh-so-far. Forty freakin’ minutes!

Rather than take the hike to the bland, corporate Disneyland that is Manhattan, Edge goes for the more dignified approach. He begged… and gave the finger to Sheepshead Bay’s existing dining options.

I am not sure why but my neighborhood is pilfered with hundreds of sushi joints, Turkish shish kebab eateries, and Russian dens filled with lavish French delicacies. Even though I am from the part of the world that enjoys a good plate of caviar, I am a simple fellow Danny. One who enjoys a great burger that’s cooked just right. A burger that’s served with a generous amount of fries, a perfect smidgen of sauce and a smile that’s ripped right out of the pages of your hunger inducing book.

Hey, man. I’m all in agreement that the Bay would benefit from more variety, but our Russian dens and Turkish eateries are the tops, and the sushi joints… well, at least they’re cheap.

Anyway, Edge goes on to provide three reasons why Shake Shack should set up shop in Southern Brooklyn sooner rather than later. Which, quite honestly, are mostly good reasons for almost any business to be getting into the game down here:

  1. Coney Island. The same iconic Coney Island that has been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. As much as Coney Island recovered from the destruction, imagine the impact you can have on the community when you build the ultimate family destination for delicious food. The number of jobs such an enterprise would create. The amount of positive PR and feedback it can generate for your brand and the area in general.
  2. Frozen Custard. As I’m sure you know Danny, frozen custard was invented in Coney Island by two smart fellows, Archie and Elton Kohr. What better way to honor the memory of these two beautiful geniuses than by slinging frozen custard in the land of it’s forefathers.
  3. The Timing. Yes, Danny as you can tell by now I read your book carefully. The timing for this is perfect. Where 20 years ago something like this would never be possible, the amount of people who crave a better product in our area is huge. I see it every day. The sad sunk in faces of young couples consuming sushi. A family of four pretending to love a gyro. Come on. We all know a gyro doesn’t come close to the satisfaction of a burger.

I don’t know, man. I like my gyros. And the sushi… well, at least it’s cheap.

What do you think? Does Sheepshead Bay need a Shake Shack? Or would we do better to see a homegrown burger joint come into its own and take over the rest of the city?

Source: wallyg/Flickr

Big ups to Brennan & Carr, featured this week in Eater NY’s roundup of New York City’s 21 most iconic meat dishes.

The 3424 Nostrand Avenue business has been serving up hot beef dipped in broth and slapped on a bun for 76 years, and remains a family institution. It’s a frequent competitor for best roast beef in the city and is locked in fierce competition for that title with Roll-N-Roaster. Undisputed, though, is that our area has the city’s best roast beef. Just which of the two locales dishes it up is an internecine battle we’ll watch from the sidelines, thank you very much.

Anyway, Eater, having to explain the quirky, exotic behaviors of native Southern Brooklynites to New York City’s army of transplanted foodies, goes into anthropologist mode:

[Brennan & Carr serves] a roast beef-filled Kaiser bun that’s liberally doused in a thin, salty liquid known as “the broth.” Many customers choose to get this sandwich double dipped, while others order this same sandwich with cheese whiz.

Mhm, yes. And some who order it can even use sign language to demand a banana.

Anyway, Brennan & Carr contends with Nathan’s Famous hot dogs as the cheapest items on the list, which also includes a $145 côte de boeuf and the Peter Luger porterhouse. That’s some fine company.

Now, a question nearly as eternal as which local roast beefery is the best: what neighborhood is Brennan & Carr in? At Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U, it’s solidly Homecrest in my book, which, for lack of any stature as an actual neighborhood, passes as Sheepshead Bay. But Marine Park residents have for years tried to claim it as their own. Eater refers to the restaurant as a “beloved Gravesend institution,” which makes me wonder if they’re using a mid-19th Century map, and others still have called it – gah – Midwood!

Thoughts?

[Other Brennan & Carr shout-outs we’ve covered: Eater NY in 2011, Man v Food’s Adam Richman gives some praise, Urban Spoon names it the top neighborhood restaurant in 2011]

santa-fe

Photo by Robert Fernandez

A new Mexican restaurant, Sante Fe Mexican Delicatessen, is now open at 1206 Avenue U.

The new eatery replaces Eddie’s Hair Salon, on the southside of the block between East 12th Street and Homecrest Avenuue.

Has anyone been there yet? Let us know how it is. Here at Sheepshead Bites, we’re always looking for a good taco. We’ve been informed by the owner that there are no tacos. They have deli and grocery items, hot and cold sandwiches and soups and will add a salad bar.

And welcome to the neighborhood, Santa Fe!

This article was amended on July 3.

rocca-1

It’s been a long journey, but Rocca Cafe & Lounge is finally open to the public at 2712 Emmons Avenue, the former site of Dunkin’ Donuts, which closed in 2009.

The revamped building is not only the latest restaurant to open on Emmons Avenue, but one of the few to take advantage of its waterfront location. With huge windows on the interior, and outdoor, waterside seating for fairer weather, it showcases the Bay with pride.

The restaurant has been in the works for years. We were the first to note, in 2010, that a new restaurant was coming here. At the time, it was to be a second location for Masal, currently in the Lundy’s building. Some squabbling led to changes in ownership – again and again – as well as a few different names. Superstorm Sandy hampered its opening further, but it’s finally here.

The restaurant is Turkish owned, but it looks like a number of Italian dishes are making its way onto the menu, and the owners have previously described it to us as pan-Mediterranean. Regardless, the location looks spiffy, and we’re looking forward to checking it out.

grandpas

When Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe opened up less than four months ago at 2224 Avenue U, I believed we had finally seen the end of the curse on a corner that has seen several unsuccessful businesses come and go. It had good reviews, the decor was nice, and there’s nary another pizzeria for several blocks.

Alas, no. I was wrong. Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe is now closed. According to an online listing, the owner held an auction for the equipment on May 14.

Grandpa’s opened in late January, replacing South Brooklyn Pizza, which had served up pies for less than a yearBefore South Brooklyn Pizza, there was Calabrese Pizza & Restaurant, which was also short-lived. Before that, there was Tai Yuan, which was open for only a few weeks. Tai Shan preceded that – again, surviving only a few months.

That brings us to six restaurants in five years. Maybe somebody ought to give to give a good bar a shot? Or we can always fall back on the local standards. Salon and cell phones, anybody?

anatolian

Sheepshead Bay Road-staple Anatolian Gyro has moved off the main thoroughfare to a brand new storefront around the corner, and is now serving its yummy Turkish treats at the new location.

We announced the move was forthcoming back in October, with a planned opening date in January. As usual, permit holdups and inspector delays pushed that date back. But the new location opened its doors in the last weekend of April.

Now at 2623 East 16th Street, the new storefront is slightly larger. A peek inside revealed an industrial looking design with a Mediterranean touch. It looks comfortable and modern, and a definite upgrade from their old digs.

As we reported in October, the move comes as the landlord, Waldorf Realty, prepares to renovate the strip of storefronts that included Enterprize Gifts, Zeetron and Eye Appeal. Enterprize moved across the street in March, while Eye Appeal moved near the subway station in August 2013. Zeetron never reopened after Superstorm Sandy.

Waldorf recently started prepping another Sheepshead Bay Road property at Voorhies Avenue, containing six ground-floor businesses, for a face-lift. They’re also nearing completion on a renovation of another batch of storefronts on the corner of Avenue Z and East 16th Street.

samsa

A pumpkin manti from Nargis.

Nargis Cafe (2818 Coney Island Avenue) is in the limelight again, this time with the New York Times writing up the Uzbeki restaurant’s mouth-watering cuisine, and tracing the business from humble beginnings into a jewel of Sheepshead Bay.

The Times isn’t the only one to discover the central-Asian cuisine. In February, the FX show The Americans used the space to film some scenes there.

Of course, we’ve been on to Nargis’ exceptional delights for years, already having written up reviews of pumpkin-stuffed Manti and the spiced fries. But there’s always room for more attention.

In their article, the Times takes a peek in the back of this restaurant that serves “denizens of outer Brooklyn.”

Everything except a few desserts brought in from a local bakery is made in-house, including beef noodles pulled by hand, and dumpling casings and savory pastry crusts rolled early in the morning, long before the cafe opens. Mr. Bangiev performed the pulling and rolling and almost all the cooking himself in the fledgling years of Nargis. Even though he has entrusted the kitchen to his cooks, Mr. Bangiev can still be found each day and evening at the cafe, immersed in every aspect of his restaurant.

Kudos to Nargis for catching the Times’ fickle, Manhattan-centric eye.

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Sixteen months after Superstorm Sandy shuttered the Sheepshead Bay T.G.I. Fridays (3181 Harkness Avenue), the franchise is set to reopen with a “re-imaged” interior intended to reflect a New York City vibe.

13

Located on the banks of Plumb Beach Channel, the tides of Superstorm Sandy caused three feet of flood water to barrel through the popular bar and eatery near the United Artists movie theater. The devastation required a long cleanup, and the operators used it as an opportunity to become the first New York-area Fridays to roll out a new interior design that will soon be seen at locations across the five boroughs.

9

Some of the touches in the new interior include a dramatically redesigned bar, an open kitchen and an acrylic panel depicting the city’s skyline. That’s not to mention the sweeping waterfront views through the floor-to-ceiling windows, with cafe-like seating.

While out of commission, Friday’s reassigned much of its 126-strong workforce to other locations around the city.

5

The restaurant is set to open its doors to customers on Monday, April 28.

bar

All photos courtesy of T.G.I. Fridays.

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