I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. III.



I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. III.


The mission of the day was to hit one of my now-favorite diners in Brooklyn: Diner. I initially saw this place on one of Bourdain's shows, and from the first moment I saw this new-school interpretation of the traditional greasy spoon, I knew I had to chow down there. I'm not appropriately acquainted with the true history of Diner, but you can tell this place has stories to tell in its architecture; the floors look old, real old, the entryway is just a tiny little door - hardly even a logo on its facade. Inside, Diner feels like a mini-metallic hanger, you feel the commonalities with your average diner, only you feel a different air about the place: interesting looking kids run the place, with the same sort populating the tables and barstools.

This was the first introduction for each of us at Diner, and initially, when I saw the menu I was a little worried that I picked the wrong Diner; it had very simple selections with hardly a description: "sandwich," "salad," "burger" (at least I think it said burger on there). My lunch guests were Ashley and Darren (from 5B management) - I recall Darren looking at me and saying something along the lines of "are we at the right place? Should we maybe head somewhere else?" The location sure looked amazing, but were we possibly led astray into a different diner that wasn't Diner?When the waitress came by, she soon explained that the "sandwich" was in fact a giant fried chicken breast, served with greens, crisps, all nestled in bread; the soup was a white bean soup with far more ingredients than its modest monicker "soup" implied; there was a pig trotter "cake" with toast and jam; German brats with potato salad; and their "beer" was a Kulmbacher Pils. Quite unassuming titles if you ask me. Desert was to be their "pie": a lemon custard. So lo and behold - we were in the right place, and were about to get the good stuff. Each plate we shared - and each plate was something truly special. 

That's what I love about Brooklyn: take Diner for example… I feel if one were to not know that places with this much rugged "character" pump out some of the best things you can eat - they would assume this couldn't possibly be such a high-level spot for food; however, I'll take this kind of eating over anything. Does this fall in the New American range or title? Maybe not. Can you call it modern? I don't think it quite fits… it just sorta is. I'm finding more and more places like this around the globe: unassuming, maybe slightly renovated or simply just all-original-parts kind of thing (and not renovated, just it-is-what-is-kinda-joint), interesting looking (in the sense they're not the adorned in fancy work-gear) young people, real people working the tables and the knives.

All people deserve to eat wonderfully prepared, interesting food, from great sources, made by people who really give a damn; and a place like Diner sums that vibe up: it ain't fancy, it ain't exclusive for stuffy-types, it's its own unique thing; it's affordable, it's real, and it's filled with real people.

Have I mentioned I love these kind of places? 

I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. II.


I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. II.


I like The Breslin. A lot. The Breslin embodies and defines what I typically am on the hunt for in the US of A as far as gastro-adventures. My apologies if my terminology is a few years behind, but in my mind, The Breslin is New American. New American with a strong nod to the Gastro Pubs of England. New American to me will have the general familiarity of a dish one would recognize (pulling influence from some of the European greats of gastronomy), only with a twist. Typically, one can expect a feature and an emphasis on local ingredients, animals that were treated well and fed well. New American food ought to have that close attention to detail that you notice in your food and drinks. The vibe should be unpretentious, it should have fantastic eats that people can afford and don't have to get over-dressed for. 

At The Breslin, they have a ridiculously great whole Pig Foot dish (it rules) and do whole beast roasts (you should probably have a couple friends willing to partake before ordering these tables of chow). Since we were just a duo tonight, we decided to go with something sensible.  

My wife is not only a great cook, but a really talented cocktail-maker, she learns new ideas and inspirations from trying cocktails from the spots that do it right. The Breslin is certainly one of those places. Ashley went for the Beggar's Banquet: bourbon whiskey with maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, aromatic bitters, topped with ale. The Breslin makes a mean cocktail; whether you're talking pre and post prohibition-era styles, or their own interpretations (like cocktails involving some beer). I go for a tasty Spotted Pig bitter cask ale (I have yet to be to The Spotted Pig, but it is a culinary-goal of mine to dine there soon). 

We start with Salt and Pepper Crisps (for the Americans who haven't been to the U.K.: crisps are chips, chips are fries), I go for the Chargrilled Lamb Burger with Feta, Cumin Mayo and Thrice-cooked Chips. Ashley goes for a Vinegar-ed Poussin with Grilled Onions and Romesco. The ground lamb, with onion and feta, and that cumin mayo brings Greece to mind, the simple preparation and outstanding ingredients allow taste to be at the forefront of the meal; the fries? Fantastic. The poussin is a game bird, somewhat like a chicken; it was outstandingly prepared. 

Desert was the Dark Chocolate Tarte: toasted marshmallow ice cream, white chocolate ganache, biscuit. Dense dark cacao flavors in the tarte; flowing, soft marshmallow-y goodness in the ice cream; the ganache and light almost-salty flavored bits of biscuit brought it all together. Great presentation as well. 

The following morning, we hit Stump Town Roasters for a great cup of coffee, and No. 7 Sub Shop for a breakfast sub. I went for the Kielbasa sub with scrambled eggs, sweet soy and pickled jalapenos. Eastern European-style sausage, an Asian flare with soy, and Latin/Mexican with the jalapenos… in a sub… with scrambled eggs Yeah - that thing was really freakin' good. 

If you want to stay in a cool hotel, with clothing stores, bars, breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and cocktails - that are all actually really all good, you should stay at the Ace.