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
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