Woodside Al's Profile

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Clementes in Sheepshead Bay

Clemente's is a crab house. Why would you order anything else?

For lobster in that area you should go to Jordan's. But it's a place for steamed whole lobsters. I wouldn't order a taco there either.

Jul 15, 2012
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Portofino on City Island

You should contact Groupon. They don't take very kindly to businesses unilaterally changing the terms of their agreements with them. Especially since, because of the way Groupons work, you are already a paying customer.

As a side note, I wonder how all of those restaurants on City Island stay in business. I've never had a decent meal out there, and I have run into some of the rudest and most uncaring and entitled staff behavior I've ever experienced in NYC.

Jul 15, 2012
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

name 5 overrated, or over hyped or famous restaurants whose food doesn't live up to reputation

I'm not saying that Shake Shack is expensive. It's obviously cheaper (albeit not a whole lot, once you take into account that everything at SS is a la carte) than my favorite real burgers at places like Donovan's and Molly's. I'm saying that Shake Shack is expensive for a fast food quality meal that is only better than other fast food (worse in the case of those fries) by a matter of degrees. Especially since they are essentially serving exactly the same food I used to get at the DQ Brazier when I was unfortunate enough to live in Michigan.

It's not that I think Shake Shack's food is terrible or inedible either. But all that hype for what is essentially a glorified McDonalds stamped with the imprimatur of a famous chef/proprietor, strikes me as the very essence of over-hyped. Selling a sleekly packaged updated nostalgia for someone's suburban teenage hangout - with pretty much exactly the same food - seems to me a very serious triumph of style over substance.

Apr 26, 2012
Woodside Al in Manhattan

name 5 overrated, or over hyped or famous restaurants whose food doesn't live up to reputation

If Shake Shack was in Cleveland it would be a decent alternative to the Dairy Queen Brazier to take the kids to. Shake Shack in Manhattan though just seems like an over-hyped, over-priced, and barely OK DQ Brazier knock-off with insanely long lines.

I just don't get the attraction at all, and never have. It just seems like high priced and not particularly special fast food to me. Like a little bit of an essentially suburban experience made slightly 'hip' (and significantly more expensive) to sell to people in Manhattan. And those fries, which taste just like the ones from the Ore-Ida bag my mother kept in the freezer back when I was 12, are especially egregious.

Now that they've popped up everywhere, I would think that they will soon lose whatever cachet they once had when it was only available from that cute little stand in the park.

Apr 25, 2012
Woodside Al in Manhattan

Shake Shack in Madison Square Park discontinues ice cream sundaes

Too bad, they were easily the best thing at that glorified DQ Brazier.

Apr 16, 2012
Woodside Al in Manhattan

Passover in Brooklyn

This is a question that would almost certainly be better addressed on the Kosher board. I do know that pretty much all of the restaurants in the very orthodox areas like Crown Heights close for the entirety of Passover.

Mar 13, 2012
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Japanese Restaurants in Park Slope

It's not actually run by Japanese people. Most restaurants that call themselves "Japanese" in NYC are actually run by Chinese or Koreans. Some of these are OK, a lot serve a pretty notably non-Japanese, and often woefully mis-prepared, version of "Japanese" food.

Mar 06, 2012
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Decent Bagels in Jackson Heights?

I forgot about that place. Went there only once not too long after they opened and it took so them so long to take and execute simple orders from the people in line in front of me, and they seemed to be operating in such a state of deep confusion, that I left without getting anything after nearly 20 minutes of waiting. I sort of wrote them off as amateur night, figured they wouldn't last long, and forgot about them (seemed more like a Middle Eastern deli with some bagels than an actual NY bagel joint too). Glad to see that they've lasted though, and hopefully they've ironed out the service problems. I'll go back over there and give them another shot some day soon.

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Juju's Bagel Cafe
35-62 76th St, Queens, NY 11372

Nov 23, 2011
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Queens!!!

"I don't think queens has much to offer."

This is a joke, right? Queens has the widest diversity of restaurants available in the eastern U.S. If there's a country whose food you wish to sample just name it, and you're pretty likely to find it somewhere in the vast area of this borough. I've been here nearly a decade now and there are still whole neighborhoods and whole cuisines I haven't really explored yet.

Nov 22, 2011
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Decent Bagels in Jackson Heights?

Nope. There's a sort of OK place in Woodside at 58th St. and Woodside next to the McDonalds. Better places up in Astoria and off Queens Blvd. much further to the east. But that's about it. Just no population to support such a thing in JH.

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Bagels Plus
57-20 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11377

Nov 22, 2011
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

A pseudo hipster moving to Jackson Heights

If by "diverse" you mean ethnically diverse, then this is the place. There's almost certainly no other place on the planet Earth as ethnically diverse as the Jackson Heights/Woodside/Elmhurst area, with as wide a diversity of food on offer. And if that isn't enough, a short ride on the 7 train or the E/F/R trains will take you to nearby areas with other, different, ethnicities and other ethnic culinary delights. And many of these restaurants are better and less expensive than what you would find in Manhattan or Brooklyn (including a significant amount of stuff you'd never find there), and served by very friendly people. I lived in Williamsburg and the south Slope, but when I found those areas becoming both too homogeneous and ridiculously expensive I moved here, and I've never been sorry I did.

But be aware these are working class areas mostly populated by people with full time jobs (or 2) or running businesses, and often with large extended families. Other than some small places like Espresso 77, or the occasional Starbucks, cafe culture has never really taken off here. Irish bar culture in Woodside, yes, and Hispanic and Asian drinking culture in JH and Elmhurst, yes, including some cool places like Terraza. But sitting around in cafes writing is simply not something most folks around here would think of doing or would have the time to do.

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Espresso 77
3557 77th St, Queens, NY 11372

Terraza
40-19 Gleane St, Queens, NY 11373

Nov 22, 2011
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Can you get Birria in New York?

Tia Julia at Roosevelt and 68th has had it recently. Look for the sign stating "birria de chivo" in the window.

Jan 29, 2010
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Anything good to eat for lunch today around 27th and 5th?

There's nothing right there, since that corner is at the edge of the cemetery in a mostly industrial neighborhood. But, as stated above, what I believe is NYC's only Slovakian restaurant, Milan's, is a few blocks north at 22nd St. The bodega at the corner of 23rd and 5th makes pretty good tortas, but there's nowhere to sit there.

Also as noted above, a few blocks south on 5th, in the 40s, is Brooklyn's main Mexican strip, which also has many Central/South American places as well. A search here should give you some idea of places to go down there. I always liked Tacos Matamoros near 45th St. back when I lived around there.

Mar 28, 2009
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Cuy...Guinea Pig...Ecuadorian Delicacy

Viveros are pretty limited in what they are allowed to butcher in NYC. The whole cuy thing has been a bit of a problem with the NYC DOH.

Mar 12, 2009
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Best Irish Soda Bread in Sunnyside/Woodside/Maspeth

Most of the Irish food places in these neighborhoods have disappeared as the area's population has become progressively less Irish with the back-migration to Ireland. Shane's bakery, which had great soda bread, on 61st St. in Woodside was a notable casualty a few years ago. The little Italian bakery on Roosevelt just past the LIRR viaduct that Grisaille describes, which is called V&V, does carry soda bread that comes from somewhere else (used to be Shane's). It's pretty good if you get it fresh.

Butcher Block in Sunnyside behind the Burger King is one of the remaining Irish businesses in the area, and they may know where else you could find it.

Mar 12, 2009
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Sunnyside Empanadas?

Definitely agree on El Buen Sabor. Their Columbian style empanadas are better than the nearby specialty empanada shops, and their lunch stuff - especially the very hearty soups - is pretty good too. Not much English spoken, but very nice people.

Feb 03, 2009
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Dallas Jones BBQ, BK Heights

This is the same crappy chain from the West Village, isn't it? If so, it's just slightly better than those weirdly overcrowded, similarly named, Dallas BBQ places all over Manhattan. It's like some bad NYers idea of barbecue, not smoked and with a cloyingly overly sweet sauce. Fortunately, after the recent "barbeque boom" there are a few better - still not great but better - barbecue places elsewhere in the city now.

Nov 11, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Prime Ribs - JH's Vicinity

I can't think of any. Prime rib not really a very popular item in NYC. You'll see "rib chops" or ribeye often, but very rarely prime rib the way I, being from the midwest originally, would think of it. Other than Luger's (and only at lunch there) I can't really think of another good place that serves it.

Sep 23, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Best Sandwich in Slope/Carroll Gardens?

One of the least friendly stores it's ever been my displeasure to enter in NYC. The store looks dusty and mostly abandoned. The guy behind the bare counter stood there reading a paper, looked at me when I walked in, then went back to reading his paper. When I said "Hi, can I get a sandwich?" he looked up and literally stared at me silently for about two minutes while I stood there. When I asked him again if I could get a sandwich he answered "what kind?" When I volunteered "I don't know, maybe something like chicken parm or meatball?," he replied "No" and went back to reading his paper. I stood there for another few seconds and left.

Sep 20, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Salt Pork — Where Can I Buy It in Brooklyn?

Most supermarkets in the borough's African-American neighborhoods carry it.

Sep 15, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Taste of Jackson Heights - Sat, 9/13

OK, found the location information, which was pretty well-hidden on a website, and doesn't seem to be in the press release (way to advertise your event folks!):

Sat. 9/13, 12-4 PM
The Garden School Courtyard
33-16 79th Street
between 34th Ave. & Northern Blvd.

Sep 09, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Taste of Jackson Heights - Sat, 9/13

Where is it? Is it at St. Mark's church on 34th Ave. again?

Sep 09, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Best Sandwich in Slope/Carroll Gardens?

Defontes is on Columbia St. in Red Hook, a couple blocks south of the Battery Tunnel entrance. They do indeed make a fine sandwich, particularly a great roast beef. It's near, but not in, the above-named neighborhoods. Open until 3 or 4, closed Sundays.

Sep 04, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

What neighborhood is this, and where to eat?

The neighborhood is Midwood. One thing you should be aware of is that this is a largely orthodox Jewish community. Almost all of the stores and restaurants will be closed from late Friday afternoon through Saturday (DiFara's is an obvious exception). Ave. J is the main shopping/dining strip for this community.

Coney Island Ave. (or CIA as its often called here) is a multi-ethnic strip with many Middle-Eastern and South Asian places on it, from Turkish to Bengladeshi, in addition to the above-mentioned Israeli style falafel places.

Despite the recommendations here, Sunset Park is not very easily reachable from the area you'll be in, since it's over on the other side of the borough. The Q and B trains that run through the area you'll be in though do go directly to some interesting places with cheaper eats, like the Mexican and West Indian areas around Church Ave., the Middle Eastern strip on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn, and Manhattan's Chinatown to the north - as well as Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum and Botanical Gardens. To the south they go to the Russian neighborhood of Brighton Beach (where the restaurant food is generally not cheap, but the stores have some great stuff) and Coney Island.

Coney Island is one of my favorite places in the NYC, and in my view well worth a visit. In fact, go now while you can still see a multi-ethnic and multi-racial crowd of regular NYers having fun having a hot dog or two, some nice clams on the half shell, and a cold beer, while enjoying a day at the boardwalk and the beach, because the usual suspects want to tear it all down and yuppify the place for the big $$ crowd asap.

Sep 03, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Pete's Grill in Sunnyside, is this still good?

It's a diner, and pretty much like any other diner/coffee shop in the NYC area. Don't order anything too fancy, and don't anticipate greatness in any way, and you should be OK. It's similar to, but a little better than, nearby NY Eats, and has the advantage of going 24 hours.

Late night food quality tends to decline everywhere, because the freshness of the ingredients declines, stuff that's pre-cooked gets old, and the better cooks don't work the late late shift. I generally just order eggs when eating really late.

Sep 03, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Street vendor question...

Sammy's has been there year-round in the past. But a lot of the Jackson Heights & Woodside carts either go away entirely for the winter, or skip the really cold days. The enclosed carts like Sammy's and the taco trucks tend to tough it out though.

Jul 19, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Difference between Whisky & Scotch ?

Simplest answer is that there is no difference between "Scotch" and "Whisky." Scotch is whisky that is made in Scotland.

Jul 09, 2008
Woodside Al in Spirits

Bagels-Where, oh where, can you be(in Brooklyn)?

That's a Montreal bagel. A NY bagel should be boiled in plain water. Although I believe H&H puts some sugar in the pot, and others have followed suit, which is one reason why they're all so sweet nowdays. A NY bagel should be made with no sugar at all, just malt, and no eggs in the dough, just water.

Jul 08, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

weekday breakfast in Brooklyn near cruise ship port?

Where in Brooklyn is the dock? The Brooklyn waterfront is huge and most areas near the water in Brooklyn are pretty industrial, but inland there are several great neighborhoods for food.

Jul 07, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs

Has anyone tried Ten Sushi, new to Park Slope

I work nearby a few days a week and went there last week after giving them time to work the kinks out. It was OK. While it's not as good as Taro on its good nights, it still seems a bit better right now than any of the other non-Japanese sushi places in that part of Brooklyn. Certainly ahead of the pretty terrible Kiku down the street. I think it's Chinese run, and Chinese was definitely the language of choice behind the scenes, and the menu is a bit heavy on the Americanized "creative roll" concept for me. Nice decor though - a huge change from the desultory Laila's that was in that space forever.

Jul 07, 2008
Woodside Al in Outer Boroughs