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Finally made it to Shopsin's!

Alright so I finally made it to Shopsin's today on my day off from work. Arrived at about 1:45 and there was no wait. As soon as I sat down my server gave me a nice tall glass of water, which I sorely needed since I was coming in from the 90 degree heatwave outside.

I pretty much studied the menu before I came knowing how long it is, but I just ran through it one more quick time to see if there was any new additions or anything different. Luckily, it was the same exact menu I had been looking at for the past week lol. And yes it takes a while to study the menu, still about 500 items on it.

So, the server came back and I proceeded to go with half order of mac n cheese pancakes, half order of slutty cakes, and an egg burrito. I then said to him, "What kinda shakes you got?", which prompted him to look at me and say "Dude that's a lot of fuckin food". I was like um yeah? He goes yeah and to answer your question we can make any shake you can think of... but thats a lot of food. "If you are still hungry after you eat all that I'll get you a shake". Fair enough I thought. So then came out the food and yeah he was right.. it was a ton of food. I got through 2 mac n cheese, 2 slutty, and a decent portion of the egg burrito, leaving about half of the tortilla but I ate most of the inside (eggs, rice, beans, greens, cheese).

I have to say the food came out fast, hot, and it was really good. I loved the slutty cakes especially. If you like pistachio, PB, cinnamon these are for you. The mac and cheese pancakes were also really good but I don't think they are destination worthy. Egg burrito also really tasty. Definitely want to go back and get a shake and try the sliders. Kenny was there and on his best behavior too for all who wanted to know.

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  1. I was actually there this morning - all this Shopsin's talk gave me a hankering to return. I had the Traif: "Jewboy" egg sliders with bbq brisket, onions and cheese. As they didn't have OJ at the time, I washed it all down with chocolate milk. So far, this is the breakfast to beat for '09, absolutely superb in a way that only comfort food can be - and easily the best sliders I've ever had. The brisket was fork tender and had a nice, spicy kick. The soft, cushy buns and the cheese were also of a high order. As good as the parts were, the whole was better.

    What to say about a joint where it's easier to get bbq brisket than it is to get fresh squeezed orange juice at 9:15 in the morning?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Polecat

      Yeah it definitely is some kinda place. And his son was doing all the cooking today. Kenny was sitting down most of the time but got up for about 10 minutes to go into the kitchen. Him and his son were playfully yelling expletives to each other for most of the hour or so I was there... really hilarious stuff. And his son came out and basically congratulated me for eating all of that food. I was wearing y David Wright jersey and since he is a Mets fan he said to the people sitting at the counter.. "You see that kid over there? He finished off 2 orders of pancakes and an egg burrito ... thats a Mets fan baby." Haha I was dying. I didn't feel out of place at all for my first time there. The server was cool and didn't have an attitude. He even asked me if I wanted beans and rice in my burrito. So they do try to accomodate you and despite over ordering they didn't throw me out.

      1. re: steakrules85

        Don't worry, just when you least expect it, they'll probably throw you out... :-)

        1. re: egit

          I just got the DVD "I Like Killing Flies" also. Really good stuff.... very entertaining.. you really get to know the family pretty well through the documentary.

          1. re: steakrules85

            Ha! What? They have a documentary?? Where can I find one?


            1. re: LeahBaila

              Yes it is called "I Like Killing Flies".

    2. That's a nice report, although I do think the mac n cheese pancakes are destination worthy. Congratulations on hammering all that food.

      1. steakrules,

        Glad to hear that you it made through your Shopsin's experience without incident and that you enjoyed the food. You certainly can pack it away! lol You now have a week to recover before the Bo Ssam. ;)

        3 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Haha, yes RGR I will be ready don't worry about it.

          1. re: steakrules85

            I have no doubt you will be an eating force to be reckoned with at the Bo Ssam, steakrules. Keeping up with you will definitely be a challenge! lol

            1. re: RGR

              Yeah gotta save up all my room for the Bo Ssam.. gunna try not to fill up too much on appetizers or on any unnecessary stuff haha.

        2. Love the slutty pancakes. . .

          Which did you like better - mac n cheese or slutty cakes? I have not tried the mac n cheese pancakes yet.

          7 Replies
          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            My girlfriend and I prefer the mac n cheese over the slutty. But the slutty are VERY good too.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              It really depends on if you like sweet/nutty or savory/cheesy (IIRC the mac and cheese go great with jam, too). The pistachio and spices in the slutty can get kinda overwhelming after a while IMO. They're both very good but different.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                Tough call both were really good. I think they could have took the mac n cheese pancakes off the griddle 30 seconds sooner and they would have been better . Only because the cheese was a bit too hard of top instead of stringy and melted. I think I may give a very SLIGHT edge to the slutty cakes. Both are definite must tries though for sure.

                1. re: steakrules85

                  I like that they cook the cheese and little crisp on the mac n cheese cakes. Nothing better than some burnt cheese. YUM.

                  1. re: Slob

                    What (if any) kind of sauce accompanies the mac n cheese cakes?? Thx.


                    1. re: LeahBaila

                      Hot sauce and maple syrup. I myself really enjoyed them with the maple syrup and butter. Surprisingly the sweet and salty comes together perfectly.

              2. Great report, and glad you enjoyed it. The servers always call us out for ordering a ton of food. However, when you clean the plates (like we frequently do), they also tell you things like "Fantastic job guys!" or "Wow, you guys destroyed that!"

                1 Reply
                1. Made a repeat visit this afternoon for lunch. After studying the menu I knew what I wanted. There were so many great and tempting choices as always but last time I vowed that I had to come back to try the sliders. So that's what I did. Got the sliders with cheese and caramelized onions and a chocolate cherry malted.

                  Wow, I gotta say these were the best sliders I have ever had. And I have to be honest I haven't had many- mainly because I think sliders are too thin and tend to be cooked to a crispy and thus just hockey pucks. As someone who loves their meat RARE, this doesn't work for me. But after reading rave reviews I decided to let Shopsin's try to impress me and they did! I requested as rare as possible (which made Zach yell "So this guy wants his burgers rare huh?) and they delivered pretty well. Not as bloody rare as I'd like but again it is very hard to do with such a small patty. Still the inside was nice and red and so juicy. Great marriage with the cheese and caramelized onions (wish there were more). But the thing that really makes it come together totally is the potato buns. So soft and amazing. They give you a garnish of pickles and lettuce which you don't even need. Add a little ketchup and its a work of art.

                  Pair it up with a delicious shake and boy was I full. The shake was amazing also- one of the best I have had. Being a lover of chocolate and cherry this was a natural for me. As soon as I saw it I knew this was a must try for me! The shake was perfectly thin without being so thick you needed a spoon. They give it to you in a huge metal tin can. There were chunks of chocolate and lots of pureed cherries in it too. The two flavors married for a match made in heaven. I made it through 2 sliders and then the last one I ate without the bun. Halfway through the shake and the sliders I was toast, but the shake was so delicious I kept chugging and finished most of it. AHHH another great meal at Shopsin's. The next visit will be soon and I cannot wait. What a treasure!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: steakrules85

                    The thing that mystifies me about that place is where they store everything. Have you seen the tiny kitchen? With a menu of over 900 items, some of them pretty exotic, you'd think they have a pantry the size of... well, at least twice the size of an avg manhattan apartment.

                    Granted, they have the whole market at their disposal, but still. One time I was there I found it funny they kept running over to Saxelby Cheese to get small amounts. I guess they have a deal worked out with them because no money changed hands in those transactions.

                    1. re: egit

                      I totally can see what you mean but I think the great thing is that most of their ingredients have to be incredibly fresh because like you said storage space is rather tiny.

                      1. re: egit

                        I seem to recall reading somewhere that they partially prep, prebake/freeze (parbake) a lot of the items. If that's the case, it's not uncommon at a diner with extensive menus.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          If you read Kenny Shopsin's cookbook that came out last year, he describes his technique for being able to provide that many menu items quickly. It involves lots of pre-cooked components stored in bags in the freezer, but that's just one of the tricks up his sleeve. I have to admit that his ingenuity was something to marvel at. He's a great improviser.

                          1. re: glutton

                            Plus Aunt Jemima pancake mix, but damn those are some good pancakes.

                            Steakrules, I went on tuesday but you're already making me crave Shopsin's again.

                            1. re: ChiefHDB

                              Yeah they really are working some magic in that kitchen. And the food always comes out so fast.

                        2. re: egit

                          they're located in essex market, so it's pretty easy for them to re-stock quickly.

                      2. Steak, we loved the mac n cheese pancakes so much that I decided to make them at home. And they were just as good. I even added delicious crispy bacon to the ones I made and then incorporated a Clinton Street Baking style maple butter syrup. MMMmmmmmm. Shopsin's is a gem.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Slob

                          That is awesome. They let you take them home? Never though to ask for a doggy bag there because I figured they would frown on it. Good to know they do though because their portions are quite large and maybe then when I leave there I won't feel so full ahaha.

                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                              i've seen them offer containers for leftovers, though.

                            2. re: steakrules85

                              Quite large? This place is like Applebee's on acid. Heaped plates of five or six different carbs in gross combinations, usually cloyingly sweet - ingredient by ingredient the kind of food most of us would find disgusting if it was offered at a roadside diner. But because it comes remixed by a "character' and the dishes have wacky names and it's been in the New Yorker we swoon.

                              This place should be on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and that's about it.

                                  1. re: Wilfrid

                                    "...ingredient by ingredient the kind of food most of us would find disgusting if it was offered at a roadside diner"

                                    Actually, I'd be thrilled if diners served food anywhere near as good as he makes. Most diners can't scramble an egg worth a damn anymore; Shopsin breathes life into his. As to the "cloyingly sweet" comment, I've had some dishes here that dovetail with that criticism, yeah. I tend to think the pancakes, while good, are best when kept simple. I'm not a fan of the slutty cakes or the smore cakes, as I feel the sweetness and the heaping of ingredients tends to overpower. But his blueberry are excellent; soft in parts, crispy in others. I also agree with the comment below about the soups. The best of them - I'm thinking of the Senegalese Chicken, for instance - have a depth and flavor that leave me happy, satiated. The strange combinations, when they work, are inspiring. Here's a man cooking exactly what he wants, and having a great time doing it. When it works, it hips you to life's possibilities.

                                    There are some amongst us, myself especially - lowbrow cur that I am - who actually don't perceive the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives tie-in to be a left-handed compliment. I don't swoon, nor am I impressed by a dog-and-pony show that includes cursing, making racist remarks and throwing people out for looking like yuppies. I'm also not all that crazy for over-the-top prices, like 15 bucks and over for a sandwich - which is a good reason as to why I can't eat here more often. But I like good food. And this guy, at his best, makes damn good food.


                                  2. re: steakrules85

                                    No. I didn't take anything home. I MADE them from scratch myself at home.

                                1. Just a tiny addition to this fascinating discussion: re Maple Syrup. A lot of afficionados of this product will tell you that they prefer "Grade B" or a grade less than super fancy or whatever in their cooking and on their pancakes and so forth, because it has a more distinct "maple" taste as opposed to the fine but more effervescent flavour of the top grade.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bigtigger

                                    Grade B, despite sounding like a lower grade, only describes the type of maple. It's just the way it's tagged rather than a designation of quality.

                                    I know I would eat a piece of cardboard if it was slathered in good Vermont maple.