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Barney Greengrass, anyone?

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magnolia Dec 5, 2000 10:56 AM

I know it's a New York institution but I haven't been there since...well I can't remember the last time I was there.

It used to be part of my dad's Saturday morning circuit, on which I accompanied him, to buy stuff to make brunch at home: Murray's (for fish), Royale Bakery on W.72nd for ribbon cookies, and then a cheese shop whose name escapes...which was where Talbot's on 2nd Ave & 79th is now....But we almost never made it home before being starved and having to go to BG for breakfast (we saved the stuff we bought for Sunday). The flypaper hanging from the ceiling was a particularly nice touch.

Can anyone bring me up to date?

  1. p
    Peter Dec 5, 2000 01:13 PM

    One of the nice (and also maybe not so nice) things about Barney Greengrass is that you never need updating. The menu is the same as it's been for years. The food is the same. Some of the waiters and clientele are the same. As far as I can tell, only the prices have changed.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Peter
      m
      Michele Dec 5, 2000 08:39 PM

      If you go on a weekday there usually isn't a wait. I was there about 1 month ago and the fish was good, but the service wasn't. I had to wait at least 15 minutes to get a bagel after our fish arrived, which took a half hour to arrive.
      Also - the fish is good but I don't care for their prepared fish salads because they add celery to them which I think is a bad touch for any salad. Potato pancakes were also decent.

      1. re: Michele
        j
        JIm Leff Dec 16, 2000 11:31 PM

        I've actually never been there. Ever. Hard to believe, but true.

        Can anyone provide the authoritative list of best-stuff-to-order?

        1. re: JIm Leff
          a
          Anil Khullar Dec 17, 2000 02:24 AM

          Lox. take the conservative middle-of-the-road
          approach to their food. Once the slices of meat were kind-of extra dry.

          The thing with fish is that you cannot really screw it up ;-). Either the salmon is up to it or it is not, in which case the whole fish was over smoked.

          1. re: Anil Khullar
            s
            stephen kaye Dec 17, 2000 06:48 AM

            don't miss the lox/eggs/onions

            1. re: stephen kaye
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              Bilmo Dec 17, 2000 07:52 AM

              "don't miss the lox/eggs/onions"

              One of the all-time great dishes available anywhere!

              1. re: Bilmo
                e
                Elaine Dec 17, 2000 05:22 PM

                I would second the recs for the lox/eggs/onions, as well as for the chopped liver (easily the best commercially available chopped liver in Manhattan). The nova is always superb and the open face bagel w/ nova, onions, tomato and scallion cream cheese never lets you down when you are craving this ultimate comfort food. My boyfriend is strangely an aficionado of chopped herring and says that BG's is the best in the city. The potato pancakes (not on the menu I think) that were available this past weekend were superb. The thing to remember about BG's is this is an appetizing/dairy restaurant at heart (the chopped liver is the notable exception) -- go elsewhere for deli meats. Weekday mornings are much less crowded then weekends, but we never have to wait to sit at the four seat counter even at peak weekend time -- a table takes a little longer.

                1. re: Elaine
                  d
                  Dave Feldman Dec 17, 2000 09:14 PM

                  Elaine,

                  You know what? I don't think I've ever seen anyone order a meat sandwich/platter when I've been in BG.

                  Like everyone else, I'd recommend the lox/onions/eggs and chopped liver. Remember, Jim, the ruckus about the chopped liver that overflowed into Chowhound (it was a fight between Gael Green and whatshisname fromt he New York Observer). There is no doubt that there is more fat in BG's chopped liver than in most.

                  The key, to me, is that the cooks at BG know how to cook onions. They sparkle in the omelets, and they are one of the keys to the chopped liver.

          2. re: JIm Leff
            l
            Leslie Brenner Dec 17, 2000 09:42 AM

            Smoked sturgeon--out of this world. (Barney Greengrass is, after all, "The Sturgeon King.") Nova. Smoked fish platter is a fine assortment. Chopped liver--almost as good as my mother's. You're in for a treat!

            1. re: JIm Leff
              b
              Barry Strugatz Dec 17, 2000 02:40 PM

              The best lox, eggs and onions I've ever had.
              They have some secret way of making the onions black without burning them. Also get it with nova, belly lox is way salty.

              1. re: JIm Leff
                p
                Peter Dec 18, 2000 07:14 AM

                In addition to being about the 10th person to recommend the lox, eggs, and onions, I recommend the sable, which, to my mind, is the "overlooked" smoked fish - I like it even better than lox. Also good is sturgeon eggs and onions.

                I've not had the chopped liver, but will have to try it, based on all the other recommendations.

                BG, is, I think, the most "chowhoundy" restaurant on the UWS.

          3. j
            Julie Dec 5, 2000 02:01 PM

            I just started making trips to the upper west occasionally to Barney's in the past year or 2. I love it! Often crowded, but well worth the wait. The chopped liver is some of the best I've ever had, including g-ma's homemade (sorry grandma!)

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