Archive for the tag 'sheepshead bay restaurant'

THE BITE: Roll n Roaster (2901 Emmons Avenue, just west of Nostrand Avenue) is well known for its roast beef sandwiches, late night crowds and its 1970s television commercials. But it also sells Cheez burgers, fries and “freshly squeezed orangeade,” all of which are prominently touted on their take-out bags. Talking with friends, it seems that most folks don’t stray far from the roast beef and fries when they hit the restaurant. Even the New York Times picked up on this, quoting a customer “You kind of have to get the roast beef,” he said. “They looked at you weird when you didn’t get it.”

We here at the Bite are used to being looked at weird.

So, today’s Bite brings you the “Western Cheez Burger.” It’s allegedly available rare, medium or well done and sells for $5.25. So what is a “Western cheez burger,” you ask? It’s a thin beef hamburger patty, topped with their ubiquitous cheese sauce, onion rings and barbecue sauce on one of RnR’s outstanding buns. How that makes it western I have no idea. And, don’t get me started on the cheese sauce – or “cheez sauce,” as they like to call it.

Frankly, I love that “cheez,” whatever it is. Is it real cheese or some sort of evil corporate concoction that is oddly addictive? Strangely, it’s nowhere to be found on RnR’s website menu. Some people claim that it is “Cheez Whiz” which is made by Kraft and available in your local supermarkets. Others claim it’s an invention of Roll n Roaster owner, Nick “Buddy” Lamonica. I really don’t care either way. The cheez sauce is one of my reasons for visiting RnR so frequently.

And it saves the Western burger. This thin burger patty arrives burned, dry and flavorless no matter how you order it, but is covered with the  cheez sauce that brings both flavor and much needed moisture. It is then topped with a very sweet Kansas City-style barbecue sauce and a couple of perfectly cooked, whole onion – not chopped – onion rings. While the actual burger patty itself is nothing special, the toppings and the bun make this a worthy meal.

Roll N Roaster, 2901 Emmons Avenue, just west of Nostrand Avenue, (718) 769-6000.

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, fishmongers  or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

Arbuz owners and staff cleaning off the furniture just days after the storm.

THE BITE: The Bite’s been laying low as Sheepshead Bay struggles to recover from Hurricane Sandy. With so many still without power or heat, it seems a bit insensitive to write about a newly discovered food dish. Now’s the time to help our neighbors rebuild.

Many of our restaurants and food mongers who came out for this year’s A Taste of Sheepshead Bay are still recovering and some are already back in business. Please do your best to help support the businesses that support Sheepshead Bites and the community. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to bring you our coverage of the neighborhood. No one else provides the local news when you need it,  like Sheepshead Bites.

Rovshan Danilov, the owner of Arbuz, put it best. “We need Sheepshead Bay back. We need the businesses to return. We need the customers back. We need the landlords to understand and work with the small businesses of the Bay.” We’re all in this together.

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THE BITE: Stuffed flat bread. How can you go wrong? It seems to appear in every cuisine in some form or another. Be it pizza, the wrap, the taco, burrito, naan, aaloo paratha (a personal favorite), the kutab, roti, the bourek, khachapuri; I could go on and on. Every culture seems to have mastered this simple dish.

Memo Shish Kebab (1821 Kings Highway on the corner of East 19th Street) has it down with the lahmachun. What is lahmcahun you ask? Well, at the restaurant, it’s commonly refered to as a “meat pie,” or “Turkish pizza,” but it’s a plain, pizza liked dough, topped with minced lamb, tomatoes and onions.

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Photo by: Erica Sherman

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.

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Lesson of the day: Bento boxes make for awkward photos.

THE BITEI don’t understand what people see in those little sushi rolls.

All that seaweed tastes to me as if I was just wiped out surfing and crashed into the sand, all the while filling my mouth with all the disgusting things found on the beach. It’s a horrible, horrible taste and it amazes me that people will pay for it. Why not just drink from the Bay? It’s cheaper and probably tastes better.

And what’s all this nonsense about “50 percent off?” If it’s 50 percent off all the time, face it, that’s the price dude.

So when I’m in a sushi place, I always check out the kitchen menu. And they always offer the same three categories: negamaki, teriyaki and tempura. C’mon folks. I know Japanese food has more to offer than that!

For today’s Bite, we’re heading into Hayashi Sushi (2901 Ocean Avenue) for the Ginger Pork Teriyaki Lunch Box Combo. For $9.00, you are served your choice of meat with soup or salad and shumai, a California roll and white rice.

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THE BITE: As a father, one of the things I wasn’t prepared for was the pride I would feel in my children’s success. It’s a feeling only a parent can explain, as I sure as hell dismissed it before I had kids. Paulie Randazzo of the legendary Randazzo’s Clam Bar surely knows what I’m talking about.

About two weeks ago, Joey Randazzo, son of Paulie, opened Randazzo’s Sandwich Spot at 1520 Sheepshead Bay Road. It’s great to see a long time Sheepshead Bay family business branch out. Randazzo’s Sandwich Spot offers 26 “signature sandwiches” along with breakfast, “toss your own” salads and, of course, the option to create your own sandwiches from a pretty large selection of foodstuffs.

Personally, I like when chefs take the time to create their own dishes, so on my visits, I focused on the “signature sandwiches,” many of which are named after semi-local landmarks focusing more on Coney Island than our neighborhood. Unfortunately, none are called “The Sheepshead” or “The Emmons.”  I would have loved to see one sandwich created in homage of Lundy’s famous shore dinner, which consisted of, among other things, half a broiled lobster and half a broiled chicken. Or how about one that pays homage to Randazzo’s Clam Bar itself?

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