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

Uncommonly Fresh Filipino Flavors at Grill 21

Grill 21 does something many of Manhattan’s Filipino eateries do not: It cooks most of its menu to order. “Not a steam table place, which is a welcome change,” notes nyufoodie, who ranks it on par with Elvie’s and a step above Krystal’s and relative newcomer Bayan Cafe. Recommended: crispy pata (fried pork knuckle) and meaty, deftly fried lumpia.

Billed as a grill, this place offers plenty of Filipino barbecue: salmon, tilapia, bangus (milkfish), short ribs, pork belly, chicken, etc. Also on the menu: adobo (with chicken or pork), kare-kare (oxtail in peanut sauce), fish and shrimp (fried or cooked in coconut milk or tamarind broth), rice porridge, and breakfast fare like longsilog (sweet pork sausage, served with egg and fried rice). Lunch specials (curry, adobo, lumpia, etc.) are $6.


Grill 21 [Gramercy]
346 E. 21st St., between 1st and 2nd Aves., Manhattan
212-473-5921
Locater

Bayan Cafe [Grand Central]
212 E. 45th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan
212-450-8260
Locater

Board Links

Best lumpia/Filipino market?

Sfogliatelle Showdown in the Bronx and Beyond

New York chowhounds have been obsessed of late with sfogliatelle, the delicate Italian breakfast pastries with a sweet, creamy, cheesy filling. Among numerous deserving purveyors around town, three emerge as current favorites:

Morrone, the Bronx: “The ultimate in sfogliatelle pleasure,” declares rose water, who describes crisp, fresh pastry enclosing an alluring filling, perfumey and just sweet enough, with a refreshing citrus note. This Morris Park veteran just opened a bright little shop on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx’s Little Italy.

Court Pastry Shop, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn: Consistently fresh, with very thin, flaky pastry resembling a clamshell, observes Cheese Boy. “In a word, perfect,” swoons kenito799, who praises its shatteringly crisp pastry and moist, delicious filling, slightly eggy and slightly citrusy. After tasting Court’s sfogliatelle alongside Morrone’s, he throws up his hands and calls it a draw: “Both are absolutely top notch.”

De Lillo’s, the Bronx: rose water likes the buttery shell with its welcome touch of salt. The filling boasts more cheesy richness than Morrone’s, which is stronger on citrus. “Maybe the ideal solution is to have De Lillo’s as a breakfast pastry and Morrone’s as an evening dessert,” muses Striver. “May our lives be filled with such dilemmas!”

Other contenders include Enrico’s in Morris Park, though it doesn’t always have sfogliatelle, and 18th Avenue Bakery in Borough Park.


Morrone Bakery [Bronx]
1946 Williamsbridge Rd., between Neill and Rhinelander Aves., Bronx
718-828-8111
Locater

Morrone Pastry Shop Cafe [Bronx]
2349 Arthur Ave., between E. 186th St. and Crescent Ave., Bronx
718-733-0424
Map

Court Pastry Shop [Carroll Gardens]
298 Court St., between DeGraw and Douglass, Brooklyn
718-875-4820
Locater

De Lillo’s Pastry Shop [Bronx]
606 E. 187th St., between Arthur and Hughes Aves., Bronx
718-367-8198
Locater

Enrico’s Pastry Shop [Bronx]
1057 Morris Park Ave., between Hone and Lurting Aves., Bronx
718-823-7207
Locater

18th Avenue Bakery [Borough Park]
6016 18th Ave., near 60th St., Brooklyn
718-256-2441
Locater

Board Links

The great Bronx sfogliatelle showdown

Pardo’s – Superior Peruvian Chicken in the Village

At Pardo’s, a Peruvian chicken chain, the secret is in the marinade. Brewed from a recipe developed at the source in Lima, it works its way deep into the bird, resulting in exceptionally flavorful meat. The chicken comes off the rotisserie moist and tender, with crisp, delicious skin. “Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good roast chicken,” notes jdmetz, “and this place came through big time.” Alongside the chicken come a couple of house-made sauces, of which the green peppercorn is the winner, says Benjamin68.

There’s more than roast chicken here. Hounds recommend yuquitas (yucca fries), chicharron (fried chicken with an unusually light cornmeal crust), garlicky, bacony stewed canario beans, and dense but refreshing flan for dessert. Parrillero (grilled chicken fillet), anticuchos (grilled beef heart), fried rice, and a handful of other sides round out the short menu.


Pardo’s [West Village]
92 7th Ave. S., near Grove St., Manhattan
212-488-3900
Locater

Board Links

Pardo’s chicken–Just as good as now-defunct El Pollo
The Best (Peruvian) Rotisserie Chicken–Pardo’s
New Peruvian Chicken Place in West Village

Exit Bar Minnow, Enter Brooklyn Burger Bar

Bar Minnow, a once-promising Park Slope seafood house, has finally gone under after months of decline. In its place is Brooklyn Burger Bar, which appears to be struggling in its opening weeks. Assessments of the food range from tasty to just awful, and service sounds like amateur hour. One bright spot: the black and white shake, tasty and enormous, with just the right ratio of chocolate syrup to vanilla ice cream, reports redgirl.

In Astoria, Le Sans Souci has closed, ending a two-year run of solid bistro fare, friendly service, and live jazz. Kitchen turnover did the place in, according to the owner. “It is sad to see this happen,” laments bebe.

Down on the Jersey Shore, Pearl of the Sea is no longer by the sea. Displaced by redevelopment from its oceanfront space, this hound-endorsed Portuguese restaurant has moved inland and rechristened itself Pearl of Lisbon. Still good, says jsfein: sangria, garlic shrimp, filet mignon, and bony but delicious whole snapper are as satisfying as ever.


Brooklyn Burger Bar [Park Slope]
formerly Bar Minnow
444 9th St., at 7th Ave., Brooklyn
718-832-5500
Map

Le Sans Souci [Astoria]
44-09 Broadway, Astoria, Queens
Map

Pearl of Lisbon [Monmouth County]
formerly Pearl of the Sea
609 Broadway, near Grand Ave., Long Branch, NJ
732-263-1050
Map

Board Links

Bar Minnow is now Brooklyn Burger Bar
Brooklyn Burger Bar: Uh Oh…
Did You Know Le Sans Souci in Astoria closed down?
Pearl of Lisbon (formerly Pearl of the Sea), Long Branch

Shopsin’s Packs It In; and Other New York News

Shopsin’s, the quirky grab-bag eatery in the Village, has closed its doors. After months of rumors and feints, it has sold its lease on Carmine Street. Chef-owner Kenny Shopsin plans to reopen in much smaller quarters in the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market, probably a sandwich stand with a drastically reduced version of the menu that once offered mac-and-cheese pancakes, Nigerian beef soup, and Georgia barbecued pork oatmeal, among several hundred other things. “Whatever Kenny does,” promises G4Gluttony, “I will follow him there for his prolific and mad scientist-like culinary chops.”

March, the elegant town house restaurant off Sutton Place, has also shut down, temporarily. Wayne Nish, co-owner and founding chef, is downscaling the menu, recasting the kitchen staff, and aiming to reopen sometime in January.

Inside, the cozy hideout on Jones Street, closed on New Year’s Eve. “We, along with many others in the neighborhood, loved their consistent food and generosity, and always felt at home there,” eulogizes erin07nyc.


Shopsin’s General Store [Lower East Side]
to open at…Essex Street Market, stall 16
120 Essex St., between Rivington and Delancey, Manhattan
Locater

March Restaurant [Sutton Place]
405 E. 58th St., between 1st Ave. and Sutton Pl., Manhattan
212-754-6272
Locater

Inside [Greenwich Village]
9 Jones St., between Bleecker and W 4th, Manhattan
Map

Board Links

Shopsins closing
Shopsin’s Closed for Good?
March closing–worth trying to go beforehand?
goodbye, Inside

N Love with Westport’s Ndulgence La Patisserie

Ndulgence is a welcome newcomer in Westport, especially now that the good bakeries in town seem to be dying off. Go for fruit tarts, buttery sugar cookies and linzers, or light, eggy rolls, suggests ClippyZ. The personable owner, Victor, is a veteran baker from Guatemala who also makes a haunting, anise-scented corona bread. He’s unusually liberal with free samples, too.


Ndulgence La Patisserie [Fairfield County]
1765 Post Rd. E., in Westfair Center, Westport, CT
203-255-2866
Locater

Board Links

New Fairfield/Westport, CT Bakery

Around New York, Steak Plus Sizzle in a Sandwich

If there’s a better steak sandwich in New York City than the one at Pastis, nychowgirl hasn’t heard about it. Expect a generous pile of sliced meat, sweet caramelized onions, melted Gruyere, and frisee on crusty bread. It’s on the menu from lunch through post-midnight supper.

At Westville, well-seasoned beef gets a boost from tasty yet mild horseradish mayonnaise. Alongside the sandwich comes a good-sized salad.

Mooncake Foods hollows out a baguette and fills it with grilled skirt steak plus roasted red peppers and fresh dill mayonnaise. The most delicious steak sandwich ever, declares bigjeff, who adds that it’s a steal at $6.50.

Sapa works in miniatures at happy hour, when it serves little bites of beef and onion marmalade on onion brioche. Tasty, tiny, and just $3 each, says thievery.

Others recommend the steak sandwiches at Chez Laurence, Schiller’s Liquor Bar, and Delmonico’s, whose several options include sliced sirloin on sourdough with three sauces, on the bar menu. In Brooklyn, there’s a hound-endorsed sandwich of grilled rib eye with mushrooms, onions, and roasted garlic on focaccia at Downtown Atlantic. It’s no longer on the menu, but they’ll still make it if you ask.


Pastis [West Village]
9 9th Ave., between W. 12th and 13th Sts., Manhattan
212-929-4844
Locater

Westville [Greenwich Village]
210 W. 10th St., between Bleecker and W. 4th Sts., Manhattan
212-741-7971
Locater

Mooncake Foods [Soho]
28 Watts St., at 6th Ave., Manhattan
212-219-8888
Locater

Sapa [Chelsea]
43 W. 24th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., Manhattan
212-929-1800
Locater

Chez Laurence [Midtown East]
245 Madison Ave., at E. 38th St., Manhattan
212-683-0284
Locater

Schiller’s Liquor Bar [Lower East Side]
131 Rivington St., at Norfolk, Manhattan
212-260-4555
Locater

Delmonico’s Restaurant [Financial District]
56 Beaver St., at William, Manhattan
212-509-1144
Locater

Downtown Atlantic Restaurant and Bakery [Flatbush]
364 Atlantic Ave., between Hoyt and Bond Sts., Brooklyn
718-852-9945
Locater

Board Links

Is there a better steak sandwich in NYC than the one at Pastis?

Hamburger Helper – Promising Newcomers in Fort Greene

Fort Greene hounds have flipped over the burgers at Mullane’s. They’re well seasoned, handmade, and cooked to a turn. Buffalo wings are authentically crispy, meaty, and spicy, reports upstate expat faprilano, who also recommends the house steak. Fish and chips are crisp and tasty but, some say, overpriced.

Just down the block, 67 Burger scores with its Blue Burger, says VocalLizzy. She loves its “hitting on all cylinders” combination of meaty richness, bacon smokiness, and blue cheese sharpness. Beyond burgers, hounds recommend chicken, grilled cheese, or turkey club sandwiches. But some find the prices too high and note that add-ons add up fast at 75 cents for jalapenos, $1 for cheese or sauteed onions, and $2 for bacon or avocado.


Mullane’s Bar and Grill [Fort Greene]
71 Lafayette Ave., between S. Elliott and Fort Greene Pl., Brooklyn
718-797-7606
Map

67 Burger [Fort Greene]
67 Lafayette Ave., at Fulton St., Brooklyn
718-797-7150
Locater

Board Links

Mullane’s Bar and Grill —Fort Greene Brooklyn
Brooklyn’s 67 Burger–More than burgers and all is yummy!

A Divine Doner Sandwich at Ali Baba

“I worship Berlin-style doner with red cabbage,” testifies jon, “and I’ve found a place here that has it.” He directs fellow believers to Ali Baba, which turns out a terrific version of the Turkey-by-way-of-Germany spit-grilled lamb sandwiches.

They’re the specialty at Kebap G, a takeout joint whose doner kebap on good hot pide bread will scratch the itch, even if it won’t make you forget Berlin, says TipsyMcStagger.


Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine [Murray Hill]
212 E. 34th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan
212-683-9206
Locater

Kebap G [Upper East Side]
1830 2nd Ave., between E. 94th and 95th Sts., Manhattan
212-860-5960
Map

Board Links

Shawarma

Kielbasa and Much More in Polish Greenpoint

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is naturally a rich hunting ground for Polish meats–but its bustling butcher shops can scare off outsiders who don’t know the turf or speak the language. ballulah (with an assist from Mom, who grew up in Krakow) shares some current favorites–and a few insider tips:

Sikorski: Greenpoint’s premier one-stop butcher, in ballulah’s book, is especially strong in sausage. Don’t miss superior biala kielbasa, the fresh white sausage that’s great in zurek (white borscht) or roasted with onions. And if they bring out a batch of roast schab (pork loin), follow your nose. “I challenge you not to buy a whole hunk fresh from the oven,” ballulah adds. “I can’t imagine a better smell in the world.” Also recommended: smoked spare ribs, kabanosy (thin air-dried sausage), pasztecik (a coarse, rustic pate), fresh slab bacon, krajana or wiejska kielbasa, and white horseradish (terrific with kielbasy). The staff is friendlier and more helpful than at many rival shops. Look for Andy, the jovial, red-faced butcher quick to pass out samples.

Steve’s Meat Market is a perennial favorite for first-rate meat and accommodating service. Recommended for any sausage, especially kabanosy–fresh, dried, or spicy, with powerful black pepper kick. KRS places Steve’s on top of the heap, right up with Kurowycky in the East Village.

Beata: Its rustic, double-smoked krajana sausage is just like what ballulah’s mom grew up with in Krakow. It’s available only late on Fridays and early on Saturdays.

W-Nassau Meat Market: This solid all-around butcher draws long lines for its well-priced fresh meats, including pork or veal cutlets and gorgeous whole cuts, which they’ll cube within seconds if you’re shopping for a stew or goulash. Parowki (large hot dog-shaped sausages) are exceptional, says ballulah, but other kielbasy and cold cuts show troubling signs of “liquid smoke” and other shortcuts.

Polam has delicious cold cuts, exceptional pickles, and fresh house-made ham studded with whole garlic cloves.

Hunting for meat sharpens the appetite, so you may want to drop in at Cafe Relax for a shopping break. Entrees (check out the handwritten menu above the counter) are typically enormous, served with two sides, and under $6. Try dill-laden zurek (white borscht) with hard boiled egg and mashed potato (dip small spoonfuls of the potato into the soup as you go). Other smart orders: pierogi (boiled or fried), nalesniki (stuffed crepes), potato pancakes, and pork or chicken cutlets. Among the sides, raw sauerkraut salad, mashed potatoes, buraczki (beets), and cucumber-sour cream salad are especially good.


Sikorski Meat Market [Greenpoint]
603 Manhattan Ave., between Nassau and Driggs, Brooklyn
718-389-6181
Map

Steve’s Meat Market [Greenpoint]
104 Nassau Ave., between Leonard and Eckford Sts., Brooklyn
718-383-1780
Locater

Kurowycky Meat Products [East Village]
124 1st Ave., between St. Marks Pl. and E. 7th St., Manhattan
212-477-0344
Locater

Beata Delicatessen [Greenpoint]
984 Manhattan Ave., between India and Huron Sts., Brooklyn
718-383-2534
Locater

W-Nassau Meat Market [Greenpoint]
915 Manhattan Ave., between Kent St. and Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn
718-389-6149
Locater

Polam International [Greenpoint]
952 Manhattan Ave., between Java and India Sts., Brooklyn
718-383-2763
Locater

Cafe Relax [Greenpoint]
68 Newel St., near Nassau Ave., Brooklyn
718-389-1665
Locater

Board Links

Best kielbasa in Greenpoint