Tag Archives: brooklyn

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

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

Francie

The newly Michelin-starred Francie in Brooklyn was a mix of both great and “meh” dishes. I’m honestly a bit shocked that they received a star, but one or two items that we tried were truly top notch.

We started with the sourdough bread and lard, the duck mortadella, and a duck sausage that was on special for the night.

The duck sausage was the winner of these, but I must also point out that the lard that came with the bread was killer. They should be selling it by the jar. It had a nice hint of lemon to it that cut the fatness just right.

We also tried the barigoule (braised artichoke, fried chicken, mushrooms, egg yolk). This was really unique and tasty, and I’m glad we tried it.

We tried four pasta dishes. Of these, the rigatoni with green garlic and fennel pollen sausage was the best, followed by the tortelli with suckling pig and cracklings (despite the second being slightly too salty). The cavatelli was good for a more veggie friendly option, but the lobster ravioli was a bit of a let down to several of us.

For the mains, we ordered two entrees for two: the rib steak and the dry aged duck crown.

Both were beautifully cooked and presented.

But the duck was the star of the show. Perfectly crisped skin atop a layer of buttery soft rendered fat, with juicy, succulent, pink duck flesh beneath. Big win.

The steak was just meh. There was something sweet going on that didn’t sit well with me – I believe it was a molasses glaze. I still ate a shitload of it, but for the price point of $175 I would never order it again. It was too small in addition to having a confusing flavor profile, especially with the weird maple hollandaise that it came with. 6/10.

Over all, I highly recommend coming here for the duck apps, the rigatoni and tortelli pasta dishes, and the duck crown. Skip on the rest. For drinks, they do make very nice cocktails, but they’re pricey.

FRANCIE
34 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Romeo Meats “Stingray Steak”

Romeo Meats has been serving the local Bensonhurst Brooklyn area and surrounding restaurants since the 1950s.

I recently had the pleasure of trying one of their gigantic dry aged tomahawk steaks.

This friggin’ thing was 2.5″ thick!

Needless to say, I was worried about overcooking the outside and simultaneously undercooking the inside, so I tried something a little different than my usual pan searing or sous vide techniques for thick cuts.

First I coated both sides with salt and “dry brined” it in the fridge for a few days. Then I massaged some Res Antiqva olive oil onto it once it got back up to room temperature, and then added some cracked black pepper. I seared it on a cast iron grill pan for about six mins each side (three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, FLIP, three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, OFF/REST). After that, I let it rest for a few minutes before roasting it low and slow for about an hour at 170F. Finally, I blasted the fat side under the broiler for about 5 minutes just before removing it from the oven. It rested up to about 125F-130F. The result was like prime rib on the inside, but with a steakhouse crust on the outside. Watch:

Absolutely amazing! I hope you give this preparation and plating a try with your next monster sized rib eye. I call it the broken hearted tomahawk, or the stingray.

Razza

A wild hybrid that marries the best of both classic Neapolitan pizza and old school NYC/Brooklyn pizza, Razza in Jersey City is the kind of place where you just can’t stop eating.

The dough is bubble-charred, puffy and light, like Neapolitan pizza. But the formal requirements of noted Neapolitan rigor are quickly dispensed with and cast aside (San Marzano tomatoes, wheat flour, bufala mozz, etc).

Instead, chef/owner Dan Richer, who has been honing his pizza skills for 15 years, pulls ingredients from high quality local produce purveyors and makes a great deal of his own shit right there on site. “I’m not even close to being done,” he says of perfecting his craft.

If this is only the rising action in the first act, then I can’t wait for the denouement.

The tomatoes are bright, and left largely unadulterated. The cheese is fresh, smooth and creamy. The dough is airy yet crisp from crust to point, showing some backbone on the bottom: Like it’s New York neighbor, it doesn’t flop in the center. This magically allows the toppings to seem as if they’re suspended atop a pillow of edible air.

The crust also takes on a unique grey coloring from being allowed to cook a bit longer at a slightly cooler wood oven temperature than its motherland-cousin from Naples.

Neapolitan pies get real hot real fast. This allows a yeasty aroma to linger in the resulting khaki-colored, leopard-spotted crust, retaining a somewhat more chewy and more dense texture. Could that be called medium rare dough? Perhaps. Anyway the difference here may be slight in execution, but it is noticeable in appearance and flavor.

There’s also none of that soupy sauce or pooled melted cheese that can sometimes weigh heavy both in the center of a Neapolitan pie and in your belly after you eat it. To the contrary I felt light even after eating an entire pie’s worth of pizza all by myself. I could’ve easily had two more, but there was a steak dinner to be had nearby at Liberty Prime. I had to conserve stomach space.

In any case three of us each ate a third of three pies (two slices of each, each). We started with the Margherita, had a mid course of Fungi, and then a dessert of Burrata. I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite among these, but I think that last one left me floating. That deliciously silky burrata with tomato, olive oil and sliced garlic…

I’m fairly certain this is my new favorite pizza joint, possibly squeaking just ahead of the Coney Island stronghold Totonno’s. You really need to get over here to try this shit. But if my words and images don’t convince you to make the trip out here for this pizza, maybe Phil Rosenthal will. It was featured on  the Netflix show “Somebody Feed Phil.”

Check it out:

RAZZA
275 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Tambour Bistro & Wine Bar

Tambour Bistro and Wine Bar is a cool spot that serves up some great Mediterranean style eats in Brooklyn. They have a great deal going on: for $120 you get an appetizer, a dry-aged porterhouse steak from Romeo Brothers (Bensonhurst meat shop), a side and a dessert.

My wife and I came in to try this stuff out. Here’s what we had.

First, some nice wines. I had a Rioja and my wife had a white that I can’t pronounce.

The mussels here are incredible. Make sure you ask for a spoon to slurp up the sauce at the bottom of the bowl. There’s white wine, roasted chili peppers and herbs in that crack sauce.

This arugula salad was simple and refreshing, with kalamata olives, feta cheese, pickled shallots, English cukes and marinated baby tomatoes.

Next up was the main event: a 70-day dry-aged porterhouse, served Florentine style, with charred lemons and rosemary.

This thing was a real beauty. Perfectly cooked with that great brown Maillard crust on it.

There was a lot of earthy funk on this from the aging process, so wiping an occasional bite across the charred lemon was a great way to cut the fat and funk with a pop of brightness.

We finished every bite. I highly recommend this steak. 9/10.

On the side we had the asparagus with crumbled parmesan cheese. That’s an Italian chimichurri sauce in the back. Basil, oregano, lemon, etc. Great with the steak actually.

For dessert, we had this perfectly executed creme brûlée.

This baby was big, creamy and flavorful.

I will definitely be back here to try their bacon as well as some other cuts of steak. I suggest you give it a shot too, especially if you live in the area.

TAMBOUR BISTRO & WINE BAR
652 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Pizza Loves Emily

Quick review here. My wife and I finally tried this hyped up spot after a few drinks nearby. First we tried Nguyen’s’ Hot Wings (Korean flavors with a Vietnamese name):

These were pretty good. Crisp outside, tender inside, and I like the fact that they serve you the whole wing. The sauce was nice too.

We also tried the colony pie, which has mozz, tomato sauce, pickled jalapeños, pepperoni and honey.

This was really flavorful. Overpriced for a small pie at $22, but the dough was thin, crisp and cooked nicely. I bet their square version “Detroit” style is better at their other locations.

PIZZA LOVES EMILY
919 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Jimmy’s Diner

This is a great addition to your fried food rotation. I walked by Jimmy’s Diner before a filming gig and had to try the joint based on looks alone.

Turned out to be a great choice. This “Lucky Schmidt” sandwich was awesome. Fried chicken fingers, melted swiss, bacon, jalapenos, chipotle mayo and pickles on a potato bun. Great crispy fries too. Go give it a shot!

JIMMY’S DINER
577 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211