September 15, 2010

Prime Meats

I have a confession to make. I'm in bestie love with the Frankies men. First of all, they own like a bajillion restaurants, and second of all, remember that time they got really high, ate a shit ton of pizza at Roberta's and Motorino and then made meatballs? It's the best thing in the world. Either way, the Frankies men are famous to me and on Labor Day we decided to take a trip to Prime Meats.

Let's start with the staff...they're pretty great! The host was super nice to me when I kept going in there and telling them my friends would be there any second, and then as soon as my friends got there he sat us. Granted, he didn't laugh at my Foursquare joke, but I won't hold that against him. Our waitress was cool, laid back but made sure we were happy. Then when we left everyone said super cheerful goodbyes to us.

PM is pretty damn big, I must say. I'm not sure (because I've never been in there) if part of it spills back over into Frankies Spuntino or not as they're right next door, but there's definitely a lot of space. Decorated with large windows and rustic wood, this is one of the nicest and most homey restaurants I've ever been to.

I'm still not on the "livin' large" side of things, but I decided to get the $5 brunch punch - a delightful combination of BOURBON (WIN!), fruit punch and fresh fruit. It was absolutely delicious. I also ordered coffee, simply because I was exhausted, but I didn't really drink it, because it didn't go well with the brunch punch (and because the soy milk was separating every time I tried to take a sip). They serve Stumptown coffee here, which I'm not the biggest fan of (Crop to Cup is the coffee winner for me).

I ordered the breakfast sandwich on a biscuit with bacon ($9), which is exactly what I ordered at Cafe Pedlar. Why? 1) It's one of the cheapest and heartiest things you can order. 2) It's freakin' delicious. The biscuit is crumbly (which is a slight thumbs down in my book, but that's coming from the South, where "buttermilk biscuit" really just means "butter biscuit"), but the eggs are soft (organic, what up), the cheese is slightly tangy and the bacon is soooooooo good - thick, not too crisp or too soft, just the way I like it. It comes with a side of greens, which I wish you could substitute free of charge for potatoes (actually, you might be able to - why didn't I think to ask that!). I have yet to try the dinner portion, which is mostly German fare, but gotta be honest - one of my best friends is the pastry chef at Blaue Gans, and I'm just not sure you can beat that place. And I'm not just sayin' that because Beth is awesome (and her desserts are out of this world). I really do love ole BG.

BEST PART OF THE DAY? When we went towards the front door, I saw the Frankies themselves standing outside and I got super giddy. If you know a way to make them my besties, message me. - Jennifer

I have this habit of ordering yogurt and granola whenever offered to me during breakfast or lunch. Why I order yogurt and granola at a place called Prime Meats, I don't know. But I did it.

It was good, don't get me wrong, and at $7.50 it's a hefty serving with fruit on top. But as filling as wholesome as it is, it's definitely not the best I've ever had, or even of each component. I have dreams about the greek yogurt at The Breslin (more on that later) which does not have value on it's side, but I'd gladly pay a wad of bills to eat it again. And this leads me to the question at hand-- why don't all nom-worthy brunch establishments serve greek yogurt? Why bother with the regular stuff? I guess not everyone loves it like I do, but after going Greek I can never go back. NEVER.

What was I talking about? Oh, Prime Meats. I love the interior of this place, it feels homey but refined. And as Jennifer said, the staff is sweet. I've been a couple of times, and had a nice relaxing brunch on both occasions. The hashbrowns are tasty, they seem to treat their eggs right (so many places don't), and the bacon is delicious.. but it is Prime Meats-- and I suggest you stick with that theme while ordering. Meat. -Laurel

Address: 465 Court St (between 3rd Pl & 4th Pl)

Website: Prime Meats, Yelp

Payment: Cash, American Express only

Delivery: nope

Open Late: opens at 7am every day, open until 3am fri-sat

Large Group Friendly: yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Full Bar, $5 Brunch Punch is awwwesome

September 7, 2010

Char No. 4

Char No. 4 is a close walk from my digs, and I had long heard about it being a destination for pork and bourbon lovers. Guess what! I love both of these things.

I met Jennifer there after going to the gym, still wearing my work-out clothes. Probably not the best choice, as it's on the classier end of things, and the waiter even pointed it out. Lucky for him, he was nice and cute, so I didn't punch him in the face with the leftover adrenaline from my intense work out. Totally could have knocked his lights out. Instead, I giggled pleasantly. Anyway, the service was pretty good (not just looks).

The menu here is meat-tastic and a little southern tilted, with dishes often revolving some kind of pork. For some weird reason, I ordered the shrimp and grits instead ($14). I really liked the size of the portion, and I got about 6 plump, grilled shrimp. The grits were pretty good, and my experience with grits in this neck of the woods have been less than stellar. My grandmother could still do better, but you can't have everything. It had a nice flavor, and a lot of greens and chives on top (I happen to love both, but I could see someone thinking it distracting).

I also ordered a bourbon cocktail to make myself appear classier, which was very nicely mixed (Noreaster- $9). I think I just ended up looking like a younger, female iteration of The Dude. Also okay. Overall, it's pretty low-key and low-lit, and the prices aren't too bad. Try it out if you are looking for some smokey drink and meat. -Laurel

BAR-B-QUE. What else can a Southern gal ask for? We’ve talked about Smoke Joint before, but let’s introduce you to our new favorite, Char No. 4 (yes, we do seem to be into No. restaurants lately). Situated in Carroll Gardens, this cute, rustic restaurant has the perfect combination of two things I love: bourbon and Southern food.

The menu offers a wide range of Southern sweetness – from Laurel's aforementioned Shrimp & Grits and BBQ sandwiches to Smoked Brisket sandwiches and Jambalaya.  I’ve gone a couple of times for dinner – not yet for brunch (working weekends makes brunch damn near impossible). The first time I had the chopped pork sandwich ($14), which comes with a side of baked beans; the next round I ordered shrimp and grits. The barbeque is great – a bit different than what I’m used to, slightly spicy and vinegary (they have mustard in their bbq sauce). I wasn't down with the baked beans - honestly I think I only ever liked baked beans mixed with mac and cheese (I was a weird kid). The shrimp and grits were spicy, and delicious – only complaint is it’s not quite enough food. I also can’t say no to the bacon jalapeno cornbread. If anything, just order THAT - it's bomb.

And of course – the bourbon. They offer over 150 American whiskeys - which pretty much makes this place my mecca. Due to a cold, I ordered the Bourbon Insider Hot Toddy (admittedly I ordered it as a Hottie Toddy first, which our server - who totally WAS adorable - thought was hilarious). At nine smackers, this drink went down smooth and strong. We also split the Sticky Toffee Pudding for $8... the cake was moist and... sticky, and the ice cream was fresh and delicious.

Gotta say, it's a little on the expensive side for me (now that I've turned away from my "real" job), but I still love this place. Currently accepting applications for whiskey and bbq loving boys with about $30 to spare on a whiskey and bbq loving girl over at - Jennifer

Address: 196 Smith Street

Website:, Yelp

Cash, Credit

Delivery: Nope

Open Late:
Sunday thru Thursday, 12am; Friday-Saturday 1am

Large Group Friendly:

Bar/Happy Hour: Full Bar; Tasty Cocktails

August 16, 2010

Dumbo General Store (with Guest Reviewer Davis)

I've been working in Dumbo for the past 2+ years, and yet in all that time I think I've only headed out for an actual honest-to-god lunch break a just handful of times. The Dumbo General Store is a place I always mean to check out more often and rarely do, so I couldn't wait to give it a shot when Jen asked if I wanted to grab a bite for lunch last week.

Taking a seat at the huge community-style bench seats in the middle of the room, we started off with a cup of french pressed coffee and took our time checking out the menu - both the printed ones in our hands and the floor-to-ceiling chalked version that included the day's specials. Since the General Store prides itself on serving breakfast all day, I opted for one of the day's specials: an egg scramble with tomato, basil, onion and prosciutto with side salad and toast for $9.

The scramble was pretty tasty, with the basil and prosciutto adding quite a bit of flavor to the dish, and the grilled toast adding a much-needed crunch. While the I joked that the side salad (which took up nearly half the plate) was more of a "mostly salad," it was probably one of the most satisfying lunches I've had in the neighborhood. A great after-work spot for a drink, I'm going to have to start working the General Store into my rotation of go-to lunch spots more often. - Davis

I've recently entered into the working-on-weekends-only territory (is that a real thing?), which is awesome because I can have lunch with friends who have "real" jobs (you know, health benefits, 401k, crap like that).

The downside is no more brunch, which means no more of Superfine's breakfast burrito (my fave). Therefore, I decided to try out Dumbo General Store's version, because they serve breakfast all day every day (which is an automatic win in my book). Luckily, the breakfast burrito here puts up a good fight against Superfine's. Layered with scrambled eggs, guac, black beans and cheddar cheese, with fresh pico de gallo on the side, this burrito is simple but flavorful and fresh, and only being $7.95 isn't too shabby either. I will admit that I still enjoy Superfine's burrito more, but I'm interested to return to the General Store to enjoy more of their food. I went here the other day for a drink and the beer was so, so cheap. Definitely recommend their happy hour too!

As for the atmosphere, it's quaint and laid back. The servers are nice and attentive, but not overbearing, and as far as I can tell know the regulars pretty well (which gives it a homey feel). Will definitely return for more lunchtime eats.  - Jennifer

Address: 111 Front St between Adams St & Manhattan Bridge (DUMBO, Brooklyn)

Payment: Cash Only

Delivery: yup

Open Late: til 1am on the weekends, 12am sundays and 11pm tues-thurs

Large Group Friendly: yes!

Bar/Happy Hour: AWESOME happy hour, 5pm-close - $3 Brooklyn and cheap wine/liquor deals - definitely good for after work drinks

August 5, 2010

Totale Pizza

Yeah, pizza! Prompted by a recent review by the wonderful Serious Eats, Laurel, our friend Chris (from The Skint - if you don't know what that is, you should), and I decided to give Totale a try. We looked up the address but unfortunately seemed to have walked right past it first try that night. It's a small, open area spilling out to the street and looks just like every other pizza joint on St. Marks (only quite a bit cleaner and brighter), so we didn't notice it at first.

However, we can all attest to the fact that it's nothing like any of the other pizza joints - it's absolutely divine. This neopolitan style/brick oven pizza place has all the right ingredients and clever combinations to make it a new favorite among Laurel and me. We chose the namesake pizza, which comes with pine nuts, rosemary and red onions (and no "red sauce" as us well spoken eaters call it) and the Prosciutto E Rucola pizza, with mozz, prosciutto di parma, argula and EVOO (Rachael Ray, gross). I have to say I really liked both, albeit for entirely different reasons. Both were, perhaps, a little too salty for my likes, but the namesake pizza was an interesting combination and flavor explosion in my mouth. The pine nuts on the pizza were a nice touch to give a bit of crunch. As for the Prosciutto pizza, I had to yank off the argula (there was a lot) before I could dig in due to my aforementioned (and by aforementioned, I mean read our other blog posts) ailments. I believe this is why it basically tasted like a prosciutto di parma and mozzarella open faced...sandwich. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but I didn't think of it as pizza - especially because I eat all pizza the New York way which means I fold it in half to make it a sandwich.

Either way, I'm interested to try the Margherita pizza, as I feel like if you fail that, you fail all. I will be back here, it's not too pricey (Totale, $10 / Prosciutto, $11 and more than enough to share) and the server was nice, pretending he was Italian and all (okay, he was...). Plus the night we went it was pretty quick service - definitely a good deal. And I can say, you'll have a totale-y good time (couldn't resist). - Jennifer

We had just left an event in the East Village, and were hungry without direction. Somehow, my brain remembered that Totale had recently opened on St Marks, which is precisely where we were. I was curious to try it, since it sprung from an agreement between an Una Pizzeria Napolina alum and a 2 Bros. Pizza owner (expensive, authentic pizza + super cheap only-good-when-you're-drunk pizza). Weird, right?

Weird, but good. It feels a little like sitting in a nice bathroom, being all white tile, but what it lacks in coziness it makes up for in bright and shiny-ness. I also like that it basically takes the tiles of the wood-burning oven and spreads them into the entire restaurant. We make pizza here! Let there be no doubt about that!

Our waiter was cheery and friendly, and hung around just enough. There's a moderate amount of seating, so no big time groups, but I'm glad they did not attempt to pack as many seats in here as humanly possible (I love you Caracas, and the close quarters is part of the charm, but fire hazard much?). The menu is small but gets the job done: basic pies (margherita, marinara, a white pie and a few others), a few appetizers, and the like. The prices are good, too, as Jennifer mentioned--we ordered two pies and still had a couple of slices left, and spent less than $10 a person including tip.

I really enjoyed the Totale pie (above). It doesn't seem like it would have enough going on, but the flavors are clean and marry well. It has a nice salty bite, with a little kick from the red onion and a little nutty crunch from the pine nuts. The crust on both pizzas was very good, not too thick, not too doughy, not too anything. I'll be back to try a couple more. -Laurel

Address: 36 St. Marks Place (between 3rd Ave & Astor Pl)
Website: Yelp
Payment: Cash Only

Delivery: no, only take out
Open Late: no

Large Group Friendly: Not quite, only a few tables inhabit this space
Bar/Happy Hour: no alcohol, so you have nothing to blame it on

July 4, 2010

Iris Cafe

Iris Cafe is one of those places that I wish I had opened myself. The idea, menu and set-up are simple, but well placed and well done enough to make it a success. And if you visit during lunch or brunch hours, you'll see what I mean by success.

Located at the southwest corner of Brooklyn Heights, there's not many options close by and no other eating options on this tiny street, which means low foot traffic. But those that live in the neighborhood know it's there and seek it out, and they seem to have won over some regulars. There is a moderate amount of seating, conveniently placed hooks for jackets and bags, and one designated laptop table (free wifi is available), located close to an outlet. The counter is located at the back, and patrons are expected to bus their own tables.

The menu offers Stumptown coffee, expertly brewed, excellent sandwiches for lunch, and a few baked goods and egg items for breakfast. I have sampled the coffee, ham and cheese biscuit (nice salty-sweet flavor, coffee + biscuit = nice snacky breakfast), and the yogurt and homemade granola (creamy and crunchy, but I would have appreciated some fruit). I'll be visiting yet again for an early lunch sometime soon, and it's a nice place to sit with a laptop, as long as it's an off time (i.e., not lunch and not a weekend). They also sell local milk and few other choice items. -Laurel

Just look at that biscuit. Looks absolutely delicious, right? Trust me, it tastes as good as it looks - which definitely isn't always true. I love Iris Cafe. It gives me everything I miss from the South, and it does it well.

Laurel and I ventured there one early afternoon to grab a snack and weren't at all disappointed. It's a bit of a trek down to the restaurant, but it's as nice walk. I like to pretend I'm filthy rich and live in one of the brownstones that line the streets on the way down to the cafe. It's a nice game to play with yourself. Luckily, the food at Iris Cafe isn't as expensive as the surrounding homes, so it can be enjoyed by those of us who are...poor.

When we went the place wasn't super crowded, but the flow was steady, and we had to snag a seat quickly. It's quite small, so it fills up pretty easily. Everyone who works there is super nice and helpful, and the food comes out pretty quickly. I had cheese grits and a soft boiled egg on a ham and cheddar biscuit. The grits were a bit runny for me (I like them firm), but they had so much flavor I didn't put anything extra in them besides a bit of salt and pepper. Normally I like my grits with sugar (I'm not sure that's even a Southern thing, it's probably just a Holder thing), but I certainly enjoyed these grits as they were - salty and savory. The biscuit, as Laurel said, was salty and delicious, and the moderately runny egg on top was the perfect combination. I over-salted the egg (broke the first rule of dining, I salted before I tasted). It doesn't need any more salt when complimented with the biscuit.

As Laurel mentioned, you should definitely get there early if you want the breakfast offerings mentioned here. We went one day around 3pm or 4pm and they were completely sold out of every pastry, including baguettes. They did have sandwiches, which they made on regular sliced bread, but I was craving that biscuit, so I was disappointed. I'll go back soon - I'm still craving it even now... -Jennifer

Address: 20 Columbia Place (btw Joralemon and Atlantic Ave)

Website: Yelp

Payment: Cash Only

Delivery: no

Open Late: no

Large Group Friendly: no

Bar/Happy Hour: no alcohol
Related Posts with Thumbnails