Tag Archives: sandwich

Brad’s Burgers & BBQ

It’s been a while since I’ve been out to eat at a place I haven’t yet tried, and that means it’s been a while since I’ve posted a review. Well, here is my latest and greatest.

Brad’s Burgers and BBQ is a small spot on the Upper West Side that slings burgers and BBQ, as you might have guessed from the name. I tried a few of the BBQ-sided items on my visit last week.

Their brisket platter is different from what you normally expect from a BBQ joint. Here, the brisket is shredded instead of sliced, and it’s already hit with some vinegar-based BBQ sauce.  I guess you can call it “pulled beef.”

Despite being a fan of the more traditional sliced style, this was fine. The meat was cooked nicely, and it had nice flavor to it. The cole slaw was good (I usually don’t like coleslaw much), and the waffle fries were perfectly crisped.

The corn bread was standard issue, but we also tried the Mexican corn on the side. This just needed a hit of some salt and pepper to make it pop. Perhaps a little jalapeño heat would have helped too.

The pulled pork sandwich was hearty. It comes dressed with sliced pickles, tangy sauce and coleslaw.

The star of the meal, however, was the fried chicken sandwich. This was marketed as spicy, but it didn’t bring much heat. However, it did bring some great flavor and textures. Happy to report they use thigh meat for this baby. This comes with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, sautéed onion and special sauce.

We also tried their coconut cake, which was almost like a cross between cake and a cookie in terms of density and flavor. The cream cheese frosting was nice.

This place is no Hometown, Fette Sau or Pig Beach, but it should get the job done if you’re in need of a fix and don’t feel like traveling all the way to Brooklyn for some ‘cue.

BRAD’S BURGERS & BBQ
522 A Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024

Pho Tau Bay

After two previous visits to New Orleans I was dead-set on finally trying some Vietnamese food. This town has a large Vietnamese community, so I know the food will be good.

My wife and I picked this joint because it was the closest to our hotel that was actually open on New Year’s Day. It had nice ratings to boot. We started with a pair of Vietnamese drip coffees, which were excellent.

Next, we shared a banh mi sandwich – their signature “dac biet” special sandwich.

This was great. Just the right amount of filling, nice fresh French bread that didn’t rip my mouth apart from being too hard or crispy.

Then we had some soup. I had the large “dac biet” special bowl of beef pho. This was great for the price tag. It easily surpassed most of the pho I have access to here in NYC (obviously there are some big exceptions since NYC is finally getting some good Vietnamese food).

My wife had the bun bo hue, which I thought was a bit too pungent and overly fishy for my taste, but it was still good as far as this dish goes. Especially impressive were the noodles. The round, “thick spaghetti” style rice noodles typically used in this soup will often get overcooked and become mushy. Then they break easily when you grab them with chopsticks, which is a pain in the ass. But these were perfect.

Give this place a shot when you’re down here.

PHO TAU BAY
1565 Tulane Ave
New Orleans, LA 70112

Au Cheval Diner

I finally made it over to Au Cheval Diner in Tribeca. I’ve had the bacon, the burger and the French dip prime rib sandwich at their sister restaurant, 4 Charles, so I’ll just dump some pics of those here and focus on the new items that I tried. These were all just as great as they are at 4 Charles, so if that’s what you want to get at 4 Charles, just come here and save yourself the headache of fruitlessly trying to score a reservation at 4 Charles.

The bologna sandwich with melted cheese is awesome. Simple and delicious.

The wings are great and crispy, but they were a little bit over sauced.

These hash browns with duck heart gravy were insanely good. Make sure you get these.

The fries were perfect as well, but I didn’t shoot them.

This marrow is great too, especially when smeared onto that buttery toast that comes with it.

I’ll definitely be back!

AU CHEVAL DINER
33 Cortlandt Alley
New York, NY 10013

The Dip

Apparently, the folks behind the incredible steak sandwich at 4 Charles Prime Rib have ventured out into the world of fast casual cuisine, opening up a sandwich shop on St Marks called The Dip.

The anchor of the small but focused menu is their French Dip sandwich, which is what I tried when I went.

Sandwiched between toasty garlic bread is a good sized portion of good quality shaved beef, melted gruyere, and diced cherry peppers. The horseradish cream sauce and jus come on the side. This will run you $16.50, before tax.

 

This was a killer sandwich; one of my best bites of the year. The dip and the sauce were both full of robust flavor to the point where you just want to keep on dipping.

The sandwich itself would be great on it’s own too though. You don’t really need the dip or the sauce if you don’t want them. The bread is fresh and flakey. The meat is textured yet tender. The cheese is melty but not molten. The peppers provide both spice and sweet. It’s perfect. And no, there’s not as much meat as the version at 4 Charles, but it’s also half the price here at The Dip.

There’s a bunch of other tasty sounding shit on the menu too, like fried chicken sandwiches, grilled cheeses and some limited-run specials. Eventually I’ll try them all. In particular, the Chicago hot dog looked great.

THE DIP
58 St Marks Pl A
New York, NY 10003

Vintner Wine Market

My wife and I strolled by this cool spot on Sunday and popped in for a beer and a sandwich. Vintner Wine Market sports hundreds of cool and unique beer selections in their fridges, as well as wines (by the glass and bottle). But what really got my attention was the roast beef sandwich.

This baby comes with horseradish cheddar, mayo and red onion. Simple and delicious. And the baguette was nice and fresh.

Good sized sandwich. We will be back here for sure.

VINTNER WINE MARKET
677 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

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

Lioni

Lioni is a famous place in Bensonhurst for sandwiches, mozzarella, and generally any Italian food specialties.

My wife and I stopped in here on the recommendation of a friend who grew up across the street. We ordered two sandwiches:

The Sophia Loren (#12) was made with prosciutto, fresh Lioni mozzarella, stuffed sweet peppers, lettuce, olive oil, salt and pepper.

This thing was awesome. At $16 and over a foot long it can feed two people with ease. The bread was superb, and the meat quality was awesome – no stringy bits, which is sometimes common with average, run of the mill prosciutto. They only use the good stuff here.

The other sandwich was one I concocted myself – generally a no-no in here as they like you to order by number (they have about 300 different sandwiches on the menu). It was bresaola, banana peppers and provolone.

The bresaola was incredible. This one cost $19 and that’s because the bresaola was so top notch. I’ve never had better. The sandwich, however, needed some kind of sauce or hydrating ingredient. I added a spicy honey at home and that seemed to do the trick nicely.

I highly recommend this deli. Great sandwiches!

LIONI
7803 15th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11228

Em

The owner of Em, Patrick Lin, invited me in to try some of their awesome noodle dishes and sandwich creations. I was really excited about this menu.

We started with some smoothies: the classic avocado, and the watermelon. Both were really refreshing and delicious. HOLY SHIT SOMEONE ARREST THEM BECAUSE THE STRAWS ARE PLASTIC!

Then we moved right on to the sandwiches.

The first one I hit was this bacon egg and cheese banh mi sandwich:

This is perfect. It has all the familiar flavors of banh mi, but with bacon, egg and cheese to go with it. That’s a winning combo. I could eat this every day, so this was well worth the hour-long subway ride out here to Bensonhurst.

Next up was the banh bi burger.

This is actually the one “burger” that I would almost prefer to be served without cheese. This one has provolone, but I didn’t think it was necessary (clearly some might love it though). The bright, fresh herbs and acidic pickled slaw are really all you need, except for a sauce or mayo. This, too, was really tasty – cheese or no cheese.

Next, we moved on to the soups.

Hu Tieu is a pork based broth with pork rib, ground pork, and a mix of seafood (shrimp, fish balls, etc). This was light and flavorful. My wife liked this one the best out of the two.

The pho here is really nice. The broth is flavorful but not heavy, and the addition of short rib really turns this into a satisfying meal. There’s lots of brisket, eye round and meatballs in there, yet this still manages to stay light. This was my pick between the two.

For dessert, we had Vietnamese coffee tiramisu. This was super creamy and fluffy, and the coffee flavors came through nicely.

I’ll definitely be back here again to eat my way through the rest of the menu. And the good thing is that this place was packed on a Sunday for lunch. People are really digging this place, and so am I.

EM
1702 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214

Al’s Beef

For my third and final Italian beef sandwich of the Chicago trip, I tried Al’s Beef.

Portillo’s is still better. This one was nice, but just not quite up to snuff. The giardiniera here was just celery. No carrots or other pickled veggies. Also, when you ask for spicy, they just give you the celery with crushed red pepper and a bit of roasted pepper strips in it; not sliced hot peppers like both Mr. Beef and Portillo’s. I added provolone this time to mix it up.

Oh well. You live and learn. It was still enjoyable though.

AL’S BEEF
169 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654

Portillo’s

Portillo’s is a Chicago mainstay, so it was only natural that it was our very first stop on a trip to Chicago last weekend.

We ordered two Chicago classics, the Chicago style hot dog (poppy seed bun, sport pepper, yellow mustard, relish, pickle, etc), and the Italian beef sandwich (shaved beef with giardiniera).

The dog was pretty much perfect. I would have liked more sport peppers, but hey. No complaints otherwise.

This was my first time having a proper Chicago Italian beef sandwich, and I was blown away. The dip into Italian herb infused gravy is the perfect way to finish this sandwich, and the spicy giardiniera is the perfect way to get pickled flavors into it. I added some shredded mozzarella for good measure. This is different from a Philly cheesesteak for sure, but I like it much better. It’s more about the beef!

We also tried the chocolate cake shake and the frozen custard, both of which were great desserts.

PORTILLO’S
100 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654