NYers- what restaurants would you defend no matter what?
I recently caught myself as I was about to reply to this very popular topic on the LA board. I think it is an intriguing question, and that we could probably have some fun with our own east coast version: what restaurant(s) will you continue to patronize, or recommend, or find something positive to say about, no matter what others have to say about it? It could even be for reasons beyond their current food offerings.
For me, I would have to mention John's Pizzeria on Bleecker, Joe's Pizza on Carmine, Ruby Foo's (UWS), Tse Yang, Babbo, Daniel.
none. i'm pretty loyal to my "goto" places but i wouldn't defend them, "no matter what." bars, on the other hand, are different...
Good question, that. Mei Lei Wah, on Bayard in Chinatown, has always been my favorite hole-in-the-wall tea house. But I guess I'd draw the line at biting into a combination bun and having an eyeball staring out at me. (Then again, those lamb's eyeballs at Flushing's A Fan Ti were pretty tasty...hmmmm.....)
I would'nt fight for restaurants, but the chefs instead. And besides my own, I'd fight til the death for Vongo and Boulud.
Here's my list (broken down by the 3 boroughs I am in most often):
1) Manhattan: Shake Shack for sure. I have been to all the usual haunts but Shake Shack will always be at the top of my list.
2) Brooklyn: Cafe LuluC on Smith Street. I've always had a terrific meal there, even if the service can be quite slow. Most people seem to have had a bad experience there which I can't figure out.
3) Forest Hills (my own 'hood, for better or for worse): 5 Burro. There are many naysayers out there on the Outer Borough boards and in some Queens blogs and I don't get it at all. It's not supposed to be authentic Mexican (go to Jackson Heights for that) which everyone seems to harp on, it's more Tex-Mex or Cali-Mex and every meal I've had there has been fantastic. Granted the crowd is very Queens-y but once you get to a table you can pretty much ignore everyone else and focus on some amazing skirt steak tacos or quesadillas, lobster tails or chicken in al ajillo sauce and icy cold Dos Equis to wash it all down.
Also in Queens - Mood, which is this modern/new American place in Kew Gardens. If anyone knows the Kew Gardens/Forest Hills area you know it's painfully lacking in good restaurants. Mood ironically has a really depressing atmosphere since the restaurant is almost always empty but the food there is really good (including a lunchtime only fantastic $7 burger with the crispiest fries).