New York rss

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

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

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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

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Best kielbasa in Greenpoint

Birds of a Feather – Yakitori Totto Hatches Torys

If you like Totto, you’ll like Torys. New York’s favorite yakitori-ya has spawned an East Side twin, taking over the upstairs space briefly occupied by Tori-gen. “Essentially Totto East,” sums up kenito799, who reports a similar menu that showcases every imaginable part of the chicken, faultlessly seasoned and grilled, from the familiar (thigh, wing, breast with green onion) to the exotic (breast bone). The latter is worth a try–smoky and crunchy, with surprising complexity of flavor and play of textures.

Other winners, well known to Totto fans, include tsukune (skewered ground chicken), deeply chickeny rice porridge, and meaty eringi (king oyster) mushroom. Torys sets itself apart by offering more Okinawan-inspired dishes than its sister restaurant. It also features chicken sashimi–seasoned with sesame oil or Korean-style spices–which Totto no longer serves. At both restaurants, the setting is spare and comfortable. The vibe is unmistakably Japanese.


Yakitori Torys, a.k.a. Torys Japanese Grille [Midtown East]
formerly Tori-gen
248 E. 52nd St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., 2nd floor, Manhattan
212-813-1800
Map

Yakitori Totto [Clinton]
251 W. 55th St., between 8th Ave. and Broadway, 2nd floor, Manhattan
212-245-4555
Locater

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Torys Yakitori on 52nd st
Best Yakitori

At Olive Tree, Lamb Shwarma Worth Waiting for

Olive Tree Cafe grills killer lamb shwarma, says Peter Cherches–but not all the time. It sells out fast, and they may not have more ready for hours. Around 1 p.m. is a good time to look for it.


Olive Tree Cafe [Greenwich Village]
117 MacDougal St., between W. 3rd and Bleecker Sts., Manhattan
212-254-3480
Locater

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Shawarma…

David’s Dairy Treat: They Couldn’t Believe it Was Yogurt

David’s makes fresh, delicious, deceptively creamy black raspberry yogurt. “We actually thought for years it was ice cream!” confesses potbelliedkiln. “This summer we found out we were eating yogurt the whole time.”


David’s Dairy Treat [Cortland County]
2609 State Rte. 26
Cincinnatus, NY 13040
607-863-4330
Locater

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Local Ice Cream Parlor in Westchester

Mac and Cheese with the Works – Chiles, Kielbasa, and More

A whiff of smoke makes all the difference at Waldy’s. Their wood oven is the secret to their excellent penne with Roquefort and croutons. It’s awesome stuff, declares jakew8, and relatively cheap at $7. Other baked-penne options: two cheddars, sausage-broccoli rabe, and mozzarella, tomato, and vodka.

Good gives macaroni and cheese a border spin, spiking it with green chile. Underneath its tortilla crust, it’s beautifully creamy and cheesy, says janethepain, avoiding the “baked top only with nothing but greasy cooked noodles on the bottom” pitfall.

At Home, tomatoes, fresh herbs. and a tangy mix of cheeses are the ticket, says FoodDemon. The version at nearby Deborah comes with or without turkey kielbasa, but either way it’s super, says cjthekid.

A Southern touch works wonders at Melba’s, whose Tres Macaroni and Cheese combines cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack, and Mama’s, which adds a welcome note of garlic.

More hound-endorsed mac and cheese can be found at City Bakery, Artisanal, Ditch Plains, Schiller’s Liquor Bar, Blue Smoke, and Virgil’s.

And in Brooklyn, the bewitching version at DuMont and DuMont Burger has hounds thinking unlikely thoughts. “I could give myself a facial in the DuMac and Cheese,” muses awesomechoi.


Waldy’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Penne [Chelsea]
800 6th Ave., between W. 27th and 28th Sts., Manhattan
212-213-5042
Locater

Good [Greenwich Village]
89 Greenwich Ave., at Bank St., Manhattan
212-691-8080
Locater

Home Restaurant [Greenwich Village]
20 Cornelia St., between Bleecker and W. 4th, Manhattan
212-243-9579
Locater

Deborah [Greenwich Village]
43 Carmine St., between Bleecker and Bedford, Manhattan
212-242-2606
Locater

Melba’s Restaurant [Harlem]
300 W. 114th St., at Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Ave.), Manhattan
212-864-7777
Locater

Mama’s Food Shop [East Village]
200 E. 3rd St., just west of Ave. B, Manhattan
212-777-4425
Locater

City Bakery [Flatiron]
3 W. 18th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., Manhattan
212-366-1414
Locater

Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro [Murray Hill]
2 Park Ave. (entrance on 32nd St.), Manhattan
212-725-8585
Locater

Ditch Plains [Greenwich Village]
formerly Yumcha
29 Bedford St., at Downing, Manhattan
212-633-0202
Locater

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

Blue Smoke [Gramercy]
116 E. 27th St., between Lexington and Park Aves., Manhattan
212-447-7733
Locater

Virgil’s Real Barbecue [Times Square]
152 W. 44th St., between Broadway and 6th Ave., Manhattan
212-921-9494
Locater

DuMont [Williamsburg]
432 Union Ave., between Devoe St. and Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn
718-486-7717
Locater

DuMont Burger [Williamsburg]
314 Bedford Ave., between S. 1st and 2nd Sts., Brooklyn
718-384-6127
Locater

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Best mac and cheese?

Near Hartford’s Airport, Jumbo Grinders Good to Go

Mammoth meat-and-cheese sandwiches, made fresh, are the draw at Second Poquonock Giant Grinder. The Italian combo is stuffed with an inch-and-a-half-thick layer of provolone, ham, and salami–sliced just before they build the sandwich, reports satisfied customer gordon wing.

“A massive sandwich–I could feel the heft when I picked it up,” he adds–and that’s the half grinder, an eight-incher that costs just $5.65. The full-size model measures 16 inches and costs $11.30. “You’d have to be starving to tackle that one,” Gordon advises. Also on the menu: pizza, salads, fried chicken, meatballs, and more.

If you’re flying out of nearby Bradley International, a grinder would make a great pre-travel option. Just don’t try to bring one onto the plane if you’re close to the weight limit.


Second Poquonock Giant Grinder [Hartford County]
75 Old County Rd., between Denslow St. and Halfway House Rd., Windsor Locks, CT
860-623-9435
Locater

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Giant Grinder Shop near Bradley International Airport

Pizzabolla: Solid Neighborhood Italian on the Upper West Side

Upper West Side hounds don’t often talk about Pizzabolla, but what they say is heartening. Pizzas are fine, but pastas and salads come in for special praise. “Don’t be scared off by the checkered tablecloths,” advises theannerska, who promises that this is no tired red-sauce joint. “The food is fantastic.”

Well-executed standards include lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and pasta carbonara. Salads–chopped, chef’s, Caesar, spinach-mushroom, arugula-roasted garlic–are fresh and big enough to be main courses, especially when ordered with grilled chicken. Michele4466 loves the vegetarian antipasto plate (provolone, fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, mushrooms, artichoke, grilled eggplant, roasted peppers and onions)–a ton of food for $8. The wine list is short and affordable, featuring decent Italian choices. Service is warm and efficient.


Pizzabolla [Upper West Side]
654 Amsterdam Ave., at W. 92nd St., Manhattan
212-579-4500
Locater

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Seeking dinner place (with specifications) in 80s/90s/ UWS

From Mediterranean to Mexican in Queens, All Before Lunch

At Astoria’s Cafe Bar, the Mediterranean Breakfast is scrambled eggs with scallions and olives or onion and tomato, according to the menu. Menus can lie. “The cook seems to want to throw in extras, like asparagus, leeks, whatever he’s got around,” says Monkey Man Jake. With the accompanying toasted pita, tahini, and tzatziki, it’s a surprising morning feast.

In Sunnyside, the Rose serves up an authentic and well-made Irish breakfast that bests rival versions in Manhattan, says lindoca. A familial connection with the well-regarded Butcher Block assures a supply of high-quality sausage, rashers, and black and white puddings.

Mexican favorite De Mole offers a short breakfast menu of four or five choices. One good one: eggs with chorizo, rice, beans, tortillas, coffee, and fantastic cinnamon-scented hot chocolate. The eggs can come out under-seasoned, but a splash of house-made green salsa will make things right, says chefcoleman.

At Jahn’s in Jackson Heights, JH Hill’s occasional indulgence is chocolate chip pancakes–nice and moist and extremely satisfying.


Cafe Bar [Astoria]
32-90 36th St., between 34th Ave. and Broadway, Astoria, Queens
718-204-5273
Locater

Rose Restaurant [Sunnyside]
44-07 Queens Blvd., between 44th and 45th Sts., Sunnyside, Queens
718-784-0745
Locater

Butcher Block [Sunnyside]
41-12 Queens Blvd., between 41st and 42nd Sts., Sunnyside, Queens
718-784-1078
Map

De Mole [Sunnyside]
formerly El Jarro
45-02 48th Ave., at 45th St., Sunnyside, Queens
718-392-2161
Locater

Jahn’s [Jackson Heights]
81-04 37th Ave., between 81st and 82nd Sts., Jackson Heights, Queens
718-651-0700
Locater

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Breakfast Lover in Queens

Chinatown Brasserie: Dressed-Up Dim Sum and More

Chinatown Brasserie, a posh palace thick with self-consciously uber-Chinese decor, seems to be the kind of restaurant that chowhounds love to trash. But there’s some great upscale Chinese chow here, thanks in part to a dim sum master lured away from Brooklyn’s well-regarded World Tong.

“Chinatown Brasserie is all that!” marvels Pan. “Best dim sum I’ve had outside of Asia, and certainly the best in New York.” Chef Joe Ng, who won a following for his fresh, inventive dim sum in Bensonhurst, offers a pared-down selection in Soho, but it’s first-rate. It’s also pricey, costing several times what you’d pay in most Chinese restaurants. Highlights include steamed roast duck-shrimp dumplings, crispy taro root shrimp, and pork-and-crab soup dumplings (“heavenly, delectable morsels of yumminess,” sighs Dandel). Flavors are vivid–fresh chive notes sing out in shrimp-chive dumplings, for example–and occasionally surprising, like the kaffir lime that accents delicious pan-fried curried chicken dumplings.

Beyond dim sum, the menu offers mostly Chinese-American standards–overseen by a different chef–and they’re surprisingly good. xavier credits top-quality ingredients and unusually skillful prep work. Recommended: crispy orange beef, Peking duck, kung pao chicken, roast duck spring rolls, dry-sauteed string beans with roast pork. These dishes, like the dim sum plates, are more expensive than average; prices run from the high teens to the high $20s.

But you’re paying in part for the scene, and some don’t mind that. “Chinatown Brasserie is one of the few Chinese restaurants with a hip ambience and upscale decor,” observes Dandel.

So what’s going on back at World Tong under chef Ng’s replacement? Regulars say dim sum is still better than average, though not quite as good as before. bolletje reports a recent lunch of familiar favorites–shumai, shrimp-stuffed eggplant, beef rice noodle rolls, green sesame balls–plus some new winners, including fresh, juicy pan-fried dumplings filled with shrimp, pork, and greens. Generally, steamed items are as good as ever; fried items seem to have slipped. And–who knew?–they serve delicious coffee, bolletje adds.


Chinatown Brasserie [East Village]
formerly Time Cafe
380 Lafayette St., between Great Jones and E. 4th Sts., Manhattan
212-533-7000
Locater

World Tong Seafood Restaurant [Bensonhurst]
6202 18th Ave., at 62nd St., Brooklyn
718-236-8118
Map

Board Links

Chinatown Brasserie is all that!
Weekend Review- WD-50, Chinatown Brasserie long
Chinatown Brasserie —Pricey, but good
Chinatown Brasserie
World Tong review