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East Japanese

Multiple locations throughout the city; a conveyor belt sushi outpost also exists at the Palisades Mall in Nyack.

What We Had

We have visited the conveyor belt sushi spot in Nyack, the karaoke/conveyor belt spot on 3rd, and the Shabu location in Midtown.

The sushi is always good. Nicely seasoned rice with a solid array of nigiri options. This is my DH’s favorite mid-priced no-fuss place to go for sushi – and if you hit a conveyor belt place, the novelty makes it fun.

The Shabu location is tasty – it’s fondue-style service, so everything is cook-your-own. Makes for a fun night out.

Décor

Generally tastefully done. The conveyor belt sushi location in a mall is bright and white, the Shabu location is sedate and wood-toned.

Service

Always adequate.

Overall Impressions

We frequent East Japanese – most often the sushi locations. If we’re in a neighborhood with unfamiliar food options that also happens to hold an East, we choose East, because thus far it has always been a good bet.

Rating

4 out of 5 for an always good time and always tasty food.

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Shabu Shabu

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Conveyor belt sushi.

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Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue

Long-awaited brick and mortar location of a Smorgasburg favorite.

What We Had

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Brisket – Quite possibly the best in town.
Pulled Pork – Also fantastic.
Vinegar-based Slaw – Great crunch; nice and fresh bite to cut the smoke and fat.
Pickled Chilies & Onions – Genius accompaniment.
Pea & Edamame Salad – Nice bright refresher and the perfect Spring side.
Burnt End Baked Beans – Smoky, velvety and full of meat – just how beans should be.

Decor

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Open & breezy with lots of blacks, metal and wood. Great music.

Service

Order at the counter.

Overall Impressions

Fantastic. Stellar meat, really great sides, beer, *and* they’ll be adding fries to the menu soon. Win.

Rating

5 out of 5 for outstanding BBQ.

The current BBQ ranking lineup: The brisket here surpasses Fletcher’s, making it our favorite in town. The pork is almost as good as Fette Sau. If you figure in the killer sides & pickled veg, Mighty Quinn edges it out to become our favorite overall BBQ joint. Fette Sau is still, technically, our favorite pork place – if only for the vinegar-based sauce.

Burger Bistro

Park Slope build-your-own burgers.

What We Had

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I had a bunless beef burger with portobello mushroom, crumbled bacon and goat cheese and a side of sweet potato fries.

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My DH had a beef burger with crumbled bacon and fried cheese sticks on a potato roll with a side of horseradish cream and seasoned fries.

The burgers were cooked well, but both were really greasy. My sweet potato fries were battered in flour and greasy to the point of inedibility.

Decor

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Nice simple brick decor with some outstanding bathroom art.

Service

Friendly service.

Overall Impressions

The burger menu was large, with lots of great topping options (including bunless). Not near as many meat selections as Bare Burger (and minus the ethos), but more topping options and better side item offerings.

The toppings however, are expensive (to be fair, so are Bare Burgers’). Our burgers ended up costing $17 apiece.

The DIY options were great, but I prefer having a few ‘stock’ burgers to choose from as backup.

Rating

2.5 out of 5 for strictly edible burgers; if Bare Burger wasn’t in the same ‘hood, the score may have been higher. Maybe. While the taste was there, both our meals were so bogged down in grease we regretted eating them.

Char No. 4

Bustling Southern bar & food in Cobble Hill.

What We Had

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I had the Bacon & Eggs Benedict – biscuits, poached eggs, honey ham, bacon gravy – how can you go wrong? And they didn’t. This dish was heaven in the mouth – rich, with not-too-dense biscuits, luscious egg yolks, and the taste of wonderful bacon. A southern staple gussied up proper for the big city.

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My DH has the Sausage Biscuit with Cheese and Potatoes – Amazeballs potatoes; sausage that tasted like a hopped up Version of Neese’s (this is a very good thing indeed); and a really good biscuit.

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And we split the Bacon Grits – Stellar. Deeply bacony, with just enough scallion to being it home. Knocked it out of the park with this one.

Decor

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Big open windows in the front, lots of wood, inviting. Campy surf punk over the radio (we went on a Sunday early afternoon – if they were playing XM Radio, in time for the surf punk show).

Service

It was really busy the day we went and we sat at the bar. The service wasn’t horrible at the bar, but they were busy.

Overall Impressions

Must. Go. Back. Looks like a great place to explore bourbons – their selection is extensive and their mixers look to be house made.

Rating

4.5 out of 5. We need to come back and take our time to get to know the menu and fabulous looking drinks list before we can cement the 5 rating. But, if a rushed brunch while waiting on results from the vet around the corner is any indication, a 5 will be an easy score.

Pop Pub

Graphics heavy pub near Union Square.

What We Had

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I had the Superman – 8 oz. beef burger with bacon, fried pickles, and sautéed onions – pretty great. The fried pickle/sauce/shredded lettuce combo ended up tasting like a grown up Big Mac. Nice thick and crispy bacon. Burger itself was dry. Onions were good.

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My DH had the Original Pop Burgers – 3 mini beef burgers with pop classics, which were fairly ok but dry. Could be because of the massive grill fire we saw raging right after our order was placed.

Side of fries – decent pillowy fries with fried coating.

Decor

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Lots of wood (like log cabin levels) and graphic design elements.

Looks like a fun atmosphere with upbeat music, lots of TVs on mute, foosball and loungy chairs.

Good beer selection.

Service

Semi attentive waitstaff.

Overall Impressions

Meh. Sinking into a comfortable lounger was great, and my burger toppings were great, but the meat was just too dry.

3.5 out of. 5 – we’ve had better and worse.

Update: I am amending my rating down to an even 3.0 due to further input from the DH.

Delicatessen

Gourmet deli in SoHo featuring items from the Mac bar next door, and a wide variety of brunch beverages.

What We Had

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I had the Brick Chicken – All natural chicken breast grilled under a brick with frisée, pine nuts, grapes, feta, and aged vinegar. The chicken was dry but well seasoned and the little salad was nice, but I wasn’t full.

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My DH had the Signature Burger – Special blend of ground beef, crisp pork belly, charred tomato and fried egg on a brioche bun lathered with warm “cheese sauce”. Really fuckin good. Tender, juicy, rich & decadent. The cheese sauce was perfect. Good fries.

Decor

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Lively current dancey music.

Open and airy decor with mirror, weathered wood and slick white.

Service

Slow bar service. our food order got messed up and the burger took forever and 3 days to come out after my chicken, but it was comped without having to ask.

Busy on a Sunday brunch day.

Overall Impressions

There were some real hits and misses.

3.5 out of 5 for a fabulous burger, and tasty but dry chicken. And, although the burger came out years after the chicken, at least they tried to make it right – can’t fault them there. The drinks were nice, that’s a plus.

Lobo

Tex Mex in Cobble Hill boasting the best Tex Mex & margaritas in NYC.

What We Had

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I had The Alamo – a chicken enchilada and a beef enchilada topped with tex-mex con carne & a bean & cheese chalupa — not bad. Decent beans & rice, well-seasoned chicken and beef. Cheesy but not overly so. Wanted more chili, but the amount was actually perfect for the dish, I just had a craving.

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My DH had Chimichangas – beef in flour tortilla, deep fried and topped with sour cream — nicely seasoned and not too greasy.

We also had stellar table chips and salsa.

Decor

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Great ‘oldies’ 70s/80s rock over the sound system.

Lots of cow hide, weathered wood and deep blues. Updated cowboy decor.

Service

Friendly and personable service.

Overall Impressions

Not a bad little place. I’m not sure about ‘best in NYC’, but it was decent and hit the spot.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for pretty great food – no real complaints.

Rice Thai

Thai in Prospect Park.

What We Had

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I had the Dry Tom Yum – As advertised, it was just like the soup but dry – chock full of seafood (shrimp, squid, mussels, fish) and topped with fried basil. Taste bomb. Sticky rice was good, but not as good as Pok Pok. Light on veg, but tasty.

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My DH had the Pad see Ew with chicken – DH complained that it didn’t have much taste, but that dish is never a flavor wallop without vinegar sauce.

Decor

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Really pretty wood panels on the walls, nice decor all around.

Vaguely French instrumental music, with crooner contemporary songs and classics.

Service

Fine. Being the old people hour diners we are, we had the place to ourselves for most of the meal.

Overall Impressions

Not a bad little place. Not the ‘be all end all’, but lots of things on the menu I’m dying to try.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for a varied menu and solid dishes in a pleasant atmosphere.

Delaney BBQ

The eventual outcome of running a hotly successful underground BBQ brisket operation – walls. Located on the quiet side of Williamsburg.

What We Had

Brisket – a big, beautiful mix of fatty and lean portions.

Fabulous brisket – not quite as great as Fette Sau, but we are admittedly biased. If we’re talking straight beef and not adding pig into the equation, it’s a really close race if not a dead heat.

Collards

Stellar greens – vinegary enough I wasn’t left wanting and deeply flavorful. The greens made my day.

Cheese

Nice cheese – a Comte.

Potato bread was available on the side board, as much as you want.

Decor

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Simple rustic decor with exposed brick, whitewashed benches and Americana on the shelves. Dominated by a neon cow at a nice relaxing quarter light power.

Service

Order at the counter. They’re busy, but take the time to do a great cutting job and are friendly.

Overall Impressions

This is a great place for some brisket. And I’m not just saying that because of the free take home drink koozie.

Rating

4 out of 5 for very good brisket. They know what they do, and they do it well.

Murphy Gonzalez

Murphy Gonzalez Pub & Cocina

This is what happens when an Irish pub and Mexican restaurant meet and have a baby. Near NYU.

What We Had

My DH had the Burger with Bacon & Swiss on an English Muffin – Overcooked but still juicy and flavorful with really good bacon. Decent fries that were a potato not long ago.

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I had the Steak & Eggs – Overcooked but flavorful and tender. Eggs were overcooked as well, but still tasty. Potato side was decent; surprise fruit side was great.

Decor

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More Irish pub than Mexican restaurant. Sports on the flat screens, open and spacious dining area.

Service

Friendly service – appropriately attentive for Sunday brunch.

Overall Impressions

An interesting mix prepared with enough skill that its all not just drunk food.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for good standard food with enough promise that we may come back for Mexican fare.