Category Archives: Brooklyn

Ume

I took my wife to Ume for her birthday. This place serves an Omakase set of 12 pieces for $73.

Everything is really delicious, but my favorite three bites were the red snapper (center, with broccoli florette), the fatty tuna belly, (bottom center, with truffle) and the quail egg with crispy fish skin (center right).

We also grabbed this “literally everything don” bowl, which was better than the actual omakase (and more killing) for just $60.

Really enjoyed that.

A few negative things to note here: the enclosed outdoor garden area is too cold for winter dining. They leave the door open between the inside area and the garden, so even if you’re sitting inside, you’re going to be cold. To make matters worse, they double down on that chill factor with their “no shoes” concept (my toes were icy). Sitting on the floor isn’t too comfortable either but I’m not really gonna complain about that. I didn’t mind it so much.

UME
237 Kent Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Tsuta

Tsuta is the world’s first Michelin starred ramen joint.

It just opened this past Friday, so there was a line when my friend and I showed up to try it. We waited about 1.5hrs in the bitter cold, but once that ramen hit our lips, it was worth it.

I tried the spicy mala tonkotsu ramen, which had a nice tingly broth from the Szechuan peppercorns that are infused in it. All of their noodles are soba, which I was initially worried about because I generally prefer egg noodles with thick broth ramen. But these noodles were perfect, and they went well with the rich, spicy broth.

This was $20 for the regular sized bowl. It comes with one slice of chashu pork. I added the seasoned soft boiled egg for an additonal $4.

Our apps came out after the ramen, which wasn’t so bad considering the place was brand new and absolutely slammed. Some of my friends who also went complained of even worse problems. Of these, the chicken was probably the best, but I’d rather share a second bowl of ramen than get these again.

Next visit, I’ll have to try their signature bowls (shio and shoyu), which feature truffle oils.

TSUTA
22 Old Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Leo

This joint slings some tasty sourdough pizza. I’ve always wanted to try a sourdough slice, and I was finally able to do so here at Leo.

I highly recommend this place; the slices have a distinct “freshly made at grandma’s house” kind of flavor to them.

I need to go back to try their potato slice, as well as their soft serve – apparently they’re famous for both, and I’m a huge sucker for soft serve.

My first visit was during a @NYCZoozClub food crawl. Check out the video below if you’re interested. And use code JOHNNYPRIME for $150 off your Zooz bike at www.zoozbikes.com.

My last visit was just this past weekend on January 2nd, 2023. I tried the pepperoni slice and it was incredible!

Check out the ride and review video:

LEO
123 Havemeyer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Fini Pizza

If you’d rather WATCH this review, check out my ride and review video. If you’d rather read it, then continue below.

That bike makes the city so small. I can get everywhere so fast now. If you’re interested in one for yourself, use my coupon code JOHNNYPRIME for $150 off at www.zoozbikes.com.

I tried two slices here, pepperoni and Sicilian.

The regular pepperoni slice was good. Great crust. The sauce was a little sweet so I was happy to have the pepperoni on there to balance it out with some spice.

The Sicilian was incredible. I highly recommend this. It has a homemade flavor to it, but with pro-quality amazing dough. Light. Airy. Crisp. PERFECT.

I’m usually not a fan of Sicilian because it can get heavy. But I can easily eat a bunch of slices of Fini’s Sicilian. Look at this:

I’ll definitely be back to try some more pies.

FINI PIZZA
305 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Blue Collar Hamburgers

I have to say, the simplicity and perfection of this burger blew me away. My photos suck, because I had to use a flash and didn’t have my light, but I really loved this. Nice regular patty – I’m so tired of smash burgers being everywhere now. Crisp texture on that patty! Great cheese coverage. Perfect soft bun. My only gripe was that the tomato was cut a bit thick.

I also got a hot dog – they’re split-griddled. PERFECT!

I will definitely be back here again.

BLUE COLLAR HAMBURGERS
160 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Chef Katsu Brooklyn

This place is great. Some of the guys from the NYC Zooz Club and I hit this spot after riding around for a bit. Their curry sauce covered fried chicken thigh sandwiches are amazing.

I got mine with cheese. It was perfect, and the fries were bangin’ too.

Get over here and try this place. I’ll definitely be back for sure. Also, if you want to see some video of our bike gang ride from the day, check out the below:

CHEF KATSU BROOKLYN
143 Greene Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Misi

Misi is an Italian joint in Williamsburg that serves up some great pasta and an even better porterhouse steak.

Cocktails are really nice, like this negroni sour:

For starters, we did the whipped ricotta with roasted peppers, and the baby artichokes. Both were light and refreshing, but if I had to choose a favorite it would be the artichokes.

Next up was the pasta. We did a lamb ragu citarra as well as a brown butter tortelli stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Normally, I would gravitate toward that lamb ragu, but the tortelli were the winner between the two excellent pastas.

The dry aged porterhouse was awesome.

It was cooked to a nice medium rare and dusted with fennel pollen and rosemary.

The seasoning on it was definitely in the cumin/curry wheelhouse, which was a really nice change of pace.

It came with a side of giganto beans that were really bright and flavorful. Perfectly cooked.

But this steak was an easy 8/10, and I would definitely come back again to try more of the menu.

MISI
329 Kent Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Koko Ramen and Manchego

This joint has two names and serves two types of cuisine: Manchego serves tapas, and Koko serves ramen. My wife and I tried a couple of items from each menu.

TAPAS

The octopus was awesome. Perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned.

The calamari was meh. A little dried out.

RAMEN

The ramen was pretty good. Not among the top tier, but good enough that if I was ever in the area again, I’d go back to try the tonkotsu. The main reason I tried their spicy chicken miso ramen was because the menu said their tonkotsu was also chicken based broth, but with char siu pork in it. I was confused, and didn’t feel like asking questions since the service was crazy slow (they were slammed).

The salmon ramen was light. It was a shio style chicken based broth.

MANCHEGO / KOKO RAMEN
375 Marlborough Rd
Brooklyn, NY 11226

Defonte’s

I finally got over to Defonte’s to try some sandwiches. My buddy Nick and I rode over on our Zooz bikes. It took us 10 or 15 minutes from downtown Manhattan – a trip that would otherwise take a half hour and cost an arm and a leg in cab or Uber fees.

These things really are the best way to get around the boros, especially for food crawls! If you want one, get one with my coupon code JOHNNYPRIME for $100 off at THIS WEBSITE.

Anyway, we started with the hot roast beef dip sandwich that’s topped with fried eggplant and fresh house made mozz. Awesome!

Next up was the Italian special, which is a cold sandwich that features a variety of Italian meats, along with some spicy bomba sauce, lettuce, tomato and dressing. This was the big winner for me.

I’ll be back here for sure, especially to try the roast pork sandwiches, and something chock full of mortadella.

DEFONTE’S
379 Columbia St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Brooklyn Roots Italian

One of the great things to come out of the pandemic is Brooklyn Roots. Chef Thomas Perrone struck out on his own despite all of the fears and warnings. It started out as pick up and delivery only, but now he’s running a full-fledged old school Italian restaurant in the heart of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The atmosphere, the food, the smells… it’ll take you back. Nearly everything on the menu is under $30, and the portion sizes are triple what you see at other Italian joints. And this isn’t a typical red-sauce joint where you leave thinking that you could’ve made the food at home. This stuff is all done with top notch cooking technique, and high quality ingredients.

My wife and I went big, because we knew we wanted to try everything we could and bring a bunch of stuff home for the weekend. We started with the octopus and fried zucchini to start.

The zucchini was light, fried to a perfect golden crisp, and served with a bright marinara dipping sauce. The octopus was perfectly tender, and served in an amazing pesto. Definitely get these items when you go.

For the pasta dishes, we tried the “Matty Guns” special, who happens to be an actual person – he was there in the restaurant when we went. Baked rigatoni in a vodka sauce, topped with ricotta, melted mozzarella and basil. But lurking under the broiled cheese is a delicious collection of meats: sweet and hot Italian sausage, and meatballs. Amazing. Again – at $29 the portion size can feed two people for two days.

The next pasta was the linguine with corn and shrimp.

This was markedly lighter, but great for a summer pasta dish. Tons of great flavor coming in from the light tomato and garlic wine sauce.

For our entrees, we went with chicken and veal. For the chicken, we did the scarpariello preparation, with sausage, vinegar cherry peppers and potatoes. This took me back to when my mom used to make a similar dish with pork chops.

We did the veal parm. I was tempted to do milanese, but maybe next time.

This was such a great deal. Two cutlets fried to a perfect crisp and covered with sauce and cheese. Just awesome.

ENHANCE! Incredible.

We came with a huge appetite and still had no room for dessert – and we took home tons of leftovers. But from the looks of people around us, the dessert was great. I can’t wait to go back and try more.

BROOKLYN ROOTS ITALIAN
4601 4th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220