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Finally: some good news Binghamton/Endicott

  • j

OK, I've been snarled at enough in other Binghamton threads so I won't join in the thread below. I happen to be of the opinion that Broome county offers some of the worst food in any upstate metro area. It is also my hometown and I have been spending just about every other weekend there and eating out virtually all the time.

So I was overjoyed on my visit last weekend to discover Curry & Grill Indian Restaurant at 1200 North St. in Endicott. It is an unassuming little place with a menu that would be interesting even in Jackson Heights or Iselin. I was only able to eat one meal there but had an excellent dosa (south Indian crepe filled with spiced potatoes, not on the menu but a chalkboard item) with superb sambar. Chatting with the waiter, who came from Madras, I discovered that they have been open a couple months. Even though they offer all the standard tandoori items my guess is that the vegetarian (i.e. southern style) dishes might be the strong point. A friend who ate dinner there later that night also loved the food, even though he has never had Indian before. Beats the horrid Indian place on Court St. by a mile.

Afterward, I went up to L'Aveggio at 128 Oak Hill Avenue and had one of the best cups of expresso anywhere. The owner is very passionate about every aspect of coffee. Check it out. On weekend nights in summer there were many older Italians from the neighborhood gathered outside providing some musical entertainment. Oh, just down the street from Consol's Family Kitchen, one of my reliable standbys in the area.

Joe Moryl

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  1. Joe, By now you know they closed the Curry &Grill. I'm sorry to say that I never had the opportunity to try it as my husband is not fond of Indian food. Consul's is one of our fav's, though. At least once a week. Coffee at L'Aveggio is very good. I have stopped going there, however, as I think the "Barrista" has an attitude problem. His wife is an angel, I think.

    1. Is Little Venice downtown still open? I think its on Chenango St. I haven't been in about 10 years (since college), but their Manicotti was to die for. Other than that, I always thought the restaraunt scene in Binghamton was pretty lackluster also. Good coffee and sandwiches at the black dog cafe though (again, if it's still open).

      1. Kloomis, Little Venice is still here. And you are right- the Manicotti is great! Good coffee and sandwiches at The Lost Dog. (but I have the cookbook from Black Dog Cafe!) PS Restaurant in Vestal is very good. If you visit, try them. They are in the Giant Plaza on Vestal Pkwy- of all places!

        1. I'm sorry to hear about the lack of adeqaute dining in the binghamton area. When I attended SUNY-B in the mid to late 80's I seem to recall that there existed a number of very decent restaurants in the area. I know most if not all have closed by now. I remember the following (quite fondly)- Drovers Inn, Tiffany's, #5 Steakhouse, Coco's, the Vestal Steakhouse, the Copper Cricket, the Hole in the Wall, and Pino's. The last I heard, the Copper Cricket, Pino's and #5's were still operating. BTW, is the Cider Mill Playhouse still around? Great donuts and cider ...YUM. I kind of miss Binghamton. Thanks for giving me a reason to reminisce.

          1. Yes, I noticed that Curry & Grill was gone. In fact I should have posted because they started going downhill for some time before they closed. Guess it was too good to be true. It boggles the mind how the really bad Indian place on Court St. downtown can stay in business....

            In other triple cities chow news, there is a new Italian cafe of the pannini, wine and gelato sort (maybe called Antonio's?) across Oak Hill Ave. from Consol's. The nice thing is that they stay open till 11 pm, you can lounge on a sofa; we had some decent sandwiches and tasty gelato. I don't think there is anything else like this in the area.

            I had been going to the Korean place in the Vestal plaza (Han-am?) and have been quite pleased with mostly everything. Well, on my last visit they were gone, but moving to Bunn Hill Rd. near the west entrance to SUNY. Said they would open in Oct.; hope they maintain their quality.

            Can't say I'm a fan of Little Venice, and Lost Dog is only o.k. in my book...


            2 Replies
            1. re: jmoryl

              Joe, My husband loves the gelato at Antonios. I'm not crazy about the food, but great cappucino and yes, it is nice to have a place that stays open late. Little Venice does have great manicotti, but honestly aside from that, their homeade pasta with sauce and their martini's, it is not great. Even meatballs and sausage are not good! How to you make a bad meatball? Or find taseless sausage? But! I must say, Lost Dog has some great food! Such as their coconut shrimp (amazing sauce), parm crusted chicken with asparagus and balsamic on a hard roll or croissant with sweet potato fries! Great crisp salads with fresh homeade dressings! Anyway, I usually enjoy my meal there.I will try the Korean place when the open back up. What about the Vietnamese place in Johnson City? And have you tried Lemongrass? I have heard nothing about this new place.

              1. re: pixlpi

                The Viet place in JC is pretty mediocre. I think they have tried to tailor the menu to suit those non-Asians who are expecting something similar to the sugary Chinese buffets that are standard in the area. The menu seemed to lack a lot of the dishes I usually associate with that cusine. There is a new place called Lemongrass on the Vestal Parkway about a mile east of the Endicott bridge. Heard any thing about that one?

            2. For Italian, I like Anthony's on North State Street. Decent sauce and a friendly joint. My very favorite place for breakfast and lunch is Chris's on State Street, around the corner from the Federal building. What a "greasy spoon" should be: great bacon, eggs & homefries served up fast and hot; huge portions for the lunch specials (I could not finish the chicken & biscuits yesterday); terrific hot meatloaf sandwiches with fries, etc. If you are by yourself in the morning, try to sit at the counter so you can watch Chris on the grill. Waitresses shouting orders at him, and he keeps it all straight.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jimmyg

                Jimmyg, We have walked past this place many times and it is always packed! We will try it on your recommendation!

              2. I graduated from Binghamton in 2004, and I never found any shortage of places to eat... In my eyes there weren't any spectacular restaurants, just lots of places with one or two great items that I went back for again and again. Some of my favorites...
                -Joey's Italian Ice. Several locations. Try their "gelato," a layered mixture of italian ice and frozen custard. (Unfortunately the one on Main Street in Bing is not open year round!)
                -Cyber Cafe. The hot sandwiches and other things are microwaved and eh but their big cookies are pretty good and their hot drinks are always yummy. Really fun atmosphere for a date or catching up with friends; sometimes they have good live music too.
                -Lost Dog- agreed that the food in general is only "ok" but it receives an A for atmosphere, especially on live jazz nights, and the riggies vodka and the mambo chocolate love dessert are EXCELLENT. The sandwiches are decent too, just not a huge fan of the burgers.
                -Christy's has kind of a hokey family atmosphere but they have great burgers and steaks. Not crazy about the dessert cart though.
                -Theo's barbecue, on Main Street, has good messy bbq from what I remember (I haven't been in a year or two, but my sister and her friends swear by the collard greens and mac and cheese).
                -Tony's, yes, the bar, has GREAT huge greasy sandwiches and fries-- I love their burgers and spiedie sandwiches.
                -Kampai on the parkway is very popular; I'm not a huge Japanese food fan but it's got the whole hibachi performance thing going on. The atmosphere is very fun and good for families, though kind of pricey by Bing standards.
                -Copper Cricket is also nice for special occasions, but pricey, although I can't say the food was better than average because I have no memory of it.
                -Portobagel had bagels that are far better than many metro area bagels I've eaten, though I've heard that it's being sold?
                -As far as pizza, at school I would put aside any conception of NY style pizza and enjoy Nirchi's for what it is-- crispy bread with sauce and yummy toppings. Finding a good "real" slice is difficult in Bing. (Though Grande's on Vestal Ave is decent.)
                -Apple dumpling cafe (http://www.applehills.com/index2.htm) has hearty and delicious sandwiches and donuts; they have breakfast too which I have not tried but am dying to! A little out of the way but adorable and fun.
                -Bgut, Cider Mill in Endicott is indeed still there, and stil has unbelievable fresh donuts, cheese, cider, and other goodies.
                -Finally, Zazou is a fun place to try, again on the pricey side for dinner, but the last time we went they were having a tapas event and we got to sample a bunch of different dishes (soup, seared tuna, coconut shrimp...)-- we were impressed with the presentation and quality of the food. They're definitely trying hard to be hipper than the rest of Bing, and I think it works. Their platters, salads, and sandwiches at lunchtime are worth trying.
                -Supermarket shopping is obviously the best at Wegman's. I wish there were a Wegman's in Westchester!

                Things I never found...
                -a really good Italian place comparable to Westchester or NYC standards (Not a little venice fan either, or Cortese, yuck!
                )-a decent BAKERY of any persuasion!!! I once tried a cookie at Wagner's on Seminary but I couldn't take more than one bite it was so horrible and I refused to go back. I tended to stick to Wegman's for my baked goods.

                Just my 2 cents! Would love to hear if there's anything else new and interesting for my next trip back.

                2 Replies
                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                  IEALOIC, Yes! I forgot Zazous! I've had many nice meals there. And Martini's. Kampai is always good. Again, Consuls is my fav Italian food. Cortese was definatly not good the 2 times I have been. New places? Try Lampy's in Endicott (remember not to drink the water or breathe) And did you ever eat at that Thai restaurant (not new) in Endicott on Watson Blvd? That's pretty good.

                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    Port-o-Bagel closed down this year, so much for bagels. It turned into a Vietnamese restaurant.

                    Best hummus wrap I ever had hands down, Cyber Cafe West on Main Street. Great scene for those who want to bring someone to a low key atmoshphere. Laptops, free-writing encouraged during the day. Desserts are nothing special, but any place offering vegan carrot cake is trying, and I like a little hustle.

                    A brand new asian fusion place opened on vestal parkway, past the old navy shopping center, on the left going west. Can't remember the name but got some great grilled eggplant with basmati rice. It's in a brand new strip mall, but you step in and it's a little taste of metropolis.

                    Lost Dog has great sweet potato fries.

                    Oh, and Number Five is a no-no. Yes, they have warm bread, but that's where it ends. Staff is friendly, but the portions you get are small.

                  2. What about Pat Mitchell's - is it still around? They used to deliver it on campus. Those were the days .......

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bgut1

                      Pat Mitchell's delivery??? They are still around, but their seasonal hours make for a long winter void of Crazy Cupcake ice cream...

                      1. re: bgut1

                        I'm a Harpur grad from the mid seventies. My fond memories are of Sharkey's: spiedies and clams. Is it still in business?

                      2. I didn't mean to imply that Pat Mitchells did the actually delivery. The delivery service was handled by the campus food service company who I assume bought loads of ice cream from them (in pints).

                        1. I had an excellent clam and red wine pasta dish in Whitney Point this summer. Bon Appetit! That corner pizza, Italian restaurant on the corner. I think it's the only corner, but a memorable one. The dish was excellent! But, don't bother with dessert, they are boxed desserts, not worth the time. I ordered the tirimisu and watched horrified as the young teenage waittress proceeded to cover it with whipped cream from a can. I had to ask for another piece, just couldn't do it. She exclaimed, "I've always seen tirimisu done this way", I wonder how many places around there serve tirimisu. Smile. I noticed she did all the desserts that way. Somebody get her a shaker of cocoa please!

                          1. I am sorry to say that after my husband and I eat (as we have many time)at Lampy's just after Thanksgiving our food was disgusting. It had always been good in the past but something has gone wrong. We waited forever for our entree's and my piccata was tough like doggie treats. I'm sorry to say I will never waste my money here again, I suggest you try Nirchi's or the Oaks Inn

                            1. Well, I am also sorry to say my husband & I went to Consols the day after Thanksgiving:Horrible!
                              I used to work there many moons ago, and it was always fantastic & remained one of our favs long after I left and I understand everyone has an off day occasionally, but the sauce was burnt...in an Italian!!!AND the pasta was mushy. I was very very dissapointed in my meal, as was my husband.

                              1. I agree about Consol's, MyGirlMia. I just went last week and was not impressed.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bobo3039

                                  I am visiting after many years away and was planning to have dinner at Consol's one night. Are there any dishes that are tried and true that they probably won't mess up?

                                  The other dinner will be at PS in Vestal, so any recommendations of what to try and/or avoid would be appreciated.

                                  Of course, no trip home would be complete without a stop at Sharkey's, but I don't need help with that one!

                                  Also, has anybody ever had brunch at the Traditions at the Glen that they can report on?

                                  Last but not least - where to go for the best late-night wings?

                                2. I used to love Lampy's but their food has realy gone down the drain. Service is nice, but I'll never pay for that food again. Be warned!

                                  1. If anyone is still reading this, I have to give my compliments to Thai Basil - on Washintgon & North in Endicott. This is a seriously good Thai restaurant with real Thai chefs. Some of the best Thai I've had outside of Thailand, and here in Endicott! Atmosphere is nothing special but the food is great and nicely priced. They make an excellent Pad Thai but be adventurous and try other dishes. Soups are excellent. Dessert is not so great. Thai Iced Tea rocks. BTW, Lemongrass is OK, nice atmosphere but really pricey for what you get. Same with Moghul, food is good but it's city prices for Indian food.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: nic0e

                                      +1 on Thai Basil. Finally made it to Lemongrass and it was trying to hard to be something special, which it wasn't. My favorite place in the area is Korean at Man Nam, formerly of Vestal Plaza but now on Vestal Parkway E just before Denny's/SUNY (it is easy to miss). Very solid food at reasonable prices.

                                      Is Moghul the fancy Indian place in the Vestal Plaza? I love Indian food but have heard this place was mediocre, especially considering their pricing.

                                    2. So we will be in Binghamton and Ithaca later this week on a college trip. We probably won't have time for any meals in Ithaca because of timing of our tours and the fact that we are driving home right afterwards. In Binghamton, we will have time for a quick lunch and I was thinking of stopping off for dinner on the way back from Ithaca. I'm not interested in ethnic stuff because we will be in DC the following week and I'm going to have enough trouble getting my family to try stuff there :-).

                                      Anyway, for lunch I was thinking of either Sharkeys or Phil's Chicken House, but I am not sure how far the latter is from the SUNY campus and whether we could make it back by 1. For dinner that day we are going to the B-Mets game so I figure I will have spiedies from the stand at the park. On the way home the following day, I was thinking of going to Lost Dog Cafe (had hoped to have lunch at the Ithaca location but they close at 3), since we had a good meal there a few years ago on an earlier visit. But I read about Whole in the Wall here and their menu looks good. I was really interested in Theo's but read a post on another site which said that they were closed by the IRS for non-payment of tax. Can someone confirm that? I need to try calling them later today -- when I called at 10pm last night there was no answer but it was not disconnected, either. Any other place I have missed? I am not really interested in something fancy or pizza, and I'd really like it to be convenient to the highway. Of course our other option is getting stuff to go from Wegmans (that might be a good choice for lunch).

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: MisterBill2

                                        Phil's Chicken house might be difficult to get to and back in an hour. Lunch is buffet style and the chicken is good. Sharkey's is closer to the BU campus--I think the spiedies there are overrated, but that's just me.

                                        1. re: bobo3039

                                          I was thinking Phil's might be good since it buffet and we wouldn't have to wait for our food. But my son isn't real interested in going there. I found out in another thread that Theo's is open again so it might be an option if we can get up there by 11:30 or so, which is my goal. He said he doesn't want to go there either but he loves wings (as do I) so I'm sure he will be happy there. And it looks to be pretty convenient to BU.

                                          We'll just get our Spiedies at the baseball game. They may not be the best but they will hopefully be ok.

                                          So now the question is should we do Lost Dog or Whole in the Wall for dinner the following day, or is there somewhere else even better that we will drive past on our trip home (along 17/I-81 towards Westchester).

                                          1. re: MisterBill2

                                            Since you're going to look at BU, I think I would go with Lost Dog since it's very popular with students during the school year. My sister and I are both recent graduates (w/in last 4 years), and Lost Dog retains a fond place in our memory-- the food is good (not excellent, mind you, but good), the atmosphere has a kind of downtown-hip vibe, and I spent many fun lunches and dinners there with friends, family, on dates, etc. I think it's a good selling point for Binghamton... but Whole in the Wall is cute too!

                                            ETA: If I'm not mistaken, the spiedie place at the B-Mets stadium is actually a Lupo's outpost, so I'm sure they'll be fine!

                                            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                              Yes, I recall that the spiedies stand at the stadium was some variation on the Lupo's place.

                                              We ate at Lost Dog 4 years ago when we visited BU with my daughter (she did not end up going there). Now we are making the trip for my son. I recall that we all enjoyed our meal there. I actually wanted to do lunch at the one in Ithaca before we leave there, but we will probably not be done at Cornell before 3 and that is when they close (Ithaca is closed 3-5, Bing is open all day). So I realized we need to drive right past Binghamton on the way home anyway, so we could just stop off at Lost Dog there, maybe around 5 or so.

                                              The other option was a place we found the last time we made the trip down from Ithaca which was the Route 96 Diner in Owego. I recall we had a surprisingly good meal there (nothing fancy of course), although I don't see the place written up anyway. I had forgotten the name of the place, it was only because I was able to find the credit card charge in Quicken that I was able to figure out the name!

                                              Of course the other option is someplace between Binghamton and Westchester, if there's anyplace really good close to 17.

                                        2. re: MisterBill2

                                          Han-am serves very tasty Korean food right near the SUNY-B campus. They are a bit hard to see, located on the east bound side of Rt. 434 (Vestal Parkway) just before you get to the campus (when you come to the KFC and Denny's you have just passed it). From a Binghamton native, spiedies aren't really all that great.