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

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

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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

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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

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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

Board Links

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