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Italian beef in Brooklyn?

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This past year I was introduced to the Saturday special roast beef sandwich at Fiore's in Hoboken - thinly sliced roast beef topped with their fresh mozzarella and soaked in gravy. I know this is not an "authentic" Chicago style beef, but having never tried one of those, I have to say this was one of the finest sandwiches I've ever had. A few weeks ago I tried a similar combination at Defonte's in Red Hook, which was very satisfying, but left me wondering if there are other places I should be looking into that are closer to home (Carroll Gardens/Red Hook area). Does anyone have any recommendations?

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  1. These aren't close to you but very worth the effort:

    Clementes: 188 Avenue T

    John's Deli: Haven't been yet but they bill themselves as the best roast beef hero in Brooklyn. In Bensonhurst, do a search.

    1. Try the Crooked Tail Cafe on 3rd in Gowanus...the bread is excellent and i found the sandwich very tasty...im not from Chicago(though i love the town) but I was there recently and had a great lunch at Mr Beef on Orleans

      1. Can you describe the "gravy" on the Fiore's sandwich. Is it a thick brown gravy or a thin au jus or something else altogether?

        1. Catene Deli on Ninth St near Fourth Ave also does a pretty good Brooklyn-style roast beef sandwich. You can ask for them to soak it pretty well in jus (comparable to DeFonte's, but the times I've been to Catene, they've poured it on a little more freely). At either of these places, leaving off the mozzarella and adding hot peppers and/or spicy giardiniera can *approximate* Chicago-style. Down in the Sheepshead Bay area, Brennan & Carr makes a version which doesn't have any of the spice, but gets things nice and sopping, and Roll-N-Roaster is its own thing--kind of like a great alternate-universe version of Arby's. John's Deli (mentioned by Abbylovi) on Stillwell (they also opened a Bay Ridge location, but I've never been there) uses a much thicker, dark gravy. I think all of these places have their virtues. They make Brooklyn-style beef sandwiches (and most will assume you want cheese with it, which is something I've never witnessed in Chicago). But none of them is trying to reproduce the amazingly juicy, flavorful, meaty, spicy mess that is a Chicago Italian beef. For that, unfortunately, we have to travel hundreds of miles (although I've been tempted to try to roast and assemble my own someday).

          3 Replies
          1. re: hhhippo

            Can you get John's (Bensonhurst locale) roast beef and mozzarella all the time? I thought it was just the Wednesday special.

            1. re: MShapiro

              The Bay Ridge location of John's is no longer in business.

            2. Monte's on Avenue O and East 5th Street is noted for the very same roast beef, mozzarella, gravy sandwich.

              (718) 259-1500
              156 Ave O
              Brooklyn, NY 11204

              Take the N train to the Bay Parkway station and exit the Avenue O exit (from the front of the train). Take a left and it is two blocks on the right.

              1. Not Brooklyn, but a doable drive...this looks extremely promising...


                1. Caputo's Fine Foods on Courts Street may do it. They certainly have the ingredients to make it. You could also try Vito's in Hoboken. It's around a mile or so from Fiore's.

                  Caputo's Fine Foods
                  460 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  1. This roast beef w/ fresh mozzarella and gravy combo is something I'm a big fan of too. For those interested in this type of sandwich, here's a list of places that do it (or should). This list isn't complete, but hits most of the major places as wll as the ones I'd reccomend:

                    *La Torre Pork Store, Old Mill Basin: Great all around, roast beef could be rarer
                    Lioni's Heros, Bensonhurst: With their huge menu, they have to have it, haven't tried
                    Clementes, Gravesend: Haven't tried it, they definitely have it
                    John's Deli, Bensonhurst: Good but overrated
                    *Classic Heros, Coney Island: Great, similair gravy to John's, homemade brisket and gravy too
                    *Sonny's, Canarsie: Never had, they run out of homemade roast beef/fresh mozzarella fairly quickly, unsure whether they do the gravy but they should, great sandwiches otherwise, owner make every single one himself
                    *Fiore Deli, Hoboken: One of the best for this sandwich and others, ask for them to go light on the gravy or they'll drown it
                    Lisa's Deli, Hoboken: Good shop, good version but I'd rank it behind Fiore and Vito's
                    *Vito's Delicatessen, Hoboken: Haven't tried it but my friends have, the roast beef itself is great, pricey and polished but a great shop
                    Fran's Deli, Hoboken: Haven't tried, pretty sure they have it
                    Luca Brasi's Deli, Hoboken: They have it, haven't tried
                    Parisi Bakery, Little Italy: Not sure about the gravu but they ahve the roast beef
                    *Brennan & Carr, Sheepshead Bay: They have roast beef w/ cheese and gravy, no mozzarella, roast beef is the main thing here, place has been around since the 30's
                    Rollin Roaster, Sheepshead Bay: They have a version like Brennen & Carr, fast food-y, my family is a B&C family so I've never been here
                    Monte's Deli, Bensonhurst: They have it, haven't tried it because they have weird hours when I've tried to go but friends tell me its great
                    Catene Deli, Park Slope: They have it, haven't been
                    Defonte's, Red Hook/Murray Hill: They have it, make it with fried eggplant too I believe, haven't been
                    Jimmys Famous Heros, Sheepshead Bay: Haven't been but used to walk by it frequently, seems like the place that would have it, confirmation anyone?
                    This Little Piggie Had Roast Beef, East Village: They have it, haven't tried yet b/c I'm not a fan of their other place (Artichoke Basile's)
                    Leo's Latticini, Corona: 90% sure they have it, never been to retail location
                    Rocky's Meat Market, Marine Park: They have it, haven't tried it myself
                    G Esposito & Sons, Carroll Gardens: They should have it, 80% sure just b/c of the gravy
                    Rosario's Deli, Astoria: Not sure about the gravy but they have everything else
                    M&S Heros, park Slope: They have it, its alright
                    Sorriso Italian Pork Store, Astoria: Should have the gravy, they have everything else

                    Catene Deli
                    237 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                    Sorriso Italian Pork Store
                    44-16 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103

                    Leo's Latticini
                    46-02 104th St, Queens, NY 11368

                    Rosario's Deli
                    22-55 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

                    Rocky's Meat Market
                    2950 Ave R, Brooklyn, NY 11229

                    John's Deli
                    6801 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                    1. There are many places to get good RB in Bklyn. I have been to Chi town many times and the Chicago style is very different from what we serve here. I feel that Johns Deli is the best version around with DeFontes being second but you should try Brennan & Carrs in Sheepshead Bay the gravy there is very similar to Al's Beef in Chi Town.
                      Either way you will love them all. BTW Johns Deli has a location in Staten Island also I was just told.


                      Brennan & Carr
                      3432 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11229