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best american comfort food

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I don't usually post this type of request since I try to latch on to existing threads yet I feel this topic is discussed way often in disparate threads and my head is just full of bold-face eater-style names. looking at this thread gave me ideas:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752189

but basically, looking to reintroduce an NY "ex-pat" to some serious american grub (he's spent the last 3 years in shanghai). we're coming to the apex (?) of american comfort food where every place has a great burger AND great fried chicken AND great market vegetable sides AND whatever else (locavore creds not necessary) so I'm looking to combo it all into a hearty "typical" american meal that isn't cracker barrel (although its contemporary would be awesome). but I'm not too familiar with this segment.

initial thoughts ranged from clinton st. baking, westville, mama's food shoppe (delicious but too low-budget), bubby's, good enough to eat, pink teacup, shopsin's, roberta's, market table, brooklyn star would have been perfect (too bad it closed!). joseph leonard? peels? bill's burger bar? the commodore? spitzer's? or just stick with pies n thighs (how is the rest of their menu?). gus and gabriel would have been perfect (too bad it closed!), Fat Annie's Truck Stop (too bad it closed!), diner/marlowe, chat n chew (but it's gross) and even Duke's (just for the gluttony). none are perfect but a combination of all would be great. didn't particularly like redhead, tipsy parsons, buttermilk channel, schillers. specializing would have meant charles pan-fried chicken, hill country (either one) or some niche cuisine.

just looking for a relatively new place, for dinner, with an expansive menu, great vegetables and some slammin' entrees (gluttonous comfort food emphasis). manhattan or easy-access brooklyn please.

thoughts?

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