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Question about L'As de felafel and similar experiences

I'm going to be in Paris over passover (I'm not observant). Will L'As De Felafel be open? If not, are there are any alternatives, perhaps Lebanese?

And while I'm at it, I'd love to hear any recommendation for non-fancy options there, including Vietnamese, Lao, Moroccan, Antillean, etc.

Apr 07, 2014
JackS in France

Tasty new Mexican restaurant in Kensington

Just tried Catrin, which recently opened on East 7th Street, just north of Church Avenue. We started out with a simple chips and guac, which was a really pleasant surprise: flavorful, nicely-textured guac and chips that were mildly warmed. We then got an order of shrimp tacos with a chipotle mayo, which was very nice, and quesadillas, one with huitlacoche and one with chicharrones. I thought that the huitlacoche quesadilla was alright, the chicharrones quesadilla better. But the surprise of the meal was a Mexican-style hamburger, made with chorizo and garnished with Oaxacan cheese and avocado. I would definitely return to this place, particularly as the other taco options look good as well.

Jan 25, 2014
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Hamilton's

I'll agree that the other menu items haven't been fantastic, but the burgers I've had there (I live nearby too) have been truly delicious; flavorful and moist. Maybe I had them on a good night or your dining companions had them on a bad night, or maybe it's just a matter of taste. Also, their beer selection is quite good. Anyway, I wouldn't give up on them unless you try the burger, at least.

Oct 06, 2013
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Extraordinary goat taco at Chinantla in Bed-Stuy

Barbacoa tacos, that is, goat tacos, are fortunately not as hard to find as they once were. A couple of weeks ago I had a great one at the Red Hook soccer fields. I had an amazing one today at Chinantla, on Myrtle Avenue just east of Franklin Avenue. It came with a pleasantly chunky guac and a piquant chipotle salsa. But the goat was the highlight; it was fatty in best sense, and flavorful. My lunch companion loved it, too. She wasn't crazy about the carnitas taco we got, thinking it was too dry, but I liked it, albeit not as much as the goat.

Oct 05, 2013
JackS in Outer Boroughs
1

Great hamburger at Hamilton's in Windsor Terrace

Hamilton's, at the corner of East 4th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, has been open for less than a year. I live nearby and so I've eaten there several times and thought that the food was good-not-great, but it never occurred to me to order the burger. When I finally got around to it, I appreciated what I'd been missing ... it was moist and flavorful, complemented by fries that were also well-seasoned in a way to make the whole dish feel more like a pairing. They seem to pride themselves on a good beer selection, too. I don't remember the specific beer I got, but it was brewed in Queens and also went well with the burger. Great for when you've got that itch.

Aug 01, 2013
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Make Montreal memorable!

Good choice with Le Club Chasse et Peche. It's fantastic.

There's Schwartz's, of course, for outstanding smoked brisket, on Boulevard St. Laurent. Further north from Schwartz's on the same street is Le Comptoir. It's probably not the season for their lobster tart, which is one of the best things I've ever tasted, but they're very good, kind of a pleasant surprise given that there's nothing particularly distinguishing about the exterior. The market at Jean-Talon is great, too. There's an oyster guy there who will treat you right, although I realize it might not be quite the season for that.

Jul 24, 2013
JackS in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Wheated, new pizza in Prospect Park South/Ditmas Park area

At the site of the sorely missed ice-cream spot NYC ICY on Church Avenue just east of Coney Island Avenue, Wheated opened up about a week ago. There must be an untapped market for more yuppie-ish cuisine in the neighborhood, because when my family went there tonight, it was pretty busy. It's not pizza by the slice, but more in a Franny's mode. Every pizza is named after a Brooklyn neighborhood. We ordered the "Brighton Beach," which was quite nice: super-thin crust, almost like a New Haven-style pie, with mozzarella, bacon, garlic, and peccorino. Other pizzas they offer are in a similar vein. I ordered a specialty cocktail with mezcal, which turned out to be a mistake, but I'm excited to see that they have a full bar.

I would add that this stretch of Church Avenue, where I lived for many years before moving a few blocks away a year ago, just sat dormant for a long time while other streets in the neighborhood, most notably Cortelyou, got a nice sprouting of interesting and tasty restaurants. That's started to change recently. AM Thai, a good-albeit-not-Sripraphai-level Thai place, is on the next block, Lark is a nice little coffeehouse also nearby, and a new Indian restaurant opened up at Church and Westminster. I would not necessarily make a special trip for these places, but it's a decent set of options if you happen to find yourself in the vicinity.

Jul 05, 2013
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Early Dinner near BAM?

I went to Berlyn last night, right across the street from BAM where Thomas Biesl used to be. We just went there because it was convenient, but we were pleasantly surprised by the food. A dandelion green salad was much better than salads usually are, maybe because it was liberally supplied with bacon and leeks. I drank a "Brooklyn," their version of a Manhattan, which was actually one of the better Manhattans I've drank, and our main course, a duck confit, wasn't as surprisingly good, but it was a standard-issue good-tasting duck confit. I'd definitely go again.

Jun 15, 2013
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Le Paddock in Windsor Terrace

I got weekend brunch here a couple of times, and assumed that it was the kind of place that gets posts on this board, but I was surprised to see that no one had posted about it. So I'll make the first stab.

The first time I got brunch there, I got a croque sandwich which was fine, nothing to write home about. The second time, though, I tried what they call a "breakfast pizza", which is more of an omelette in round form in a crust. Doesn't sound exciting, but they pack it with bacon, the right amount of feta cheese, and chili flakes for some heat. Pretty original, and delicious! I washed it down with a bloody Mary, which was also satisfying and good. I highly recommend this dish there.

Le Paddock is at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Reeve Place, near an entrance at the Fort Hamilton stop on the F/G line.

Apr 08, 2013
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Nish Nush, felafel in Tribeca

I just checked out Nish Nush, at the corner of Church Street and Reade. I don't know when it opened, but it seems to be new. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the felafel I ordered was. I'm normally not a huge felafel fan, but I ordered their "red hot chili", a spicy felafel. This was not light-hearted spiciness - it had a kick, but it was delicious and flavorful, stuffed in a fluffy pita with Israeli salad and some nice hummus. There are other items on the menu that look interesting, so I definitely recommend checking this place out.

Dec 27, 2012
JackS in Manhattan

Report from NYC visitor to SF

Last time I ate at PPQ was in September. That could explain it.

Apr 22, 2012
JackS in San Francisco Bay Area

Report from NYC visitor to SF

I just got back from a great trip to San Francisco. I was the most interested in food that’s harder to get on the East Coast. On top of that list is the burrito, which is what transplanted Californians here seem to miss the most.

We stayed in the Mission District, which felt a bit like ground zero for a burrito odyssey, although we ended up only going to two places, because the second one was good enough that we weren’t interested in gambling elsewhere. The first place we went was El Matete on Bryant between 22nd and 23rd, where we got pozole and a carnitas burrito. The pozole was a bit meh, but the burrito was yummy. Roosevelt Tamale Parlor, on 24th between Bryant and York, was better. I actually wasn’t crazy about the eponymous tamales, but the burritos were delicious and they had a great piquant chipotle salsa.

The other cuisine we were excited about was Burmese, which isn’t easy to find in NYC. We first went to Mandalay, on California between 5th and 6th Avenues in the Richmond. The dishes we got were nice but not mind-blowing: a ginger salad, a tea salad, and a lamb dish (I don’t remember what). What was much better was Yamo Noodles, a proverbial hole-in-the-wall place on 18th Street just west of Mission. There’s barely any room to sit in there, and we had to get our food to go, but it was sublime, probably the best meal of our trip. We got the house noodles with pork, the tea salad, and a summer roll, which were all blissfully flavorful.

We can get donuts on the East Coast, of course, but I think that California tends to be more artisanally-donut oriented. Dynamo Donuts, on 24th Street between York and Hampshire, had unfailingly tasty donuts, including maple bacon, my favorite.

The other sweet thing we indulged a lot was ice cream, which San Francisco seems to pride itself on, although I thought that some of it was overrated. Humphrey Slocombe, at 24th and Harrison, seemed to be more interested in wacky flavors (bourbon and cornflakes) than deliciousness. Joe’s, on Geary in the Richmond, was nothing special. Bi-rite, however, on 18th Street just east of Mission Dolores Park, was great. Even the vanilla was special there. I’d also add that I got salt peanut cookies there, which were amazingly tasty, achieving an optimal blend of sweet and salty.

The last California-specific treat was a visit to the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building. Now, we do have good farmer’s markets in New York, but you just can’t get things like oranges and strawberries there. A graze through the farmer’s market is well worth it, although I was disappointed in a sausage sandwich at one of the stands there. Hog Island Oysters is also located at the Ferry Building, and it’s a treat if you like oysters.

We checked out PPQ, a Vietnamese restaurant on Clement Street in the Richmond District, for their crab dish bathed in garlic, which we loved on a prior trip to San Francisco, although for some reason it didn’t feel so special this time around. The same goes for the spring rolls in vermicelli there. I don't know if they've gone downhill or we were just there on an off-day.

For an upscale meal, we went to Commonwealth, on Mission just south of 18th Street, and ordering the tasting menu. I was pleasantly surprised at how flexible they were about a substitution I wanted to make with it, and the food was really tasty.

We also got a Sunday brunch at Star Belly in the Castro on 18th Street, which was fine for stuff like pancakes and bacon for when you that kind of thing. FWIW, I drank a lovely mimosa there, too.

I also got a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich from Luccia’s at 22nd and Valencia which wasn’t anything to write home about.

Finally, I got a very tasty meal at Gajalee, a Goan restaurant on Valencia between 16th and 17th Street. I’m not so savvy as to the distinction between Goan food and most the dishes one finds in Indian restaurants in the U.S., and just ordered lamb vindaloo and a shrimp thali, which were both spicy and non-greasy.

I probably didn’t go to places that most SF ‘hounds don’t already know of, but I’m hoping that this report can be helpful for out-of-towners looking for a good sample of SF chow.

Apr 21, 2012
JackS in San Francisco Bay Area

Mi Pueblito near Yankee Stadium

I'm late responding to this post, but I love this place (until this week, I worked nearby). The tacos con suadero (goat) were delicious.

Nov 10, 2011
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Lunch at Emilia's on Arthur Avenue

Had lunch at Emilia's on Arthur Avenue yesterday, which is around 186th Street. The best thing about the lunch was an appetizer that they have, a zucchini-flower-and-prosciutto fritter. It's amazing in that cusp-of-crispiness-and-doughiness that a good fritter has. I got the gnocchi as a main course, which was good. The meatball it came with was a bit meh, but the gnocchi itself was nice and fluffy.

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Emilia's
2331 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10458

Nov 05, 2011
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Jamaican food and ice cream on Governor's Island

Went to Governor's Island today and, near the weird mini golf course, got some Jamaican food from Veronica's, the vendor who has the concession there. It was pretty great. The jerk chicken didn't skimp on the spice at all and was very flavorful. The ginger beer I had was pretty impressively spicy, too. My wife got oxtail, which was sumptuous. The sides weren't as spectacular, but got the job done; I tried the mac n' cheese, rice and beans, and collard greens.

For dessert, we got Blue Marble Ice Cream near the Southern part of the island. The people I was with got a lot of flavors, but the butter pecan was the best. It actually was really ... buttery.

Jun 05, 2011
JackS in Manhattan

Really good tacos in the South Bronx

Lately I've been lunching at Mi Pueblita, on 167th Street just west of Grand Concourse (between the 167th stops on the D and 4 lines). I got the torta first, which was pretty good - packed full of the usual stuff, including a nice jalapeno, but nothing spectacular. Lately, I've been eating the tacos, and they're really good. My favorites are suadero (goat) and carnitas. They're delicious with cilantro and onion, and you can douse them with guac and red/green sauce to your taste. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a try.

Feb 01, 2011
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges, Del Posto, or Corton? Or something else?

Thanks for responding to my inquiry, but I have to respectfully disagree about generalized statements about "high-end restaurants with well-established reputations." Some such restaurants may have better qualities than others for partcular circumstances. Some may have "well-established reputations" based upon the past rather than present conditions, and some are just overrated. Partly for reasons having to do with time and partly for reasons having to do with money, I don't get to eat at restaurants like this very often, so when I do I want to assure that it's going to be worth it (which has not always been the case in my past experiences at high-end restaurants). I have consistently found the collective chowhound community to be the most trustworthy source of information toward this end, by the way, so I appreciate your tip about EMP and any others that might be posted.

Oct 01, 2010
JackS in Manhattan

Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges, Del Posto, or Corton? Or something else?

A couple of us husbands are taking our wives with birthdays a day apart out for dinner together, and I wanted to scope the opinion of chowhounders on the choices in the subject line - if you had to pick one of those, where would you go? "Fabulousness" was requested, and deliciousness is of course a top concern. Thanks!

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Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Del Posto
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

Corton
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Sep 30, 2010
JackS in Manhattan

Senegalese in Staten Island, near the ferry (and a question about the neighborhood)

I had lunch today at Mai, a Senegalese restaurant in Staten Island on Victory Blvd. near Corson. I didn't have high expectations, but I was curious about the place and hadn't had Senegalese good for many months, so I checked it out. I was very pleasantly surprised. I got a dish called "debe," a grilled lamb dish that came dressed with onions and a lemony sauce -- not like yassa, but more subtle. It also came with a fiery hot sauce (I like spicy food) and a side of sweet plaintains. At the owner's recommendation, I also got a homemade ginger drink that was kind of like ginger beer, which was also quite good. My one complaint is that the lamb meat was tougher than I usually like it, but it so flavorful that it wasn't a big deal.

Incidentially, this area (Tompkinsville, I guess) seems to have a remarkably diverse array of cuisines: besides the Senegalese food I ate, I saw Polish, Italian, Trinidadian, and Mexican restaurants, and I've eaten Sri Lankan food a few blocks down Victory Blvd. I wonder if anyone has any recommendations as to the other options in the area.

Mar 03, 2010
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Rincon, Puerto Rico

My family and I will be vacationing in Rincon next week. I've searched this board and haven't come up with too much, and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations (for anything, as long as it's delicious; from take-out carts to upscale and everything in between). Thanks.

Feb 28, 2010
JackS in Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican food on Church Ave? Kensington?

My favorite Mexican in the area is Mexico Lindo y q Rico, on Coney Island avenue just south of Church (actually, south of where Church and Albemarle almost run into each other). On weekends, they have delicious barbacoa (goat) tacos, but the tacos al pastor are not bad, either. They also have a great breakfast dish, "huevos divorcios," or "divorced eggs," which consists of two eggs, one in green sauce and one in red. Not bad for a place that looks like a nondescript deli from the outside.

La Huasteca, on Church between Westminster and Argyle, isn't as good, and it's pricier. My favorite thing about La huasteca is the caldo de pollo, or chicken soup, which is hearty as heck and great if you're sick.

Tauqeria Poblano, on Church Ave around East 8th Street is iffy. I used to love their cemitas (sandwiches with melted white cheese on them), but sometimes they're off. The tacos there are usually pretty reliable, though.

Los Palmeras, on Church between Stratford and East 10th, confuses me. Sometimes it actually seems like a restaurant and carries food -- which isn't bad -- and sometimes it seems more like a bar without the license and they don't seem particularly interested in serving food.

There are other places in the neighborhood I haven't made it to yet, like Gavilan on Church and East 5th, or Guadalapana (I think I got the name wrong) on Coney Island Avenue and Albemarle, just south of Mexico Lindo y q rico.

btw, I think of Kensington as being west of Coney Island Avenue and Prospect Park South as east of Coney Island Avenue.

Feb 08, 2010
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Anyone been to the new Montreal Smoked Meat deli in Brooklyn, called "MILE END" ????

I find the whole tenor of this comment thread to be rather odd. One of the things that I love about chowhound is the focus on deliciousness. Issues like service and price aren't irrelevant, but they've consumed the thread here in a manner that strikes me as way disproportionate the the issues at hand.

For me, the bottom line is that the lunch I had at Mile End yesterday was delicious. Moreover, they're selling a product that I can't find elsewhere in NYC, so I really hope that they succeed. In a city where so many delicious restaurants go under, and so many mediocre ones survive, I find it hard to begrudge one that both serves delicious food and has hyped itself to the point where their supply is having trouble keeping up with the demand.

You often see this come up in discussions about DiFara's, where you get a superlatively delicious product via a pretty dysfunctional service model. Having once contributed to complaints about DiFara's service, I'm sympathetic with the gripes of people who couldn't get the smoked meat they were expecting, but one important difference is that Dominic Demarco is set in his ways and unlikely to change, while the owners of Mile End are just starting out and have a lot of room to adapt.

The other beef with this place (sorry) is the $8 price for a sandwich, which I also find odd. My office is located in the financial district, where sandwiches of vastly lower quality go for comparable prices. I can't see how $8 for a unique-to-NYC, delicious sandwich is so out of line, especially when NYC is filled with restaurants that have entrees that easily exceed that amount that don't come close in terms of taste. (I certainly don't mean to trivialize anyone's economic situation if they really can't afford something; I'm just comparing Mile End to common dining-out prices around town.) Indeed, the Econ 101 guy in me says that if the supply of smoked meat isn't enough to meet the demand, then the price will naturally rise. To return to a DiFara's comparison, slices there are a lot more expensive then anywhere else, but well worth it, and still a lot less than a regular meal out at a restaurant where you're likely to get much less tasty food.

It bears noting that pastrami sandwiches at Katz's (which I also think are delicious, btw) go for something like $15. Granted, the sandwiches there are bigger, but beyond a certain point one hits the law of diminishing returns anyway; there's only so much one can eat before one's stomach starts to eat. That goes double for the monstrosities at Carnegie Deli, who seem to plow everything their food lacks in quality into sheer, oppressive quantity. Granted, your mileage will vary depending on your individual appetites, but my humble, subjective judgment was that the Mile End sandwich was not unduly small by any stretch.

Feb 03, 2010
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Anyone been to the new Montreal Smoked Meat deli in Brooklyn, called "MILE END" ????

Well, I tried it this afternoon and liked it a lot. I've been to Montreal once and felt bummed that I couldn't get smoked meat in NYC. Mile End fires up those neurons in me; the meat was smoky, moist, and tender. Unlike some other commenters, I was fine with the size of the sandwich; I was plenty full by the time I was done. I don't have much use for Carnegie-Deli-style monster-sized sandwiches myself.

Feb 02, 2010
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Madina, Bangladeshi in Kensington

When I first tried Madina, Bangladeshi take-out (with an eat-in option) at Coney Island Ave & Beverly Road, I didn't like it, but it's grown on me over the years. I got delivery from there twice in the last couple of weeks and it's gotten better. The samosa chat stands out for me as a delicious combination of spices with a hint of sweetness, vaguely reminiscient of back-in-the-day Mina. The palak paneer (cheese and spinach) doesn't scale Mina heights, but it's still quite good. I also got a lamb dish (forgot which one, sorry) that I liked a lot as well, with a nice tender lamb in a spicy sauce.

In light of the sad demise of Paradise East, a rare bright light in the otherwise uninspired Pakistani dining choices along Coney Island Avenue, it's nice to have good South Asian in the neighborhood.

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Madina
563 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218

Feb 01, 2010
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Good pizza in Bensonhurst

Went to J & V pizza on 18th Avenue just south of the N stop this weekend (around 63rd street) and got a plain slice and round and square margherita slices. All were good, but the round margherita slices really stood out. There was a sumptuous bulkiness to them that packed in extra flavor. DiFara's is still my favorite in Brooklyn but if the thought of jockeying against a crowd for 45 minutes is too exhausting, it's nice to have this option available.

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J & V Pizzeria
6322 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

Feb 01, 2010
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Best Ice Cream in Brooklyn

Chalk me up as another fan of NYC ICY who's named Jack. To be technical about it, NYC ICY makes ices and "cream ices," which I guess us sherbet. They make some unique and awesome flavors, like mango basil ice, peanut butter/reese's pieces creamy ice (soudns gross, but it's heavenly), Mexican chocolate creamy ice (pretty spicy for ice cream), and more standard flavors that are done well, like cookies and cream or vanilla malt.

Jun 25, 2009
JackS in Outer Boroughs

In search of a REAL Israeli Grill...

I don't know how authentic these places are, nor if they will satisfy you, but there are two Sephardic restaurants in Brooklyn that I think are quite tasty, FWIW.

Olympic Pita on Coney Island Avenue between Avenue J & Avenue K has a range of kebabs and an even bigger range of salads, which are quite sumptuous and delicious. I believe that they're Iraqi/Israeli, although I'm not sure.

Famous Pita on Coney Island Avenue around Ditmas is my favorite place for falafel. After you get it (with a shmear of hummus), there's a brimming salad bar where you can help yourself to falafel trimmings.

This may not be totally on point for your request, but as I said, these places are quite tasty. Good luck!

Oct 21, 2008
JackS in Outer Boroughs

New in Ditmas Park -- Top Cafe Tibet

I went there last night and loved it. The beef momos are simple -- just beef dumplings -- but quite good. I got the chili pork, which had a nice texture and flavor. I'd recommend getting with the tingmo (steamed bread) rather than the rice; the tingmo was a good medium to soak up the flavors. They also had a very spicy sauce that you could add on (I'm under the impression that spiciness isn't really native to Tibet, but what the heck, it tasted really good). We also got a tsel-something (I forgot the second word) that was a fried vegetable patty, basically, which also had a great texture.

I have to add that I've lived in this neighborhood for almost four years now, and the eating options have expanded much for the better in that time. Top Cafe Tibet, Farm on Adderley, Mexico Lindo y q Rico, Shayna's, NYC ICY, 2 B Thai, and Pomme de Terre have all opened within the past two or three years, and they've all been delicious additions to the local dining scene.

Sep 14, 2008
JackS in Outer Boroughs

NYC Icy in Kensington is open

First, a nitpick. East of Coney Island Avenue is more Ditmas Park or Prospect Park South than Kensington. But I digress. I'd like to add a rave for NYC ICY.

I live around the corner and have had a chance to sample multiple flavors and haven't come up with one I don't like yet. The mango basil ice is as refreshing as it sounds. The creamsicle ice cream actually tastes like a creamsicle in ice cream form (it sounds gross, but it tastes surprisingly good). They pull a similar trick with caramel-flavored ice cream. There's no caramel in there per se, and it looks like vanilla ice cream, but they somehow manage to make it taste like caramel.

I've also tried the vanilla malt ball (which I think I posted about previously), which was pretty good, the Mexican cocoa, which was pleasantly spicy, and the peanut-butter-snickers flavor, which again sounds gross but is actually quite sumptuous. I highly recommend this place.

May 28, 2008
JackS in Outer Boroughs

Speedy's update (Sunset Park Mexican)

Speedy's is on 4th Avenue between 59th & 60th Streets. I went there a few years ago on a recommendation from this board and liked it a lot. I checked it out again this past weekend. Since my first visit there, I've traveled to Oaxaca, so I was very interested in the Oaxaqueno tamale on the menu. While the tamale didn't particularly remind me of the tamales I had in Oaxaca, it was incredibly good: steamed to a velvety perfection and fiery spicy.

My dining companion and I also tried a quesadilla with corn fungus -- I forget what it's called, huitcochle or something like that -- which was good enough to get again, a taco al pastor, which was fine albeit short of sublime, and nice watermelon juice and horchata.

May 22, 2008
JackS in Outer Boroughs