Category Archives: Pub Food

The Elgin

The Elgin is a great midtown bar with international flare to the menu. My friend Sean, the chef who developed the menu here, recently invited me in to try some of the food, and, of course, to shoot some photos for Instagram. Here’s what we had:

Curry Hill Wings

These dry-rub wings are intensely flavorful and deliciously crisp, and they come with a nice tangy yogurt-based dipping sauce.

Detroit Style Pizza

Although these are more flatbread than Detroit, they are absolutely delicious. We tried the spicy sausage pizza.

Tuna Poke Nachos

These are incredible. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. Make sure you order this when you come here!

Burrata

Very nice. Super soft and flavorful, especially with the balance of sweet and savory coming from the tomatoes, blackberries and strawberries.

Lamb Burger

This thick patty beauty was so flavorful, and with the tzatziki style sauce, it really brought home those Greek comfort food flavors.

Southern Chicken Sandwich

Bacon and pimento cheese sauce with fried chicken? YES! So good. We actually liked this better than the burger.

I definitely cant wait to come back here to try more of the menu, especially the cocktails. We were stuffed! Likely because of the beer.

THE ELGIN
64 W 48th St
New York, NY 10036

Ainslie Bowery

Ainslie Bowery is a newly opened Italian joint that has a huge selection of beer.

The place is enormous inside. So big, that I really don’t know how they’re going to stay in business if they aren’t packed out every day.

Anyway, I was excited to try this new spot by us, so my wife and I went last weekend. We started with the rosemary wings and salt and pepper ribs. Both were really great. I preferred the ribs but my wife liked he wings better.

For our middle course, we split the “diavola” pizza. Spicy salami and kalamata black olives on top of fresh mozzarella and a nice tomato sauce. This was a bit too salty, but otherwise good. As you can see, one side of the pie took a little more heat than the other.

The pasta dishes were very good here. We tried the orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, as well as the pork ragu pappardelle. We both preferred the orecchiette.

For dessert, tiramisu. This was nice. It’s rare for one of these to stand out among so many others in town, but it was perfect.

We will definitely be back to try more.

AINSLIE BOWERY
199 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Flower Shop

My wife and I tried this place for happy hour. They offer $1.50 oysters, lower priced starters and some drink specials as well.

The oysters were great (not pictured), and so was the scotch egg.

We also tried their fried chicken. This was pretty good. At $24 the price was a bit steep, but I really enjoyed the charred lemon and unique flavors in the batter. Worth a try for sure.

I would definitely go back for more, and to shoot some pool.

FLOWER SHOP
107 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002

Joey Roses

Joey Roses dive bar/social club on the Lower East Side that was recently featured on Eater as a spot where you can still get some cheap, good eats. After reading the article and seeing how close it was to home, I had to try it.

The thrust of the article was that, from 5pm-7pm and from 10pm-12am, they offer “buy two get a third free” deal on their sandwiches. Their sandwiches are regularly priced at $8. Can’t beat it!

They’re nicely packed Italian sandwiches, filled with mortadella, beef, salami, you name it. They have a few different selections you can make. My wife and I picked up three different sandwiches. All were good, but the mortadella sandwich was king. It comes with mozz and sweet cherry peppers on it. Killer.

Make sure you also get some of their crispy fried Brussels Sprouts. The touch of agave syrup on them really sets them apart from others. They’re perfect!

This place is so close – we will definitely be back.

JOEY ROSES
174 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

Haswell Green’s

having gone to Haswell Green’s several times for cocktails over the years, I finally made it over there to try the food. I have to say: the burger matches the quality of the cocktails: AWESOME!

It’s a double smash patty burger on a potato bun with pickles, cheese and special sauce. Very simple, but really well executed. Go give it a shot. I actually think this might be my favorite burger in that part of town. Better than Black Tap, all the steakhouses nearby, and any other bar or fast food joint slinging burgers for theater patrons.

The boneless wings pork+veal meatballs are decent as well.

But make sure you try some of their cocktails. Really nicely crafted.

HASWELL’S GREEN
240 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019

Black Crescent

The tiny burger at Black Crescent may be overpriced at $13, but it is damn delicious. Great char, lovely beefy chuck flavor, and plenty of cheese coverage.

It’s definitely more of a slider sized burger (it’s sitting on a small ketchup cup in the pic above), but whatever. As long as it’s good.

Pro tip: order the waffle fries for $10: it’s basically enough for three people.

BLACK CRESCENT
76 Clinton St
New York, NY 10002

Boylan Heights

This joint serves up nice thick dry aged burgers, sourced from a local farm.

Excellent. I was really impressed!

I’d pass on the wings though. They needed both more seasoning and more crisp.

BOYLAN HEIGHTS
102 14th St NW
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Little Rebel

I came here with my wife and another couple to try out some of the menu items, as this place just recently opened about a month ago.

We tried two flavors of wings: maple waffle, and everything bagel. My favorite was the everything bagel. They even came with little blobs of creamed cheese.

The popcorn shrimp was addictive. I could easily eat 3 bowls

Massive chicken sandwich, topped with excellent quality thick cut bacon.

Both regular and truffle fries are great as well. And the burger was executed perfectly.

The pork belly was a bit too sweet from the candied orange on top, but otherwise it was very nicely cooked and tender.

They also have some really creative coctails.

Definitely give this place a shot. For bar food, this place has an elegant setting and some really high quality menu items.

LITTLE REBEL
219 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Oakdale Brew House

This joint has undergone some make-overs through the years, but the newest iteration, Oakdale Brew House, is definitely the best so far. They have a lot of great local beers on tap, and a nice selection of bar food, even live music.

Definitely worth parking your ass here instead of a place like Applebee’s or Friday’s if you’re out this way in the ‘burbs.

OAKDALE BREW HOUSE
927a Montauk Hwy
Oakdale, NY 11769

Red Hook Tavern

Red Hook Tavern is the recently opened endeavor of famed BBQ pit master Billy Durney, of Hometown BBQ. After mastering regional BBQ, he decided to take on the iconic old school NYC tavern style joint – typically featuring dimly lit wood grain interiors, a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails, a champion burger and a beefy chop or two. Think Minetta Tavern, Chumley’s or even McSorley’s. The outside even kinda pays tribute to Minetta Tavern. Similar font, coloring and shades drawn:

So did Durney achieve that iconic goal? In short, yes. There are some BIG hits here, but there are also some misses as well. Let me get into it so you know what to get and what to avoid.

We shared four starters among four people. We ordered the corn and nduja salad with radicchio cups, the wedge salad with bacon, the chicken liver pate, and the charcuterie board.

The corn and nduja was good, but it wasn’t as spicy as I had expected. In addition, the radicchio cups added a little too much bitterness into the dish. Maybe swapping out for some Bibb would be better.

The big hit for me among the starters was the wedge salad. It comes with a nicely cooked slab of Nueske’s bacon, and a surprisingly fresh pop of dill throughout. This is definitely big enough to share, so get this and share with another.

The charcuterie board was delicious, featuring lomo (my favorite – dry cured pork loin), salami and venison salami, along with a nice fresh slaw to cut the fat. I just wish there was more of everything.

The chicken liver pate was smooth, creamy and delicious. I could have easily crushed this by myself, which is what I recommend that you do. The only issue with that was that the toast was very dry and brittle. That bread needs an upgrade.

We shared four different entrees. We did the pan roasted half chicken, the 45-day dry aged strip steak, the grilled head-on spot prawns and, of course, the burger (we did two of those).

The prawns were overcooked, unfortunately, and that delicious chili, lemon and garlic sauce didn’t really get into the flesh, rendering them kind of bland unless you really dragged them through the sauce. The heads were delicious though. They come three to an order, but the waiter Ryan was awesome and asked if we wanted four pieces so that we could all get one. That’s the kind of service people will remember. Bravo, Ryan.

The Pat LaFrieda steak was very tender, nicely cooked, and had a great crust on it.

The addition of that finishing salt was essential, because it was otherwise just kind of bland in flavor. It didn’t have much punch or character to it, and certainly not much dry-aged flavor. 7/10.

One good thing about the steak is that for $49 it also comes with creamed spinach. I really liked this spinach. Finely chopped, not too creamy.

The chicken was better than both of the above entree items. It came with mashed potatoes and gravy, which was a nice touch, for just $28. The meat was juicy and tender, and the skin was crisp and well-seasoned. Get this!

But the star of the meal was this incredible burger.

Look at how perfectly cooked it is inside:

It comes with three perfectly crisped and seasoned potato wedges, and a half-sour pickle spear.

If you’re not into onions, you can remove yours from the bottom (the burger comes out sitting on top of an onion core slice). I generally don’t love raw onion on my burger, but this onion is somewhat steamed and softened, that way you don’t get that insane vaporous bite that destroys your mouth for two days. It also catches any juices that come out of the burger, making it a perfect flavor sponge that protects the bottom bun from sogging up.

It may look simple and pedestrian, but the bun is brought in fresh from a special bakery; the patty is a great mix of lean and fatty beef cuts that sport a really nice dry-aged flavor; the cheese is perfectly melted down the sides of the burger to create a lovely drape of full coverage – you never want for that melty American goodness; and the maillard sear on the outside even has a nice crunch to it for some texture. What a masterpiece. This might be a new favorite, especially at $22. While I generally prefer fries, the wedges were definitely good. I kinda wanted a couple more though.

The prices here aren’t too bad either.

I highly recommend this place. It’s tough to get a reservation, but if you get there early (or late, for that matter) you can probably score a seat at the bar pretty quickly.

RED HOOK TAVERN
329 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231