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Favorite Brooklyn Restaurants

d
DeeDee Jan 5, 2002 06:28 PM

If you had to devise a list of your top 10 Brooklyn restaurants what would they be?

  1. FoodWine Sep 18, 2007 05:16 PM

    We only have one favorite restaurant in Brooklyn:
    Tempo (5th Ave, Park Slope)

    8 Replies
    1. re: FoodWine
      p
      pslopian Sep 18, 2007 05:29 PM

      Nice - mine are, in random order:
      Al di la
      Tempo
      Totonno's
      Song
      Blue Ribbon (both of them)
      Zili (brunch)
      Taro Sushi (ok, maybe this one is first)
      Los Pollitos
      Stone Park Cafe
      Perch (brunch)
      Rosewater
      Peter Luger

      1. re: pslopian
        k
        kabny Sep 18, 2007 05:47 PM

        pslopian - why no Applewood? Just curious, as it's one of my neighborhood faves along with several of yours...

        1. re: kabny
          n
          nyebaby37 Sep 19, 2007 05:26 AM

          i forgot 2 -- BRENNAN and CARR and
          ROLLnROASTER, not too fast...

          1. re: kabny
            p
            pslopian Sep 19, 2007 08:47 AM

            I thought about Applewood - it used to be one of my absolute favorites... but the last couple of times I was there I was somewhat disappointed... I just felt like the soul and love that were so obvious when I fell in love with the place were missing... but maybe it was just a phase (like all relationships)... i've been meaning to give it another shot :)

        2. re: FoodWine
          BrookBoy Sep 19, 2007 07:46 AM

          It seems very limiting to have but one favorite restaurant. No favorites for a hamburger? No favorites for some really good Italian? No favorites for sushi?

          Well, in keeping with the tenor of this thread, here are mine, in no particular order:

          Queen (which did come to mind first)
          Blue Ribbon
          Applewood
          Dressler
          Dumont Burger
          Peter Luger
          River Cafe
          Tempo
          Waterfront Ale House
          Convivium Osteria (sometimes)

          1. re: BrookBoy
            FoodWine Sep 19, 2007 08:21 AM

            A favorite is a favorite, period.

            Where do we go when we want to have a really good dining experience in the neighborhood? Answer: To our favorite restaurant; the restaurant that became our favorite restaurant for good reason.

            Great food, fantastic wine list, great space and good service. (I have written more than enough about this topic, so if you are new on the board, go to the Tempo thread where Tempo was discussed at length.)

            That does not mean we do not patronize other restaurants in the area.

            River Cafe? When we want to spend that kind of money, we go to Manhattan. The last time we ate at River Cafe, was when chef Laakkonen was still there.

            P.S. No, no favorites for sushi - in Brooklyn. We tried out many sushi places, but got tired of all of them. We do buy ready made sushi plates for lunch at the greenmarket on Flatbush (btw 7 & 8 Avenues) every now and then.
            P.P. S. We do not eat hamburgers, ever. Tuna burgers are a different matter, quite literally.

            1. re: FoodWine
              CalJack Sep 19, 2007 10:10 AM

              To get things back in the spirit of inclusiveness, here we go, order notwithstanding:

              - The Good Fork
              - Al Di La
              - The Farm on Adderley
              - Taro
              - Moto
              - Marlow & Sons
              - Applewood
              - Frankie's 457
              - A'shay
              - Fette Sau

              And I can't really ignore the following:
              - Dumont & Stone Park Cafe (Burgers)
              - Egg (Brunch Value)
              - Pies & Thies (for being so damn charming, scruffy, and delicious)
              - Di Fara (no explanation necessary, I hope)

              1. re: CalJack
                r
                Rodrigo Sep 19, 2007 11:04 AM

                In appreciation of great food, great chefs and wonderful service:

                - Chestnut
                - Frankie's 457
                - Al Di La
                - Applewood
                - Brooklyn Fish Camp
                - Stone Home
                - Lunetta
                - Good Fork
                - Taro
                - Di Fara

                I've had great meals at every one of these places and enjoy doing my part to keep them in business.

        3. b
          Brooklyn Enthusiast Sep 18, 2007 01:32 PM

          I came across this very old thread and thought it would be interesting to resurrect it as I am new to Chowhound, love food and live in Brooklyn.

          1. River Cafe
          2. Al Di La
          3. Henry's End
          4. Noodle Pudding
          5. Blue Ribbon Sushi
          6. Krolewskie Jadlo
          7. Chestnut
          8. Bubby's
          9. Five Front
          10. Sea

          Now granted I haven't been to as many places as some other people have been, but that's my list so far!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Brooklyn Enthusiast
            Peter Sep 18, 2007 02:40 PM

            Fun! In no particular order:

            applewood
            Al Di La
            Chestnut
            Ferdinando's Foccaria (sp?)
            Queen
            Di Fara
            Convivium Osteria
            Locanda Vini and Olli
            Frankie's 457
            Restaurant Saul

            Again, those are in no particular order. Ok, applewood is my #1 favorite, but it's too hard to rank the rest.

            1. re: Peter
              s
              sharonm Sep 18, 2007 03:55 PM

              Awesome, love this old thread:
              In no particular order

              1. Palo Santo
              2. Aurora- Williamsburg
              3.Marlow & Sons- Williamsburg
              4 Al di la
              5 Rosewater
              6 Alchemy
              7 Bonnies grill- when need wings and burger fix
              8 Frankies 457
              9 Tempo
              10 AOC Bistro

              some of these are fairly new, but love them all!
              also
              frannies
              Five front
              Di Fara's

          2. h
            Hector Mar 23, 2002 10:01 AM

            Peter Lugers
            River Cafe
            Girmaldi
            Aqua Santa
            Oznot Dish
            Rose Water Cafe
            Henrys End
            Peters Ale House (Burgers)
            Sweet Melissa (bakery)
            I have not explored many neighborhoods but these are for the Williamsberg, B Heights, Park Slope, Carrol Gardens area. Avoide all Smith street resterants.

            1. n
              Neil deMause Jan 11, 2002 04:17 PM

              Here's a bunch, in no particular order:

              * Geido (Flatbush Ave., Prospect Hgts): Still the best sushi I've had in the city, and how can you not like a restaurant that has graffitied on the wall: "Because when you think Super Bowl, you think raw fish"?
              * Thai Cafe (Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint): Best pad thai in town, without the hypertrendy shtick of Planeat.
              * Gloria's In and Out (Nostrand Ave., Crown Heights): Veggie and channa rotis to die for. (Be careful of the chicken ones, though; they have bones.)
              * L&B Spumoni Gardens (86th St., Bensonhurst): I've never actually eaten the food, though I've heard it's good. The spumoni, though, puts other spumoni to shame.
              * Calexico (5th Ave., Park Slope): They offer about a million omelets for like three bucks each, but I always go straight for the huevos con nopales, which are delish, cheap, and more than any human should eat in one sitting.
              * Fountain Cafe (Atlantic Ave., Cobble Hill): Excellent veggie platter the size of Ohio, and a shower-nozzle fountain in the middle of the room - what more could you want?
              * Leila's (7th Ave., South Slope): Only one dish I really like here: the vegetarian ouzy (like a filo-dough football with rice pilaf and mushrooms inside). I *really* like it, though.
              * Ocean Palace (8th Ave., Sunset Park): Killer dim sum, especially the har gao (shrimp dumplings) and hyperscalliony scallion dumplings. And the baby octopus with jalapenos - if you don't see it, ask for it.

              Still trying to find decent Indian food in this borough. (Can anyone explain India House on 7th Ave.? I don't know anyone who's been foolish enough to eat there more than once, yet it still survives. Drug front, or what?) I've heard good things about some of the places near Church and McDonald - hoping to check them out sometime soon.

              1. m
                markitos Jan 11, 2002 12:46 AM

                * Flor de Piaxtla, 42nd and 5th ave.- tacos, pozole, Sangria Senorial, spicy shrimp "market" soup, birria and el pueblo!!!
                * La Terazza, 5th ave and flatbush- cafe con leches, mofongo and rice with calamari outside
                * Yemenite Cafe, Atlantic Ave. across from Peters and Sahadis- lamb feast, divine tea and atmosphere
                * Juniors, Flatbush Extension and Fulton, coffee and cheesecake in the cocktail lounge; visiting friends love it!
                * Sahara, Coney Island Ave. and Ave. T- turkish coffees, lamb and salads
                * Miss Williamsburg Diner, 206 Kent, summer outdoor oasis that transports us beyond the boros
                * Coco Roco, 5th Ave and ?, chicken heaven, special non-alcoholic drinks, especialidades, crowds
                * Bedhouin Tents? (formerly Pitza Moustache), Atlantic and Bond, outdoor garden is purrfect, pita pillows, music and staff are great, as are the simple standards- especially lentil soup, with the lemon wedge
                * Primorskis, Brighton Beach Ave. and B.B. 3rd?, classic Russian (Georgian) wedding palace (our's in fact in 1991)- always dependable, funny, wild and surprising on a saturday night- we love pickled everything, the spewing chicken kiev, sworded shish kebabs, stuffed half watermelon, frozen vodka, mushrooms in cream sauce, caviars, etc... like some wacky cruise ship-for-a-night, the bands, the owner, the service are all so wonderfully awful you've got to love it!
                * Grimaldis Pizza, bottom of Brooklyn Bridge- another show-off place, great pies, calzones, ambiance and stroll down to the esplanade for cigars...

                1. s
                  suzanne camhi Jan 9, 2002 04:58 PM

                  1.The Queen
                  if just for the fava beans, pancetta, and peas appetizer. Get over the ugly interior the food is outstanding
                  2. Smith Street Kitchen
                  3. Bonnie's Grill
                  4. Blue Ribbon
                  5. Peter Luger
                  6. Grocery
                  that's where I go in my town.. I think Queens has Brooklyn beat for food.

                  1. s
                    suzanne camhi Jan 9, 2002 04:53 PM

                    1.The Queen
                    if just for the fava beans, pancetta, and peas appetizer. Get over the ugly interior the food is outstanding
                    2. Smith Street Kitchen
                    3. Bonnie's Grill
                    4. Blue Ribbon
                    5. Peter Luger
                    6. Grocery
                    that's where I go in my town.. I think Queens has Brooklyn beat for food.

                    1. a
                      Auntie Jo Jan 8, 2002 09:16 PM

                      Gargiulo's
                      Cucina
                      The Brooklyn Grill
                      Chef Natale
                      Chadwick's
                      Hunter's
                      Manetta's (LIC) - close enough
                      Lichee Nut
                      Roll and Rooster

                      1. d
                        DeeDee Jan 8, 2002 01:15 PM

                        I guess I should answer my own question...Here's my list in no particular order.

                        1. Rosewater (Union Street, Park Slope)
                        2. La Brunette (Williamsburg)
                        3. Osaka (Court Street)
                        4. Grimaldi's
                        5. Ali's Roti shop (Nostrand Avenue)
                        6. DuMont (Williamsburg)
                        7. Joya (Court Street)
                        8. The Grocery
                        9. LouLou (for brunch) (Fort Greene)

                        Restaurants I still want to try...

                        1. The Minnow
                        2. Gloria's roti shop
                        3. A Table

                        1. m
                          Mark Jan 8, 2002 01:06 PM

                          Just a few of my favorites by cuisine : Il Colosseo - Italian (Bensonhurst), Sancho's - Spanish (Bay Ridge), Fortune of Ave U - Chinese (Homecrest), PSC - Polish (Greenpoint)

                          1. p
                            Peter Cuce Jan 8, 2002 07:09 AM

                            In no particular order:

                            1. Pho Tay Ho (86th St near 24th Ave, Bath Beach) a great Vietnamese. The pho is very good, the bahn mi is excellent, and some other things I tried such as salt and pepper crispy shrimp were great also. I was tipped to it by Robert Sietsema's Voice review (http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/01...
                            )
                            2. Tacos Nuevo Mexico (5th Ave near 11th S in Park Slope)a generally very good Mexican, although the refried beans I had a couple days ago were liquid-y and tasteless.

                            3. Rosewater (Union St off 6th Ave, Park Slope)

                            4. Di Fara's Pizza (15th St and Ave J, Midwood)

                            5. Bukhara (Coney Island Ave), a very good Pakistani place from Jim's book

                            6. Waterfalls Cafe (Atlantic Ave near Clinton St, Dowtown Brooklyn), great Lebanese place, much better than any of its neighbors, possibly the Sripraphai of Middle Eastern restaurants in NYC, as a recent poster suggested.

                            7. Beso (5th Ave btw Union & President, Park Slope), so called Nuevo Latino restaurant, great breakfasts, I like the Cuban egg sandwich, only had dinner there once.

                            8. Bonnie's Grill (5th Ave, btw 1st & Garfield, Park Slope), diner-y sort of place, only open for dinner, I love the catfish burger and the fries with homemade chipotle mayo dressing.

                            9. Al Di La (5th Ave & Carroll St, Park Slope)

                            1. &
                              "Bob Brooklyn" Jan 7, 2002 08:50 PM

                              How could Bob Brooklyn not reply, especially with many responses being off base...

                              In no particular order, a fast list where delicious meals have indeed been eaten:

                              Lundy's (Seafood, Sheepshead Bay)
                              Vegas Diner (Bensonhurst)
                              Kar (Chinese, Mill Basin)
                              La Villa (Italian, Mill Basin)
                              Brooklyn Marriott restaurant (Varied, Heights)
                              Amin (Indian, Brooklyn Heights)
                              Ocean Palace (Chinese, Sheepshead Bay)
                              Circle's (eclectic, Prospect Park)
                              Carolina Kitchen (Southern, Bed-Stuy)
                              Weiss Dairy (Kosher, Midwood)

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: "Bob Brooklyn"
                                n
                                Nina Wugmeister Jan 8, 2002 09:28 AM

                                Just had to say that Lundy's must be one of the most overrated, overpriced, unimaginative restaurants in the city. The food is abundant, yet dull and tasteless. The service is okay, but the prices are insane. This place rests on a very very old reputation, which may or may not have been deserved 20 years ago - but certainly not now.

                                1. re: Nina Wugmeister
                                  &
                                  "Bob Brooklyn" Jan 8, 2002 03:25 PM

                                  Sorry, couldn't disagree with you more...

                                  In the last few months, have had some of the most delicious seafood, and more, I've ever had, there.

                                  1. re: "Bob Brooklyn"
                                    n
                                    Nina Wugmeister Jan 8, 2002 03:53 PM

                                    We obviously have very different expectations. For example, you include the Marriott and Circles on your list, both places at which I have had nothing but mediocre food at best.

                                    1. re: Nina Wugmeister
                                      n
                                      nic Jan 8, 2002 04:12 PM

                                      the topic of this thread is FAVORITE restaurants...not BEST.

                                      can't you be a bit nicer - perhaps more understanding of people's opinions and their different preferences in food, cost, ambiance and location?

                                  2. re: Nina Wugmeister
                                    d
                                    denise Jan 8, 2002 04:32 PM

                                    I think the lobster is always good, but everything else is disappointing and overpriced. Well, the steamers are good. Where else can you get them. But overall I agree that it could be a lot better than it is.

                                    1. re: denise
                                      n
                                      Nina Wugmeister Jan 8, 2002 09:33 PM

                                      You can get great Steamers at Jordan's, at the end of Sheepshead Bay off of Knapp St. Cheaper and fresher.

                                  3. re: "Bob Brooklyn"
                                    b
                                    bean Jan 9, 2002 07:38 PM

                                    Weiss Dairy (Kosher, Midwood)<<<

                                    gone

                                    the marriott??????

                                  4. t
                                    The Mad Chowhound Jan 7, 2002 01:32 PM

                                    Noodle Pudding
                                    Saul
                                    Grimaldi's
                                    Peter Luger's
                                    Smith Street Kitchen
                                    Al Di La
                                    The Roti/Patty shops on Fulton and St. James
                                    Patois (on occassion)
                                    Jade Palace (Dim Sum Sunday Morning)
                                    The Mexican Place on 5th in the 30's. (sorry I know it by the outside - not my hood)
                                    The Kebab joints on avenue T/U

                                    And of course Luther's Fried Chicken.

                                    The Mad Chowhound.

                                    Brooklyn...you know how we do.

                                    1. j
                                      JessicaSophia Jan 7, 2002 09:53 AM

                                      1. Al Di La in park slope(for their beet ravioli)
                                      2. Rice (Thai place on 7th ave in P.S.)
                                      3. Geja (on Flatbush, good, fresh sushi)
                                      4. A Table in Ft. Greene (depending on whether you go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it's like 3 different restaurants!)
                                      5. Harvest in Cobble Hill for breakfast

                                      I can only think of those... and sorry it's so Park Slope-centric! I really need a car.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: JessicaSophia
                                        d
                                        DeeDee Jan 7, 2002 12:01 PM

                                        I live in Fort Greene and am always looking for new ideas. Thanks to everyone who wrote in with their picks. I noticed that not many people listed restaurants in Williamsburg. I have two favorites in that neighborhood - La Brunette and DuMont. I used to be a fan of Oznot's Dish but I feel that the service and food quality has REALLY deteriorated.

                                        1. re: JessicaSophia
                                          b
                                          bean Jan 7, 2002 02:56 PM

                                          harvest? i had -- quite literally - one of the worst meals i've ever had the misery to try to eat at that place. not on a bet.

                                          1. re: bean
                                            p
                                            Peter Cuce Jan 7, 2002 03:25 PM

                                            Yeah, I liked it when it first opened, they had some creative cooking going on back then. But then it became overcome with its own success and went waaay downhill, especially service-wise.

                                        2. s
                                          SteveR Jan 6, 2002 09:32 PM

                                          Higher Priced/High Quality favorites:
                                          1- Henry's End (hands down)
                                          2- Noodle Pudding (although there are some weaknesses)
                                          3- Copper (try it: they know how to cook!)
                                          4- Sur(my only Smith St. choice)
                                          5- A Table/Al di la/Vini e Olie (take your pick: all worth it)
                                          Other Notes: Cucina's gone south; havent been to Convivium or Grappa yet; Queen isnt friendly (excellent food though); Acadia Parish & Rustic are long gone & now so's Mignon; I just dont think most of Smith Street is worth the price, although some (Saul, Grocery, Smith St. Kitchen)are quality operations.

                                          Very good food/Great value for "anytime" dinners:
                                          1- Cafe on Clinton (from burgers to steak: comfortable)
                                          2- Fountain or Waterfall (great for the $$ Middle East)
                                          3- DiFara (I grew up there & we love Dominick)
                                          4- Vinny's of Carroll Gardens (stick to the eggplant, lasagne, & ziti and take it home)
                                          5- Jake's/Aunt Martha's (delivery is best)
                                          6/7- Teddy's/Waterfront Ale House (burgers, beer and more)
                                          8- Joya (better than Plan Eat Thailand)
                                          9- Theresa's
                                          10- Sahara (may be getting too big)

                                          Clearly, this isnt a list for all of Bklyn, but only for the neighborhoods I know and frequent. I'm helpless in Bay Ridge and am sure there are many more places/neighborhoods I'll never get to. But I'll try! (and look at everyone else's list for ideas). Happy eating.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: SteveR
                                            b
                                            bean Jan 6, 2002 10:19 PM

                                            >

                                            ok, i have to say that 'henry's end' is completely off our list. when i lived in the heights years ago it was great. a while back we decided to go back -- and, worse, took friends telling them of our wonderful little rest. - it was awful. lights turned up high, no ambiance, a waiter who thought that *he* was the main course and in a completely obnoxious way, the food was oversauced and all-in-all it stunk.

                                            on the other hand, cucina, which *had* been going south, seems to have a new chef. we went there for dinner a few weeks ago and i had a simple pasta with clams and it was done perfectly with pancetta and some well-placed 'heat' and my dh had a braised lamb shank on garlicky mashed potatoes. the shank was perfect. that said, the service was fast and we had our food shoved in front of us and then we were ignored. i was impressed by that shank tho!

                                            Vini e Olie is certainly worth any trip. for food and for the space. i love love love it.

                                            - bean

                                            1. re: SteveR
                                              d
                                              Denise Jan 7, 2002 05:59 AM

                                              For steak, how can you forget Peter Luger's?

                                              Denise

                                            2. b
                                              Brooklyn Boy Jan 6, 2002 09:59 AM

                                              Wow, this is a tough one, but I'll give it a shot:

                                              (order does not reflect how much I like the restaurant)

                                              1. Rosewater (Park Slope)
                                              2. Ali's Roti (Bedford Stuyvesant)
                                              3. Dumont (Williamsburg)
                                              4. Osaka (Carroll Gardens)
                                              5. ??? (a lunch counter on Lawrence Street, off Fulton
                                              Mall; the name escapes me, but they have a dynamite
                                              falafel)
                                              6. Grimaldi's (Brooklyn Heights)
                                              7. Mo Bay (Fort Greene)
                                              8. Milan's (Park Slope)
                                              9. Marek's (Greenpoint)
                                              10. White Castle (various locations; can't beat those
                                              fish and cheese sandwiches)

                                              There you have it. If you ask me the same question six months from now, I'm sure the list will be very different.

                                              19 Replies
                                              1. re: Brooklyn Boy
                                                j
                                                Josh Lichtman Jan 7, 2002 11:00 AM

                                                1. Aereo
                                                2. Di fara's
                                                3. Bamontes
                                                4. Cono Pescatore
                                                5. Karam
                                                6. Castro's Coffee shop
                                                7. Grimaldi's
                                                8. Peter Luger's
                                                9. Jade Palace
                                                10. Planet Thailand
                                                11. Coco Roco

                                                1. re: Josh Lichtman
                                                  s
                                                  sk Jan 7, 2002 11:08 AM

                                                  what about those over the top russian nightclubs?? wouldn't go for the food,but how's the whole experience?? thx

                                                  1. re: sk
                                                    d
                                                    DeeDee Jan 7, 2002 12:03 PM

                                                    I spent a year in the Soviet Union back in 1990 and have no desire to ever eat cabbage, beets, etc. again so the Russian nightclub scene in Coney Island or Brighton Beach is definately not for me.

                                                    1. re: DeeDee
                                                      t
                                                      Terence Jan 25, 2002 11:18 AM

                                                      Hee hee!

                                                      I lived in the Soviet Union and in Russia for a total of 6 years. I've eaten enough of the food to last me a lifetime.

                                                      I'll just say that while I'm sure some people love it, most of it is not really to my taste. But some of my friends in NYC seem to think I'm dying to race back to Brighton Beach and gorge on cabbage, and its been hard to convince them that I'd rather eat anything else.

                                                      1. re: Terence
                                                        t
                                                        Tatyana Gourov Jan 27, 2002 12:12 PM

                                                        I don't know what you were doing/eating in Russia for a total of 6 years, but if after that time you can still say that Russian cuisine is "cabbage" and in general is nothing good, than you have been wasting your time in Russia.
                                                        BTW when you post stuff like this people who have never tried Russian food will probably pass on the experience and that would be too bad.

                                                        1. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                          t
                                                          Terence Jan 30, 2002 09:37 AM

                                                          Hi Tatyana,

                                                          I think that maybe there is a misunderstanding here, and that if you re-read my post, you'll see what it was.

                                                          I said that while I was sure that some people loved it, Russian food was not to my taste. What I meant was that I don't really like it, but many others do -- like my friends who keep trying to get me out to Brighton Beach.

                                                          That is, to my mind, a perfectly reasonable statement. If you pick any country, I'm sure you can find someone who doesn't like the local food.

                                                          Its my opinion, about what I like to eat, and was mostly a response the person who posted before I did.

                                                          And I'm not sure that anyone interested in Russian cuisisne would be put off by someone saying: "I don't like it, but other people do."

                                                          All the best,

                                                          Terence

                                                          1. re: Terence
                                                            t
                                                            Tatyana Gourov Jan 31, 2002 09:42 AM

                                                            Terence,

                                                            I understand when people say that don't like certain dishes within a cuisine. What you are saying is that you don't like Russian cuisine in its entirety. I have never understood why anyone would make such a sweeping generalization. After all, I may not enjoy sushi but I wouldn't say I don't like Japanese cuisine. The variety within each country's cuisine is endless. It's hard to believe that you've tried everything and nothing was to your taste. Hope this clears up my argument.

                                                            1. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                              j
                                                              Jennifer Jan 31, 2002 12:08 PM

                                                              I think it's perfectly appropriate to say that one doesn't like a cuisine in general. For example, while once in a while I don't mind a pierogie or two, in general, I'm not the biggest fan of Polish cuisine -- or Russian cuisine or Swedish cuisine for that matter. People will tend to have an affinity for certain types of tastes. While there may be a couple of dishes that one may like of a certain cuisine, I think it's fair to make generalizations in this instance. For example, intestines aren't generally my thing. True, I haven't tried every single intestine dish out there. There may be one that's prepared in such a way that will turn me the other way. But I can safely say that I really don't like intestines.

                                                              1. re: Jennifer
                                                                t
                                                                Tatyana Gourov Jan 31, 2002 12:20 PM

                                                                I really don't see how a comparison with a single ingredient is appropriate in this case. A cuisine, as I said before, will have thousands of dishes that differ vastly in ingredients, preparation, origin. Anyhow, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, so let's agree to disagree.

                                                                1. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                                  h
                                                                  Hazelhurst Jan 31, 2002 02:56 PM

                                                                  It strikes me that there is a problem here in defining "russian cooking." It is very nearly impossible not to find several items to like in the HUGE repertoire of Russian foods. And we must also note that there are many ethnic Russian foods as well as Central Asian dishes (among others) that have made their way into the body of foods one would find in Russia proper. Kharcho is of Georgian origin but it is easy to find in Moscow.

                                                                  Now, it is dangerous to make a generalization but I wager, from my conversations, that most people in the US think of heavy stuffed dumplings and beets and dill when thinking of Russian food. This is fair as far as it goes-- and that is not far--because there ARE lots of dill and beet dishes. And the variety of dumplings is a varied as the number of cooks. People who go ga-ga over Italian ravioli seem to balk at a virtually idential Russian dumpling. Even though people often associate russian foods with heavy, direct roundhouse punch sort of thing (akin to "cuisine bourgeoise" in that respect) there are hundreds of lighter and more delicate items, e.g. smoked fishes, caviar of course, and lightly pickled items that are to die for. You can get a shashlyk in russia that will knock the block off of a shish-ke-bab you get at a really good Turkish/Greek &c restaurant here.

                                                                  Long, long before Specialty Food Shoppes were opening in TriBeCa offering various exotic fungi, the Russians and slavs in general were celebrating mushrooms. They are the best in the world at using these delicacies. Mushroom julienne, Mushroom Tokana, Fried potatoes with wild mushrooms..the list goes on and on and on. And, if one could get Russian quality sour cream, it would be easy to see why so many recipes call for this ingredient.

                                                                  A cornerstone of any civilized cooking (to me) is the repetoire of soups. There are scores of excellent Russian/Georgian/Ukrainian/Latvian (etc) soups, more than one for every taste. The range is from rough to refined. I fell in love with meat selianka at the first sip but I had the advantage of growing up in an age when I was encouraged to try strong flavors and so I am not put-off by pickles and olives in a soup. (try it! it is superb.)

                                                                  I am somehow reminded of European travellers in this nation years ago who lamented the lack of serious cooking outside New Orleans, San Fransisco and certain N.E. enclaves. A good burger is great but I'd not want someone to judge the state of North American cooking on that alone.

                                                                  BYW, I had a nice zakuski set up at Pyramide a couple of years ago. It was as close as we could get to the Real Thing. (But my ears are still ringing from the music.)

                                                                  1. re: Hazelhurst
                                                                    t
                                                                    Tatyana Gourov Feb 1, 2002 08:23 AM

                                                                    Thanks, Hazelhurst! I couldn't have said it better myself. Hope people are adventurous enough to try the various things Russian cuisine has to offer (incl. Georgian, Armenian, Central Asian etc.)

                                                                    1. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                                      t
                                                                      Terence Feb 1, 2002 02:46 PM

                                                                      Well, 2 points. I'm enjoying the conversation, and appreciate very much that we've kept it polite.

                                                                      1) I don't think Russian food and Georgian food are the same thing at all. If you mean mean by "Russian" every type of food that was ever in the Soviet Union, which was large-ish. then I'm sure I would be able to find something to eat, pretty darn easily.

                                                                      Because in that case we can go nearly as far south as Turkey and as far east as the Chinese border. Which covers a lof of ground, and is CHEATING!!!! ;-)

                                                                      It would be as if you said British cuisine included Indian food as well because India was once part of the Empire.

                                                                      The Uzbeks, the Azerbaijanis, the Georgians and a lot of other folks would balk at being called Russians. Hell, a lot of them balked at being called Soviet, too.

                                                                      When I ate at Mama Zoias in Moscow -- its a Georgian place -- there wasn't a lot of crossover on the menu with the traditional "Russian places". Thats why I went and liked it so much.

                                                                      So I have personal gastronomic evidence that I'm plenty "adventurous" enough to try all kinds of food. I'm just not going to try to pass Uzbek or Georgian food off as Russian.

                                                                      2. I appreciate your suggestion that we agree to disagree, but I have to respecfully note that you made an polite arguement that my opinon was perhaps badly informed and perhaps you suggested that I wasn't adventurous as well.

                                                                      In my opinion, I'd rather not eat (what I consider to be) Russian food, which includes (as far as I am concerned) some of the dishes Hazelhurst mentioned in that excellent post.

                                                                      And I'm especially keen to avoid Russian food in the context of the New York restaurants under discussion in this thread -- where you go for the night club experience and the food (salat stolichniy, pirozhki, golubtsy, pozharskie kutlety) is not the main attraction. There's going to be a pretty short list of things on the menu that I'm going to like -- if anything.

                                                                      As far as not liking some food or preferring one type of cuisine over another, it seems perfectly reasonable. I've read that in some cooking schools they teach about "flavor profiles" that is - basic ingredients with which many of the dishes in a particular cuisine start with.

                                                                      For example, If you hate cumin, cayenne and oregano, and some people do, I'd say that Mexican is probably not the best choice for you. I'm not advocating an overly dogmatic, cookie-cutter approach to cuisine, but if we're going to start deliniating, thats one approach...

                                                                      So as far as Russian food goes, as I said: I lived there for nearly 6 years, I got hungry, I tried it, I didn't like most of it very much, and given the choice, I'd rather go nearly anywhere else.

                                                                      If you'll permit a rather risque observation -- kazhdiy drochit, tak i hochet.

                                                                      All the best,

                                                                      Terence

                                                                      ps. I do like pickles. I really love cheremsha, but can't find it in NYC, and I don't think they make an ajika here that is as good as what I got in Krasnodar.

                                                                      pps. Shashlik is from the Caucasus.

                                                                      1. re: Terence
                                                                        t
                                                                        Tatyana Gourov Feb 2, 2002 12:06 PM

                                                                        First of all, get your lingo straight. Second of all, that's a very insulting thing to say to someone you don't know. So with all due respect, this conversation is over for me.

                                                                        1. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                                          t
                                                                          toaster Feb 2, 2002 12:40 PM

                                                                          Not sure how he was insulting ? The crossover of cuisines is complictaed as well as the the reformatioon of that huge country the former Soviet Union. Lingo is hard to get straight. Its complicated and I think rather than shutting down dialogue you shoould keep it open. If you read his post again it was respectful.

                                                                          1. re: toaster
                                                                            h
                                                                            Hazelhurst Feb 2, 2002 08:24 PM

                                                                            Been "off the reservation" for a few days and return to find a flap when all I wished to do was post some good news.

                                                                            For those who are confused (including me) by recent events, I suggest that we learn a little more Russian. Seems evident to me that the reaction is to the Russian comment at the end of the posting. We Americans often unwittingly upset europeans by looser standards of behavior and language.

                                                                            I had meant to re-inforce the notion that foods one can eat in Russia (proper) may not be "Russian" but have come from areas under Russian influence. Sure, shashlyk is Caucasian but one can readily find it in Russia. But we need not revisit this point to get to the good news. The pickles, we know, are excellent and I agree with the remark about cherymsha--I adore the stuff and have my friends carry it in when they return from Russia (I have about twenty stalks in my refrigerator right now--I am hoarding them.)

                                                                            Lo! what should happen today? A friend delivers a bottle of cherymsha! Bought right here in the USA! I have scoured Brighton Beach and other outposts and failed to find the stuff and yet the little bottle sits by my side right now. It is sweeter than the stuff I get from the Moscow markets but it is still better than nothing. The bottle presents the e-mail address of: okimprodukt@mail.ru

                                                                            Call it a peace offering

                                                                            1. re: toaster
                                                                              t
                                                                              Tatyana Gourov Feb 3, 2002 12:22 PM

                                                                              It has to do with the Russian comment at the end of his post which I will not translate (but I'm sure you can ask Terence and he'll gladly oblige). If after living in a country for 6 years he still doesn't know which comments are appropriate and when, then I am not here to teach him. Too little, too late.

                                                                            2. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                                              j
                                                                              John Keith Feb 2, 2002 06:39 PM

                                                                              Tatyana, I really don't understand what part of the post you found insulting. Before you claim that this conversation is over, please elaborate on what is troubling you because I'm sure a lot of people are bewildered by your very abrupt comment.

                                                              2. re: Tatyana Gourov
                                                                g
                                                                Geo8rge Sep 19, 2007 01:48 PM

                                                                Why not post the best Russian places?

                                                          2. re: sk
                                                            e
                                                            Elaine(Snutteplutten) Jan 7, 2002 05:29 PM

                                                            Only been twice - and can't even tell you which ones they were, but the food was unbeliveably atrocious. Felt like I was living the Soviet experience down to each rancid mouthful of deep fried meat. The vodka was free-flowing however, the music and dancing like a tripped out bar mitzvah - definitely an experience, though I'm too much of an eater not to resent the platters of dreck that are heaped upon you.

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