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Nov 27, 2006 11:40 PM

Best restaurant in Brooklyn?

Still Al di La or Tempo or Grocery? Any others?

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  1. Definitely not Grocery.

    My votes would be for Saul, Al Di La, or Convivium. Chestnut close behind. Never been to Tempo so cant comment.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Nehna

      I thought about this for a while and while I love places like Applewood, Rosewater, Al Di La etc I'm not if they cook up anything as good or chow worthy as the pizza at DiFara's and the steak at Peter Lugers.

      1. re: josh L

        Isnt the consensus getting to be that Peter Lugers is on its way downhill? Sadly I still have yet to get myself over to try it (the reservation difficulty is tedious), but I've had a hard time getting myself to go as many mediocre reviews as I've seen lately on this board. Is it still 'that' good?

        1. re: Nehna

          I discount most of the downhill alerts I read on the boards, especially when they are written about well established places. People *love* to be the first with one of these. It shows they are somehow more perceptive and discerning than the common lot. I remember a brief flurry of negative posts about Sripraphai recently, all of which amounted to nothing. The place is still great - 4 meals in the last 5 weeks confirmed it.

          Sometimes kitchens have occasional problems. Sometimes a specific dish can be off on a given night. And sometimes the problem is just in people's heads.

          Of course if a reputable poster like yourself said something like this I would sit up and listen but lots of those random negative posts have no credibility at all.

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Fair enough point - what's your personal take on Peter Lugers? Worth the hassle to get a rez? We do love our steak and its certainly not far that from Cobble Hill......

            1. re: Nehna

              I haven't been awhile and have been meaning to get back. People I trust tell me it's still very good but can have off moments. I wonder sometimes whether any place can compete with it's own reputation, particularly when it's an ingredient based restaurant like Luger's. There's always the danger of the Good Old Days syndrome where today's meal is compared with mythic perfection.

              I can tell you this - I had a wonderful Delmonico steak at City Hall last Saturday night. That was no myth. :-)

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                I did get the impression, based on the chatter here, that one of their claims to fame, namely hand-picking and ageing all their own beef, was no longer true. Am I mistaken?

                1. re: scooter

                  To my knowledge the meat selection process at Luger's remains the same. If somebody tells you otherwise, ask them to quote their source.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    Of course Peter Luger's is worth the wait for a rez. It is still hands down the best steakhouse in NYC -- from a variety of perspectives -- in spite of the occassional hiccup. I couldn't agree more with Bob. The bacon appetizer and porterhouse are still legendary and still unbeatable in my mind.

                  2. re: scooter

                    It wasn't long ago that I saw a TV magazine story on Peter
                    Luger's and one of the segments showed a daughter of the
                    owners at a meat wholesaler marking sides of beef for
                    purchase by the restaurant. She discussed what she looks
                    for in beef to make it Peter Luger worthy.

      2. Agree, definitely not Grocery.
        Beyond that, it depends. I like River Cafe, but it is a special occasion place. On Smith St., I think that Saul is the best. On Fifth Avenue, Tempo is my choice over Al Di La, mainly because being able to make reservations enhances the dining experience. And, don't forget the Queen on Court St - excellent food in a less-special room.

        9 Replies
        1. re: MichaelZ

          Tell me more about Queen-- I've always been curious.


          1. re: MichaelZ

            I am also curious about Queen. I've heard people on this board say it's wonderful, but I've walked by it many times and never once been tempted to go in. I think it's a combination of the cheesy dining room, the classic (boring) menu and the location.

            Queen-defenders -- what specifically do you like about this place?

            1. re: oolah

              For starters, the fresh mozzerella is out of this world. And I'd stick to the pastas. They're not like the Al Di La pastas somehow. Maybe the ingredients aren't as farmstand fresh. But they are perfect in their own way. Simple and familiar and executed really well. Just had the carbonara last weekend and it was stellar as usual. From my experience, they are also willing to prepare just about any pasta dish. They catered to my wife's infatuation with penne a la vodka, even though it's not on the menu.

              FYI, if you ever call for takeout, which they do really well, make sure to ask for the specials.

              1. re: gangly handful

                The trick for eating at Queen is to stick to the specials menu. Their standard "red sauce" Italian is less than impressive.

              2. re: oolah

                Since you asked:

                Went 11/18. The bread basket was fresh and varied. Breaded and fried homemade mozz. w/anchovy and wine sauce still amazes me, very nice chicken livers, gnocchi w/wild boar sauce that was light but with lots of cubes of tasty boar meat and a fried calamari/ zucchini/mushroom mix that had no extra grease and lots of flavor (& salt) made for a great start w/our first bottle of barbera d'asti(? know me and wines...not a clue). The entrees we all ordered were simple but very nice... 2 chicken parms w/pasta sides, my lasagna (this is the standard I use to compare other places' product), and one veal scallopini w/some green or other and some very hot looking red peppers all went well with the 2nd bottle of wine. One dessert of a whole poached orange, with candied orange rinds, homemade vanilla bean gelato was enough for the 4 of us. A couple of espressos and a cappucino. Approx. $135/couple and well worth it.

                Need to go back soon. I like the place.

                1. re: oolah

                  The Daily Menu, printed on a separate page is unusual, and offers many classic Italian dishes not found in your local "red sauce" Italian restaurants.

                  Sort of like Babbo, with no atmosphere and not hip.

                  Try it, the food is wonderful.

                  1. re: Fleur

                    Wow, thanks everyone. I'll pay them a visit in the next few weeks. As a big fan of DiFara's, I know appearances can be deceiving, so I had to ask :)

                    1. re: oolah

                      And there's even a connection. Queen is a very old place in a new location. It used to be a block away and had it's own pizza place next door to the restaurant (movie theater/Barnes and Noble block). When you're in DiFara's, ask Dom where he worked before he opened his own place 40something years ago.

              3. My vote, w/out question, goes to Applewood.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JenMarie66

                  As made clear by many of my past posts, my vote goes to Applewood -- hands down.

                2. Just made reservations at Saul for Christmas Eve (post Barge Music performance). They're doing a Feast of the Seven Fishes. Has anyone partaken in this at Saul? Sounds most intriguing!

                  1. Saul, Applewood, 360; in that order.