A discerning New Yorker’s grass-fed of choice – a Review of Bareburger

By Erin Palisin

Various Locations in New York City:

33-21 31st Ave (Astoria)
535 Laguardia Pl. (Greenwich Village)
514 3rd Avenue (Murray Hill)
170 7th Ave. (Park Slope, Brooklyn)

http://www.bareburger.com/

Maui Wowie Burger @ Bareburger

Ask 10 New Yorkers where they go for their favorite burger in the city and you will likely receive 10 different responses. However if you ask this New Yorker, you will only get one: Bareburger. Although a traditional, sloppy beef burger on a regular bun sometimes does the trick, the unique concept and combinations offered at Bareburger are what truly sets it apart from other burger joint competitors.

The Bareburger menu truly offers something for everyone. Diners have the option of choosing from 10 different types of patties: beef, turkey, veggie burger, portabella mushroom, lamb, elk, bison, ostrich, grilled chicken or Cajun spiced chicken. If that weren’t enough, you also have the option of using a multi-grain roll, brioche bun, iceberg lettuce wrap or wheat flour wrap, or a gluten-free tapioca rice bun. After viewing these options, diners can move on to what type of unique burger toppings they want to munch on. Custom designed burgers range from traditional Classic Burger with dill pickle relish, grilled onions and ketchup to the Maui Wowie Burger (pictured below) including smoked mozzarella, grilled pineapple, Canadian bacon, fried onions, roasted red peppers and ranch dressing. Since choosing among these options can be overwhelming, the menu also serves as a suggestion guide. Each type of burger combination comes with a suggestion as to what type of patty would work well. The suggestions have not failed me yet!

 

I am lucky enough to have a Bareburger located only two blocks from my apartment. Since I took my first bite of the Avocado California Burger (with the suggested veggie burger patty and a perfectly buttery brioche bun), I made it a personal goal to try every burger on the menu. I am proud to say I have successfully worked half way to this goal. Although no burger has disappointed, do not miss out on trying the Maui Wowie and Lamb Burger or my first and personal favorite, the Avocado California. In my experience, veggie burgers have been hit or miss; in this case it is a complete hit. It certainly helps that all ingredients are certified organic, fresh and perfectly paired together.  The burgers are a smaller portion, so make sure to order the fresh cut fries and battered onion rings combo (with 4 kinds of dipping sauce, including Bareburger’s own sweet, special sauce); a perfect side to share with your dining companion. Finally, don’t forget to save room for a milkshake made, of course, with certified organic ice cream, milk and fruits. Milkshakes are a thick consistency and contain rich, tasteful flavors. Although you also may leave in a certified food coma, it is certainly one that you won’t forget!

Rings and Fries - Bareburger Combo

As explained on their website, Bareburger prides itself in only using organic ingredients for three reasons: It’s better for you, It’s tastier, and It’s better for the planet. Bareburger certainly proves that all three of these values are not only better for the restaurant’s concept, but better for their customers as well. Enjoy!

*Bareburger has been previously reviewed by Holly Hagan in 2009.
Click here to read her review on The Gotham Palate.

 

 

 

Do or Dine lives it up amidst controversy – Review of Do or Dine

BY BETH KAISERMAN

Do or Dine
108 Bedford Ave. between Lexington Ave. and Quincy St.
Bedford-Stuyvesant – Brooklyn
(718) 684-2290

Serving dinner, beginning at 5 p.m.

Photo by Beth Kaiserman

Foie gras donuts. Anthony Bourdain’s dream.

Do or Dine, a nice little spot on Bedford Ave. in Bed-Stuy, has gained hype mainly for its foie gras donuts, but dreams up some other clever dishes.

For my first time, I figured it best to dine on what I had heard about. The foie gras donut, $11, is listed under the ‘small plates’ section. It’s sort of like dessert at the beginning of the meal, but with a twist. A doughnut from nearby sugar haven Dough is filled with savory, smooth, and just-salty-enough foie gras. It’s the ultimate indulgence. The apricot preserves served on the side reminded me of duck sauce, but I preferred the foie gras and donut alone.

Photo by Beth Kaiserman

The “fish and some chips” platter, $16, features a whole lightly-fried sea bass surrounded by brown French fries made from Idaho potatoes. The fish is topped with a bright salsa of yuzu, shallots, sesame oil, sesame seeds and herbs. Just as promised, the fish is just lightly fried and not weighed down by a greasy breading. The same goes for the chips, which soak up the pleasant flavors of the yuzu mixture.

The restaurant is still BYOB. Pretty small in size, it would certainly benefit from air conditioning, though it does offer an outdoor area, which seems better for larger groups. A disco ball adds to the eccentric vibe of this place, and a trippy version of Ludacris’ “Move Bitch” was a nice end to the meal.

The staff was very pleasant, knowledgeable and attentive, which is rare at buzzworthy Brooklyn restaurants. It’s exciting having a restaurant like this in the neighborhood, and I hope it paves the way for more.

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A Tribute to Bukowski: Review of Post Office

BY MICHELLE WAHLERS

Post Office
188 Havemeyer Street

Williamsburg
718-963-2574 / postofficebk.com/
Photo by Michelle Wahlers

The calendar boasts it is spring, but I would argue otherwise.  I decided to use the chilly weather as an excuse to try Post Office, a whiskey bar located under the Williamsburg Bridge. I met friends and got a table in the middle of the dimly lit, narrow bar. The bartender was willing to help an amateur (me) with the very extensive whiskey, Bourbon and rye list. I decided on the Buffalo Trace on the rocks, and my boyfriend got the Kentucky Vintage, neat. The Buffalo Trace was smooth and had “butterscotchy” tones. The Kentucky Vintage knocked me off my feet and put some hair on my chest with it’s musky, smoky flavor. I preferred the former. The other two guests with us both got Manhattans which were mahogany colored and garnished with a single cherry.


The Post Office’s decor is lovely, vintage and very personal. Above us hung a chandelier, each bulb burning soft. On the tables were candles, which had the habit of blowing out when we moved in to talk to each other. The music playing was a complete throwback, think Buddy Holly and Bobby Darin. The wallpaper was the Eagle Insignia, but I like to think that the true mascot for the place is Charles Bukowksi, whose portrait was hanging above the bar. As a fan girl, I was thrilled.

The menu was scarce, but we all knew what we were getting into. The place is a bar first and this becomes blatantly obvious when you realize the kitchen is about the size of a broom closet and that you can see right into it. I always marvel at kitchens that are so exposed to the public, confidence must run deep. We ordered oysters, deviled eggs, the pickle plate, a grilled cheese with bacon, the pulled pork sandwich and the last filet mignon. (Essentially the entire menu.) As soon as our waiter told me there was only one left I made it a point to reserve it. The food did not arrive promptly, but the service was always assuring us of its whereabouts and re-filling drinks. This is not a place to go for a quick bite, but it never presents itself as such. It promotes leisure and contemplation.

Of all the food we ordered, I have to say the deviled eggs were my favorite. That doesn’t even seem fair when steak is in the equation, but like I said this place is a bar that happens to serve food, not the other way around. Also I have an affinity to deviled eggs and these were made damn near perfectly.  The pickle plate was a fun way to begin the meal, with pickled peaches, beets, mushrooms, blackberries and peppers. (Trust me, somehow this all works together.) The filet mignon was rare but a bit too tough, but the bed of mashed potatoes it was lying on was delicious, swimming in bacon gravy. The grilled cheese was cooked perfectly; the bacon to cheese ration was 50:50 (which to me, is perfect!). The pulled pork sandwich was packed with freshly made coleslaw and thinly shredded pork on a dark toasted bun.

When our plates were cleared and we were warm and full, the place seemed to be gaining real momentum.  A small line formed (no doubt waiting for our table), and we started heading out, although I could have stayed for much longer. The mood was kind and calm, but with a healthy appreciation for the devious, as the portrait above the bar would suggest.

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Where the salty sea air is only a bite away – Review of Walter Foods

BY BETH KAISERMAN

Walter Foods
253 Grand St.
Williamsburg
(718) 387-8783 / walterfoods.com

There once was a  man selling lobster rolls through his door slot in Greenpoint. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it over to Dr. Claw’s place before the city shut down his operation in August.

Walter Foods

Lobster roll at Walter Foods

I finally got my paws on my very first lobster roll in a completely different way — a $24 lunch at Walter Foods in Williamsburg. In a nautical-themed setting, I enjoyed an indulgent seafood sandwich on a wintry Wednesday afternoon.

Servers clad in white shirts and bow ties serve up oysters, steak and other American fare at a place that feels very un-Williamsburg. Walter Foods is decorated like an old-school parlor, but it’s still laid-back enough to stand its ground in Williamsburg. The place also features classic cocktails crafted carefully behind a beautiful bar.

Since they specialize in seafood, I figured it was the perfect time to seize the day and indulge in a lobster roll — an obvious stepping stone in any seafood lover’s life.

The presentation was mouth-watering; I already felt closer to the sea just at the sight of it. But it took a few bites to adjust to this new experience. The Old Bay seasoning was a bit much for me; I’d rather taste the lobster more than the seasoning — especially if I’m shelling out $24 for it. The deliciously crunchy pickle served on the side definitely complemented the sandwich well. The just-salty-enough fries were like a classed-up version of McDonald’s. Though I liked them, there were way more than enough.

It was a nice breath of fresh air (or, salty sea air) having a savory summery sandwich on a cold February day. But I think I’ll be more impressed enjoying one by a beach somewhere this summer. A road trip to New England may need to happen, but in the meantime I’d like to sink my teeth into some chops next time I’m at Walter Foods. The place certainly seems promising.

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Comfort food gone wild – Review of No. 7

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

No. 7
7 Greene Avenue
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
718-522-6370/no7restaurant.com

No. 7 is a true neighborhood restaurant.  With a small dining area housed in what probably got its start as a stable with high ceilings and a loft space, friendly wait staff, and a surprisingly tiny open kitchen, you’d never guess that No. 7 turns out some truly unique dishes that pack a punch.

The small brunch menu at No. 7 makes your decision easier when everything on the menu sounds so good.  The bologna sandwich ($10) was my choice, served with a fried egg, pickled onion, and feta cheese.  While I wouldn’t normally order a bologna sandwich for brunch (or any other meal), the combination of flavors seemed too wonderful and strange to pass up.

Bologna Sandwich at No. 7

Bologna Sandwich at No. 7

The sandwich came out on a multi seeded hamburger bun and was surprisingly hearty looking, with the bologna about an inch thick and grilled to perfection adding a smoky taste to the sandwich.  The combination of the runny egg, the smoky bologna and salty, tangy taste of the onion and cheese worked surprisingly well together and kept my palate stimulated, never growing bored of the symphony in my mouth.  I found myself mopping up the yolk that had fallen to the plate with my last bites of sandwich, and not really caring what I looked like doing it.

Crispy homefries at No. 7

Crispy homefries at No. 7

As much as I loved my dish, the friends that I was with felt the same about theirs.  In particular the soft boiled fried egg that came with the Bowl of Rice ($8), a crispy on the outside egg, with a wonderfully runny egg center.

The entire menu picks up hints of Asian inspired elements that add an unexpected dimension to the food without being considered “Asian” itself; lychee, muchim, and white rice dotting the menu.

Try No.7 for brunch or dinner and be adventurous, you won’t be let down!

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General Greene falls flat – Review of The General Greene

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

The General Greene
229 Dekalb Avenue
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
718-222-1510/thegeneralgreene.com

GeneralGreene

The General Greene interior

The General Greene is always jam packed with Fort Greene locals who happen to be locavores Specializing in ingredients of the local persuasion, The General Greene comes complete with a local market at the back of the restaurant where, if you take your tab you can receive 10% off your purchase.  The market specializing in local treats, many of which, like the homemade hummus are available not only in the store but on the menu as well.  You can also pick up a vairety of imported specialities such as pasta and olive oil direct from Italy.

The restaurant space is cozy, if not a little dark, and the wait staff helpful, if not a little ditzy.  We were greeted by our super cute waitress who needed to understand the menu a little better, having trouble answering some questions we had about the menu.

While I am certainly no locavore snob, I was rather surprised to find a Niman Ranch steak on the menu.  My boyfriend had to have it, so we ordered that, along with a selection of three of their cheeses, a romaine salad from the specials menu, and a healthy plateful of their crispy fries.

Cheese plate at The General Greene

Cheese plate at The General Greene

The cheese plate came out first, featuring a goat, semi-firm cow’s milk, and blue cheese, about which our waitress couldn’t give much helpful information.  The spread came complete with a fig jam, honey, and cinnamon raisin toast.  I was not wowed by anything on the plate. The flavors were boring and tame. There was even a hard skin forming over the cow’s milk cheese, alluding to the fact that it may have not been freshly cut off the wheel. I began to wonder if New York really had any good foodstuffs to offer, I quickly shook off the notion when I remembered the farmers markets I frequent and all the exciting things I find every week.

 Romaine salad at The General Greene

Romaine salad at The General Greene

The romaine salad came next. It was prepared simply with red onion, croutons, and a blue cheese vinaigrette.  Although good, the salad was nothing I couldn’t have made better myself at home.

Niman Ranch Steak at The General Greene

Niman Ranch Steak at The General Greene

The steak and fries came out next.  The marinated steak with heaps of garlic was undercooked for the medium-well we ordered and much of it too fatty to eat.  I was disappointed by the quality of the food delivered at The General Greene, expecting the food to at least come out fresh and flavorful, the high quality ingredients speaking for themselves.  I question the sign in the window that says “2011 Michelin Star Recommended,” wondering which dishes the Michelin reviewer tried, but not caring enough to go back and find out.

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Beautiful nuances of wines and art merge

BY BETH KAISERMAN

The fine subtleties of three wines paired well with artist L.J. Lindhurst’s exhibit about the little things in life last night at Root Hill Café in Park Slope.

Lindhurst’s exhibit ‘Little Shiny Things’ opened on Oct. 7th and features paintings of tiny objects portrayed up-close– a view not normally taken with these everyday objects. This realistic view of the little things in life adorns the café’s walls until November 1.

Annie pouring wine

Annie pouring wine

Wine sommelier Annie Shapero presented a $9 flight of three white wines, two from Long Island and one from the Finger Lakes, to accompany the Brooklyn-based artist’s exhibit.

The first was a Collina 48 Chardonnay with 10-15% Sauvignon Blanc from Macari Vineyards in Eastern Long Island in Mattituck, where the Obamas order wine from, Shapero said. Unlike most oaky Chardonnays, this one had subtle hints of apple, pear, peach and citrus from the Sauvignon Blanc. Next was a Dry Riesling from Ravines Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes, clean and slightly spicy with really nice green apple notes. The third was the Cuvee Tropical from Channing Daughters Winery – the most complex of the lineup. This one was dry, clean and very acidic. It was definitely the most interesting and delicious of the three, and Shapero said it would pair nicely with Thai food. This wine really hit the theme of the evening head-on.

Shapero chose the wine list for Root Hill Café, which transitions into a low-key bar at night. It reminds me of a hookah bar with its comfortable couches and chill atmosphere. The café also has a menu made from local and specialty ingredients.

Similar events sponsored by Contaminate NYC will be held at various venues as part of their ‘Outbreak’ initiative. Their goal is to spread awareness of up-and-coming artists in creative environments throughout different neighborhoods.

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The new, the old and the delicious – Review of Brooklyn Flea

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

The Brooklyn Flea
Brooklyn
176 Lafayette Avenue (Saturdays, outdoor)
1 Hanson Place (Sundays, indoor)*
brooklynflea.com

The Brooklyn Flea is a year-round flea market in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. With over 150 vendors selling new and vintage items ranging from clothing to furniture to artwork and of course some food finds that can’t be missed.

Asia Dogs! (Front) Vinhi Dog and (back) Ginny Dog

Asia Dogs! (Front) Vinhi Dog and (back) Ginny Dog

My purpose for venturing to this great outdoor market was to find a coffee table (which I did end up finding), but I was pleasantly surprised to find a great selection of local food vendors. [Read more...]

Neighborhood coziness meets epicurean flair – Review of Anima

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Anima
458 Myrtle Avenue
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
718-422-1122/animabistro.com

Diavola pizza at Anima Bistro

Diavola pizza at Anima

My new neighborhood of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn surprises me every day as I explore my new surroundings.  Everywhere I happen upon great restaurants and smile to myself knowing that it’s not going to be so hard to get used to my new neighborhood, at least when deciding what to eat for dinner.

Most recently I checked out Anima, an Italian Bistro specializing in wood fired pizza.  My roommate and I sat down in the charming dining room, alive with the character of rustic wood beams and exposed brick.  Candle wax drips down the shelving on the walls to create a relaxed atmosphere with personality.

We started with a very healthy glass of the house merlot ($5) and decided to try out the Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragu on the specials menu ($15.95) and the Pizza Diavola, topped with hot sopressata, black olives, and red onion (personal size for $12.95).

Rabbit Ragu at Anima

Rabbit Ragu at Anima

The rabbit ragu was flavorful and slightly gamey with a subtle tomato base.  It ate like a hearty rabbit stew; quite good but something I had not imagined I would see on the menu at a neighborhood Italian joint, as I rarely see rabbit on any menu.

The thin crust wood fired pizza was light and airy yet crispy.  The homemade mozzarella cheese made by chef “Gigi” was flavorful and fresh, adding a slightly nutty taste to the delicate flavors of the pizza.  It was easy to get lost in the pizza, easy to forget the stress of moving in to a new apartment, and easy to gobble it down without coming up for air.  The pizza was a true delight to consume.

Tiramisu at Anima

Tiramisu at Anima

Tiramisu and Limoncello finished off the meal and I was left smiling from ear to ear.  It could have been the serious glass of wine they served or more likely, the tasty food and comfortable atmosphere right down the block from my new home.

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Enjoy Daily Cooking Demos at the Edible Garden Festival

THE EDIBLE GARDEN, A FESTIVAL ABOUT

GROWING AND PREPARING GOOD FOOD,

CONTINUES AT THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN

Through October 17, 2010

Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, Todd English, Michel Nischan, Marc Forgione, and Others

Headline the Garden-Wide Exhibition About Locally Grown, Seasonal Food

With Cooking Demonstrations Every Day

For tickets, go to: www.nybg.org/eg/

On THURSDAY 9/16

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ Executive Chef, Eva Pesantez will be center stage at the Conservatory Kitchen Thursday, September 16th at 2pm at The New York Botanical Gatden. Chef Pezantez will help the Garden celebrate locally grown, seasonal food in a cooking demonstration featuring Corn Fritters with Charred Tomato Salsa. The fritters have corn, red peppers (both well in season), scallion, cilantro, flour, salt, eggs and smoked paprika; while the Charred Tomato Salsa has summer tomatoes, which get charred on a grill, onion, chipotle and cilantro. Eva will also discuss how to adapt outdoor griling recipes for home cooks/indoor, how to select vegetables in season and more.

Image courtesy of thestir.cafemom.com

Image courtesy of thestir.cafemom.com

Click on Chef Pesantez’s photo for ticket information on her demonstration and others at the Edible Garden Festival.

As an added bonus:  see the recipe for her phenomenal shrimp and corn fritters below!

Shrimp and Corn Fritters with Charred Tomato Salsa

FRITTERS

2 Corn on the Cob (local)

¼ cup Red Bell Pepper, small dice

½ cup Scallion, sliced thin

3 Tbs Cilantro Chopped

1 tsp Kosher Salt

3 Tbs All Purpose Flour

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp Smoked Sweet Paprika

¼ tsp Baking Soda

½ tsp Grounds Black Pepper

1 lb Shrimp (medium is fine)

Vegetable Oil for Frying

SALSA

2 lbs Local Summer Tomatoes (ripe, but still firm)

½ cup Spanish Onion, Diced Small

¼ cup Cilantro chopped

½ tsp Chipotle Puree*

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice

Olive oil, salt and pepper for Tomato

For the Salsa;

Grill Method; Heat your grill to high. It is important that the grates are very clean and well greased. I like to place a chunk of wood on the flames right before placing the tomatoes on – but it is not necessary. Core the tomatoes and quarter them. Toss them with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper.

When your grill is very hot, place the tomatoes on it. You want to cook them until they blacken a bit. Remove and cool. When the tomatoes are cool combine the remaining ingredients. Set aside while you prepare the fritters.

Pan Method; instead of heating a grill heat a cast iron pan until just about smoking. Char the tomatoes and follow as above.

For the Fritters;

Cut the corn off the cob and placing into a mixing bowl. Chop the shrimp until you have small pieces – but not minced.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

In a heavy bottom frying or cast iron pan heat about 1/8-1/4 inch of the vegetable oil over medium heat. It should sizzle when a drop of water is dropped in.

Using a ¼ cup measure carefully place mounds of the fritter batter into the pan and flattening slightly. Do not over crowd. When they start to look cooked and opaque (about 2 minutes) gently flip them over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel. Repeat until all the batter is cooked

*Chipotle Puree is a staple in my home and work kitchens. It adds a lit

tle heat and very subtle smoke to most dishes.

Click on the image above for

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