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City Island

I'll add to the praise of Johnny's; it's tops. And for what it's worth, my friend grew up on City Island (and still lives there) and says it's the only restaurant on the island worth going to. She has a rule about City Island dining: "The more the place looks like an actual restaurant," she says, "the lousier it is."

Jan 28, 2007
sgrobart in Outer Boroughs

Where are the best dumplings in Brooklyn's Chinatown?

I used to swear by Saigon Banh Mi when it was under the Manhattan Bridge. I now swear by Ba Xuyen on 43rd and 8th (I like to call it the Pork Authority) Get a #1 (BTW - has anyone noticed the increasing standardization of banh mi menus? #1 is always the combo, #4 is always the meatball, etc.) and a fruit/veggie shake. The avocado shake is amazing, and makes perfect sense once you taste it. Then again, if I loaded up a blender with as much sugar, cream and ice as they do, I could add fish heads and the thing would still be totally f-n' awesome.

Nov 16, 2006
sgrobart in Outer Boroughs

Jewish deli in/around Park Slope?

It needn't be kosher, but can anyone tell me where I can get a nice bowl of matzoh ball soup, a pastrami sandwich and maybe some kasha varnishkes? (A bowl of pickled things that are placed on the table when you sit down isn't mandatory, but certainly appreciated.)

Sep 26, 2006
sgrobart in Outer Boroughs

Best Steak House in NYC?

I'd like to add a thought here about consistency. The fact is, I've gone to PL and had fantastic steaks, but I've also gone and had some pretty mediocre ones too. The same is true of The Palm, Sparks, and countless other steakhouses in the city. There is an upper echelon of steakhouses in this city, and I think they've all been mentioned in this post and the others, but what makes one better than another on a given night is as much a matter of chance as it is quality of beef and a grilling skills.

One other thing about Luger's--and I'll admit, I'm being a little contrarian for contrary's sake: I sometimes wonder if it's all worth it. The steaks can be fantastic (though if you like a cut other than porterhouse, good luck--I'm more of a New York Strip guy myself, and I'm SOL at Luger's), but there are other things that can diminish the experience. Your reservation is essentially meaningless and after more than 25 years of dining there, I sometimes wonder when "charmingly brusque waiters" crosses over into just plain surly at times.

Here's my theory--Luger's reputation is based in part on a long and proud tradition of being the best (or one of the very best) steakhouses in the city, but that rep is enhanced by the restaurant's relative remoteness to Manhattan. Up until recently, a trip to Luger's meant a car ride to a lightly-trafficked corner of Brooklyn. Once you get there, you have to sort of justify the trip. "This is the greatest..." people tell themselves and others, because they just spent 30 minutes to an hour to get there, and they're going to drop upwards of $75 a person when they're through. Put it another way: If Luger's was in midtown Manhattan, it would still be considered one of the finest steakhouses around, but others would creep into that top spot from time to time. It would in a class of great steakhouses, which I think is where it should have been all along.

Sep 01, 2006
sgrobart in Manhattan