Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roberta's (a not so cheap eat)

This past Thursday I finally made it out to Roberta's, whose fried chicken and pizza have been touted as Bushwick staples. I arrived around seven with friends Grace, Lucas, and Liam (who was the one who recommended the restaurant to us all!) The atmosphere of the place is absolutely amazing-low lighting, rustic wood paneling, brick walls, and best of all -gangster rap playing quietly in the background. After ordering some drinks at the bar, we were quickly seated. Ordering however, took quite a bit longer. Everything looked so great! Unfortunately, the fried chicken is only served as a special and was not available that night, so we decided to order 3 pizzas to share (they are small portions). We eventually agreed on the Margherita ($8 mozzarella, tomato, basil),Madd Martigan ($12 mozzarella, mushrooms,pesto, artichoke) and the Speck and Egg special ($14 speck, egg, gorgonzola). I also ordered a mint lemonade ($3), and Grace ordered the Bibb Lettuce ($7 dried cherry vinaigrette, blue cheese, roasted walnuts). We all sampled the bibb lettuce, which was simple but delicious!

The pizzas arrived shortly after the salad, and we dove right in. The sauce on all pies was very light-which allowed for all of the other strong flavors to shine through. The Margherita was nothing special, but definitely still enjoyable.

The Madd Martigan and the Speck and Egg special however, were unlike any other pizza I've had before. Everything on the Martigan was so fresh-right down to the pesto sauce, while the artichokes provided heartiness to the pie.

Initially, I wasn't sure how I felt about egg on pizza, but the Speck and Egg ended up being absolutely amazing.

The mildness of the egg perfectly complimented the super savory flavors of the speck. Delicious! My mint lemonade was the ideal drink for this meal- it was tangy and I again could taste how fresh the mint and lemon in it was.

I found out from Grace later that they actually grow their vegtables fresh on the roof, which I love! Everything about my experience at Roberta's was wonderful, from the food itself right down to the space. It's the perfect place for a date, and it's definitely worth the journey!

261 Moore St, Brooklyn NY11206
(718) 417-1118
Average Price: 10 a pie
Grade: A

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Viva Herbal

This past week my old roommates and I decided to get together to catch up over dinner. Sounds simple, but picking a restaurant can be quite tricky with us. Two are vegetarians, one is a sometimes vegan, and one keeps kosher. This typically lands us with kosher pizza, which can get tiring. We decided on Viva Herbal, which specializes in vegan and kosher pizzas, pastas, and calzones. Despite the variety of the menu, we all settled on pizza, ordering the Picante (soy sausage, roast red pepper, mozzarella cheese)

the Bella (pesto sauce, mozzarella, sauteed spinach, onions and feta)

and the Santa Rosa (tomato sauce, sundried tomato, mushroom, roasted garlic, calamata olives, miso tofu).

Everything was amazing- and absolutely loaded with toppings. My personal favorite was the Bella-all of the flavors went together incredibly well, and the pesto sauce was a refreshing change from the typical tomato. We each got 2 slices, but 1 would have been more than enough. While I really enjoyed my meal, I wouldn't recommend it as a place for meeting up with people. There is very little seating, and the noise from the kitchen makes it difficult to talk. If you're looking for a healthy quick meal solo though, make sure to check Viva Herbal out!
Address: 179 2nd Ave, New York NY10003 (btw 11th and 12th)
Phone:(212) 420-8801
Average Price: $3 per slice
Grade: A

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grand Morelos Diner and Bakery

After hearing about Grand Morelos from numerous people in my neighborhood, I decided to order in from them on a rainy evening. I ordered the Spicy Pork Torta ($5.50) and a side of rice and beans ($2.00). My food arrived in under half an hour, and I dug in right away! I was surprised by how enormous both dishes were-especially the rice and beans.

The rice and beans were great, which I never really expect. The rice was seasoned with tomato and the beans with a tangy cheese. I saved most of it for later, and moved and moved on to the Torta. It was my fault for not starting with the sandwich, but the bread was pretty soggy which kind of ruined the whole deal.

There was a ton of meat-which was really well seasoned, and quite a bit of cheese (aka my favorite thing). The only thing aside from the bread which was off (which was again my fault) was the pickled jalapenos, which were too tangy and just plain strange tasting. I know if I had eaten the sandwich first (and picked off the jalapenos) it would have been really great though, so I will definitely be coming back here.
727 Grand Street Brooklyn NY 11211
718 218 9441
Average Price: $6
Grade: B+

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I decided to stop in at Sakura on a total whim- and I'm glad I did! I ordered their Beef Negimaki Bento Combo Box to go- which comes with miso soup, salad, sumai, 6 california rolls & white rice. For $8.50, this was a ton of food.

* miso soup not pictured

Nothing was stand out delicious, but all of the ingredients were fresh and every item was enjoyable. I waited while my meal was prepared and the host was incredibly nice. It was freezing outside, and I was immediately offered a complimentary cup of green tea when I walked in the door-which I found to be super thoughtful of them. I'll definitely come back here for lunch again when I am looking for a little variety!

Address:346 Graham Ave, Brooklyn NY11211
Phone:(718) 218-8056
Average Price: $9
Grade: B+

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nha Toi

In another installment in my quest to find the perfect Brooklyn made banh mi sandwich: Nha Toi. This restaurant, whose name means "my house", offers up both traditional and unique takes on the classic banh mi sandwich, as well as a wide variety of summer rolls. Some of the more creative sandwich choices include the Seared Basa Fish , and the "Pho."(which fills the sandwich with the classic Vietnamese soup ingredients: Thai basil, cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts, and beef short rib) I decided to order from Nha Toi after reading Time Out New York's 100 best things to eat and drink, which mentioned Nha Toi's Braised Beef sandwich.
I originally planned to go into the restaurant, but the downpour of rain encouraged me to order in. The man on the phone was exceptionally nice and helpful; I ordered the Braised Beef sandwich ($7), but then couldn't decide which of the summer rolls to try. He walked me through all of their most popular ones, encouraging me to try the Beef and Kimchee Roll ($4).
My order arrived quickly, easily in under a half hour. I was surprised at how big the sandwich was!

Combined with the summer rolls, I definitely had enough for two meals for only $11. I started with the Beef and Kimchee summer rolls, which were absolutely amazing. The beef was tangy and salty-which paired well with the spiciness of the kimchee. The vegetables provided the perfect crisp and freshness to balance out the heaviness of the other flavors. The dipping sauces were also amazing-although I couldn't tell you what type they were!

I moved on to my sandwich, which was still pipping hot and fresh. The bread was a little soggy-but that's to be expected when ordering a sandwich like this for delivery. The beef was well cooked, but a little too salty for my liking. Otherwise, I enjoyed the smoky flavors of the beef, and the vegetable/meat ratio.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

M Noodle Shop

I wanted to like M Noodle Shop, I really, really did. It's minutes away from my apartment (on the walk home from the train no less), the menu items looked amazing, and they are open 24 hours a day ( can you say dream come true?) I stopped in for takeout after a seriously long day, and was immediately greeted by the owners, who could not have been nicer. They offered me water, went over the menu options with me, and shared their favorite dishes (the Sliced Pork Belly Noodle Soup and Fried Pork Buns) I was looking for something that I knew would fill me up- so I decided on their Chicken Curry dish, and ordered it to go. And then I waited, and waited, and waited. Despite the fact that there was almost no one in the restaurant, my order took almost 45 minutes to emerge. The owners were really nice about it; they kept offering me water and thanking me for bearing with them as they ironed out the kinks. My food finally arrived, and I quickly took it home. Right from the start, I knew something was off about the dish. First of all, there was no sauce (which I was told there would be), and the chicken looked burnt and dry. I took my first bite, and literally spit it out. The chicken was burnt on the outside, but entirely undercooked(think raw) on the inside. The flavors were way off-instead of the curry being savory, it was bitter and unpalatable. The potatoes, which were the only other distinguishable item in the dish, were also barely cooked. I'm typically not one to complain to the restaurant when I dislike a dish, but in this case it was actually inedible, and I cant validate paying $9 for something I take less than a bite out of. I called the restaurant and explained the situation, and the owner immediately offered to send over a replacement dish, free of charge, which I was not expecting. I opted to go with one of their recommendations this time: The Sliced Pork Belly Noodle Soup. The dish arrived 15 minutes later in two separate containers for the broth and the noodles and pork, which I appreciate for reheating purposes. While the noodle soup wasn't nearly as bad as the chicken curry dish, it was still far from great. The pork belly was slimy, the noodles were overcooked and lacking in flavor, and the broth was super greasy. I'm going to stay away from M Noodle Shop for now, but I might give it another shot in a few months when they've settled in. They seem to have the potential to be a really great place once they iron out all the kinks in the kitchen.

Address:549 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn 11211
(718) 384-8008
Average Price: $8

Grade: D-

Monday, December 14, 2009

Banh Mi 172

With banh mi shops opening up all over Manhattan, it was only a matter of time before the craze hit Brooklyn. While a handful of places have opened, none have quite gathered the cult like following of Manhattan’s Nicky’s or Banh Mi Saigon. Curious, I decided to investigate my neighborhoods offerings of my favorite sandwich, starting with Bedford Ave’s Banh Mi 172.

Exhausted in the midst of finals, I decided to abandon my kitchen in search of a quick hunger fix. I settled upon Banh Mi 172 partially because of it’s close proximity, but mainly out of my love of all food Vietnamese. Despite the fact that it appeared to be mere steps away from the Bedford Ave L stop on googlemaps, I found myself wandering aimlessly about trying to locate it for ten minutes before I came across a mysterious unlabeled red awning. After some outside inspection, I realized that this was in fact Banh Mi 172 and eagerly went inside.

The restaurant itself is small, and really only suited for takeout because of the absence of any seating. Now, I know that there is only so much variation from the typical banh mi sandwich that one can expect, but their menu written on the blackboard above seemed to only offer five options: the combo roll, the classic pork roll, the grilled lemongrass chicken, the Vietnamese meatball, and the vegetable sandwich. With no mention of the soups or appetizers that I had seen online, I asked to see the printed menu only to be told, “they were out, and just to order what was on the board.” The cashier told me they were connected to the neighboring An Nhau, and that I could order off their menu instead if I liked. I decided just to order their lemongrass chicken sandwich, which was ready almost instantly!

After a short trek home, I eagerly pulled out my sandwich, which was slightly smaller in size than those I have had in Chinatown.

After taking my first bite, my first impression was that the bread was stale; a big no no for banh mi style sandwiches. My second impression was that the chicken was undercooked; rather than being a nice white color most pieces were closer to pink. On top of that, there was almost no mayonnaise to be found and the vegetables were limp and flavorless. Talk about disappointing! Even though Banh Mi 172 is right around the corner from me, I definitely wont be going back there any time soon. Alas, the search continues…

Address: 172 Bedford Ave Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone:(718) 384-0028
Average Price:$5
Grade: D

Review appeared originally on Eating