Saturday, March 7, 2009

Best of New York -- schlub edition

I have no plan on taking on NY mag's Best of NY issue entirely -- there is much worthwhile in their list this year (as there almost always is). And there is much that is ridiculous. Char No. 4 has the best pastrami in the city? Better than Katz's? I went with a beautiful schlubette recently, and while we enjoyed the pastrami appetizer, let's not lose our heads.

But I would like to humbly offer up my picks on the basic stuff.

Hamburger. Adam Platt named Little Owl as his favorite burger (never been). Robin Raisfeld picked Beacon (which I have been to, but not had the burger there. Not a bad place.) Rob Patronite says Dram Shop Bar (never even heard of).

There are many places this schlub likes to go for a burger. I've had two really fabulous burgers within the last few weeks, both of which I'd put towards the top of my burger list. Buttermilk Channel has a really fabulous burger that they serve at lunch. And Halfsteak's sliders are absolutely outrageous. And while I wouldn't quite put it on my list of favorites, Irving Mill has a great Monday night special -- burger, fries and a beer for $15. My favorite burger place, Schnack (which is also a slider burger), unfortunately closed shop a little while ago but The Spotted Pig has a great (but expensive) burger, smothered in blue cheese, if you can put up with an incredibly crowded bar. (I usually cannot.) Donovan's Pub near me in Queens is not bad -- it's usually on everybody's favorite burger list. (Personally, I like their turkey burger more than the hamburger though.) However, my de facto spot is The Knickerbocker which has a really delicious and decadent burger and delicious fries. Sometimes, simple is best.

Hot dogs. Adam likes Rusty Knot (which I went to a few months ago and thought was OK -- but not great). Robin likes Dogmatic (never heard of). And Rob likes PDT (which is Wylie Dufresne's hot dog and consists of mayo and ketchup -- woof!)

This is another case of simplicity being best -- at least in my view. I like the frankfurter at Nathan's -- particularly at the original in Coney Island. Gray's Papaya is another great one that's always consistently delicious (and cheap!) But I always find the hot dogs are best at delicatessens. Katz's has a great frank. I haven't had one at the new Second Avenue Deli, but the old 2nd Ave had a great hot dog. However, my favorite was always the Deli Masters out in Fresh Meadows. A pain in the ass to get to (I only ever visited with my parents when we went out to relatives on Long Island) but well worth a trip.

Pizza. Adam likes Di Fara (a safe -- but good -- choice). Rob and Robin like Artichoke. (Not terrible. But slightly overrated.)

This is one I feel too strongly about and too emotionally about to speak in depth. But I'll quickly run through my faves: For gourmet pizza with lots of designer ingredients, I like L'asso in Nolita -- which is across the street from the still great Lombardi's. Sadly, I feel Queens is pretty lacking in pizza spots, but I like Nick's in Forest Hills. My favorite of the old school classics places is Totonno's in Coney Island. But lately my favorite pizza spot is No. 28, at 28 Carmine Street in the Village -- excellent (and authentic) Neapolitan pizza. (Cash only.)

Hope I made you hungry...