New York rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the NY Chowhound community.

A Workweek’s Worth of Sandwiches

You could probably put rubber gloves in Sullivan St Bakery’s light, crusty sandwich bread and have a thoroughly enjoyable lunch, suggests funkymonkey. But luckily for all, a rubber glove sandwich is not on the menu. Instead, try the nearly perfect springtime special sandwich of hard-cooked egg, artichokes, fresh mozzarella, and ramp-anchovy vinaigrette.

The bread is just right; the egg, cheese, and artichoke harmonize beautifully; and the dressing pulls it all together, “with just enough of a salty tang to season the rest of the ingredients, but not fishy enough to put off my anchovy-hating co-workers.” Ramp season is nearly over, so try this soon.

NYU hounds and other downtown types score great sandwiches at Bite, which runs a tiny kiosk on Lafayette as well as a sit-down restaurant on 14th Street. billyboy loves the spicy Middle Eastern turkey sandwich (smoked turkey, hummus, greens, and plum tomatoes on ciabatta). Other favorites: curried tuna (with carrots, cabbage, and raisins) and panini with prosciutto and mozzarella, smoked turkey and pesto, and other fillings. Refreshing house-made lemonade goes well with any of them.

A few blocks uptown and several steps upscale, Gramercy Tavern makes a dressed-up pulled pork sandwich enlivened with a scoop of slaw and pickled jalapeño and onion, Scott V reports. A light vinegary dressing complements the pork without overpowering its smokiness. It’s $16 but a worthwhile splurge, Scott promises.

Lunchtime perennial Lamazou has earned a loyal following with top-notch meats, cheeses, and breads (some from the above-mentioned Sullivan St Bakery). “Like other fans, I’m in love,” confesses RGR. “It’s the high quality of all the components that makes Lamazou’s sandwiches so outstanding.” Greatest hits include the Milano (salami, turkey breast, provolone), the Brima (roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, Brie), and the Caprice de Lamazou (smoked salmon, capers, cornichons, red onion, and a delicious lemon-oil dressing).

Finally, in the narrow but important salami-and-egg category, Fallon nominates Barney Greengrass, the venerable Upper West Side store that draws crowds for its smoked fish. Salami and perfectly timed scrambled eggs come on rye, pumpernickel, bagel, or bialy. For an extra $1.50 you can add caramelized onions, and you should.

Sullivan St Bakery [Clinton]
533 W. 47th Street (between 10th and 11th avenues), Manhattan

Bite [NoHo]
335 Lafayette Street (between Bleecker and Houston), Manhattan

Bite [East Village]
211 E. 14th Street (between Second and Third avenues), Manhattan

Gramercy Tavern [Flatiron]
42 E. 20th Street (between Broadway and Park Avenue S.), Manhattan

Lamazou [Gramercy]
370 Third Avenue (at E. 27th Street), Manhattan

Barney Greengrass [Upper West Side]
541 Amsterdam Avenue (between W. 86th and 87th streets), Manhattan

Board Links: Sullivan Street Bakery–excellent sandwich
Flatiron lunch notes
Good Panini Near NYU?
cheap eats for lunch-Lafayette and 4th
Excellent Sandwich around 16th St. & 5th Ave
what’s your fave LAMAZOU sandwhich?
Current Favorite Dish/Item for Less than $10?
salami and egg sandwich

Worthy Peruvian Chicken

El Pollo does right by its namesake specialty. At this Peruvian restaurant in Park Slope, which replaced an unloved sandwich shop in February, the roast chicken comes out moist and nicely seasoned with good crisp skin. The accompanying sauces—a mild white one and especially a kicking green one—are fresh and house-made. “That is some fine-tasting chicken,” declares kraw.

Also on the brief menu: decent fried plantains, chicha morada (a sweet purple-corn beverage), and a standout avocado salad, studded with chickpeas and dressed with a light vinaigrette. Several notches nicer than a takeout joint, El Pollo offers an inviting dining room and warm service.

El Pollo [Park Slope]
Formerly Gourmet Grill
291 Fifth Avenue (between First and Second streets), Brooklyn

Board Links: Park Slope Favorites Around 4th St. & 5th Ave.
Pollo in Park Slope

Fresh Ethiopian from Harlem to the East Village

Even for confirmed carnivores, the vegetarian combination is a rewarding choice at Zoma, a newish Ethiopian restaurant in Harlem. For $17 you pick four dishes; the combo can feed two and comes with plenty of injera, the spongy teff-based flatbread, for dipping and scooping.

Best bets include fassolia (green beans sautéed with garlic and tomato), misir wett (red lentil stew), and gomen (sweet, long-cooked collard greens). Buticha is a coarse chickpea mash, served cold; it’s tasty, but some may find it disagreeably mealy. Preparations are varied, and seasoning is clear and appealing. “This isn’t Spicy Mina cooking, with complex layering of flavors,” writes rose water, referring to the Bangladeshi gem in Woodside, Queens. “It’s not subtle. I love it.”

Among the nonvegetarian dishes, kafka1 recommends tibs wett: sirloin cubes in an intense, dark red stew flavored with berbere (a blend of chile and other seasonings), kibe (seasoned butter), and other spices and herbs. Other standouts: assa tibs (tilapia in currylike sauce), doro wett (a rich chicken stew with egg), yebeg alitcha (tender lamb braised in mild sauce), and samosalike sambusas (labeled “fillo pastry” on the menu, and filled with either lentils or ground sirloin).

Another relative newcomer, Meskel in the East Village, was swamped by crowds for weeks after a rave newspaper review, resulting in long waits, service meltdowns, and lots of angry muttering (and online posting). Now things have settled down, and the place sounds like a solid neighborhood Ethiopian option.

Here, too, the vegetarian combo is a smart order. zorgclyde reports uncommonly fresh flavors in the string beans (a similar preparation to Zoma’s) and tikil gomen (a currylike sauté of cabbage with carrots, garlic, and ginger), both a fine match for the tangy injera. Meat dishes—including many of those offered at Zoma—get mixed but mostly encouraging marks; some, however, find them underspiced.

Zoma [Harlem]
2084 Frederick Douglass Boulevard (a.k.a. Eighth Avenue, at W. 113th Street), Manhattan

Meskel Ethiopian Restaurant [East Village]
Formerly JahMama’s
199 E. Third Street (near Avenue B), Manhattan

Board Links: What to order at Zoma new Ethiopian place ?
recent visit to meskel

Matchless Matzo Ball Soup

Roslyn’s Landmark Diner makes chicken matzo ball soup that you must not miss, insists Jim Leff. They may not serve it every day, so call ahead. Except for this superb soup, Jim advises, the fare is basically “stupid generic diner.”

Landmark Diner [Nassau County]
1023 Northern Boulevard (at Searingtown), Roslyn

Board Links: Excellent Chicken Matzoh Ball Soup in Roslyn, LI

Hot Off the Grill in Astoria, Stellar Balkan Sausages

Astoria’s newest Balkan-style grill promises to be one of its best. At Cevabdzinica Stari Most, the signature cevapi (beef sausages) are as good as they get: charred and crisp, tender, juicy, well seasoned, and agreeably greasy all at once. “If there’s better, it’s at some place I haven’t gotten to yet,” says hatless, who ranks them well ahead of those at local rivals Cevabdzinica Sarajevo, Ukus, and Djerdan. “So goooood!” seconds tony70, a Macedonian expat and a fan of Stari Most’s “Sarajevo burger.”

Named after the landmark bridge in Mostar, the new place is bigger and nicer-looking than the competition, done up Old Bosnia style, and offers free Wi-Fi and outdoor seating. For now the kitchen is sticking to meat; other choices include lamb chops, sweetbreads, and sudzuk (dry beef sausage), all served with good chewy bread, mild ajvar (pepper paste), chopped onion, and tangy kajmak (thick sour cream). By summer, they expect to add some Bosnian-style savory pies.

Cevabdzinica Stari Most, a.k.a. Restaurant Old Bridge [Astoria]
28-52 42nd Street (between 28th and 30th avenues), Astoria, Queens

Cevabdzinica Sarajevo [Astoria]
37-18 34th Avenue (between 37th and 38th streets), Astoria, Queens

Ukus [Astoria]
42-08 30th Avenue (near 42nd Street), Astoria, Queens

Djerdan [Astoria]
34-04A 31st Avenue (at 34th Street), Astoria, Queens

Board Links: Cevabdzinica Stari Most/Old Bridge

Park Slope’s Tempo Offers a $25 Dinner Deal

Another hound-endorsed Brooklyn restaurant has come forward with an attractive weeknight dinner deal. Tempo in Park Slope has gone prix fixe during the week, selling three-course dinners for $25. Steve R says this offer, like a similar one on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Cobble Hill’s Chestnut, is among the best dinner bargains around.

Choose from 8 to 10 appetizers, a dozen entrees (some carry a $5 supplement), and 8 to 10 desserts. At $25, Steve figures, prix fixe items are about two-thirds the normal price. The menu has been tweaked, with appealing new dishes like a tripe appetizer in tomato sauce, light and tasty pea flan, and outstanding seafood in lobster sauce over a lightly fried risotto cake. Old favorites remain, including duck pastilla rolls, wild greens with goat cheese roulades, and pappardelle with wild boar and mint. “Go,” urges Steve. “Before they change something.”

Light eaters may not find the new arrangement a bargain. jinx, who’s accustomed to splitting an appetizer, a dessert, or both, says, “The prix fixe, while a good deal, actually makes a meal there more expensive. This isn’t really a complaint, just an observation. We enjoyed our meal and as always, service and ambience are great.”

Tempo [Park Slope]
256 Fifth Avenue (between Carroll and Garfield), Brooklyn

Chestnut [Cobble Hill]
271 Smith Street (near Degraw), Brooklyn

Board Links: Tempo prix fixe

Something in the Air in Chinatown … Durian Pudding

Chinatown sweet shop Whatever has added a new fruit dessert, and if the wind’s blowing right, you just might catch a whiff of it when you get off the subway. The recently introduced durian pudding is smooth, custardy, and authentically fragrant, HLing reports. Look for it on the specials board, not the regular menu.

Whatever [Chinatown]
Formerly Hui Lau San
150 Centre Street (near Walker), Manhattan

Board Links: Durian pudding w/fresh durian at ‘Whatever’

A Couple of Hash Houses in Queens

Most diners these days get their corned beef hash from … well, you don’t actually want to know where they get their corned beef from. But a dwindling minority still cook this dish using actual meat, onions, and potatoes, rather than scraping it out of big tin cans packed at distant factories. Among those most excellent holdouts is Jackson Heights’ Mark Twain Diner. Joe MacBu likes the hash for its fine-chopped texture and the lift it gets from fresh parsley.

By contrast, Rego Park’s Shalimar Diner goes big, serving a chunky hash that’s relatively light on potato, says dude. Different but also delicious.

Mark Twain Diner [Jackson Heights]
72-12 Northern Boulevard (between 72nd and 73rd streets), Jackson Heights, Queens

Shalimar Diner [Rego Park]
63-68 Austin Street (near 63rd Drive), Rego Park, Queens

Board Links: Homemade corned beef hash in Queens

An Uptown Croissant Contender

If its croissants are a fair measure, Chokolat Patisserie is off to a strong start. They’re agreeably dense and sweet, reports HLing, and the chocolate ones achieve an optimal ratio of chocolate to pastry. olia admires their buttery interior and shatteringly crisp yet not overly dry outer layer.

The four-month-old bakery also makes cakes, tarts, cream puffs, muffins, and other treats—not yet sampled by hounds—and serves coffee and tea. But don’t count on hanging out there: The tiny shop has only a handful of stools.

Still, says HLing, it’s an elegant spot and a welcome addition to the neighborhood north of Columbia.

Chokolat Patisserie [Morningside Heights]
3111 Broadway (between La Salle and W. 122nd streets), Manhattan

Board Links: Chokolat Patissery? Bway btw La Salle & 125

Amazing Filipino Coconut Buns in Jersey City

The best bite at Red Ribbon, suggests bigjeff, is the ensaimada: a soft, sweet, sticky Philippine-style coconut bun topped with cheese. It is quite good straight from the bakery and amazingly, ridiculously good after five minutes in a toaster oven, bigjeff adds.

Red Ribbon BakeShop [Hudson County]
591 Summit Avenue (at Newark), Jersey City, NJ

Board Links: delicious ensaimada