(Defonte’s of Brooklyn)
Location: 261 3rd Avenue (21st & 3rd Ave.)
As my time winds down in my neighborhood of Gramercy on 21st st., I’m going to miss some of the local spots. On the “bustling block” of 21st street in the midst of the police precinct and the SVA school, Defonte’s of Brooklyn is the highlight of the block & was my go to place when I needed something good & filling. They opened the Manhattan outpost of the famous Red Hook Brooklyn sandwich shop in 2009 after years of talks about doing so. With years and years of experience, Defonte’s have managed to perfect the art of filling a hero bread with meat and goodies.
First off, I know that the sandwiches are a bit expensive but, I managed to make 2 meals out of most of the sandwiches that I’ve bought therefore, making each ½ sandwich a reasonable price. Secondly, just go eat one…here are three of the sandwiches that I’ve most enjoyed:
I love that service is VERY prompt and all the ingredients they use are very fresh. The Hero bread is always crisp, tasty, and nicely soft on the inside. For those vegetarians out there, they also make a fried eggplant sandwich which is fantastic alternative to those who can’t brave the mountain of meat they put on the other sandwiches. So, a nice lineup of sandwiches & with that, I bid farewell to Defonte’s of Brooklyn in Gramercy and say hello to Defontes Sandwich shop in Red Hook.
Location: 162-23 Depot Rd. Queens, NY (nr Broadway stop on LIRR)
Price: $17 for one serving of pork belly
Sometimes I think to myself that if Flushing, Queens didn’t have so many good Korean restaurants out there, I would never really step foot into the borough of Queens. That maybe the case but, since I have an itch for GOOD Korean food on a regular basis, I have make my pilgrimage at least once a month (oh yeah…forgot I have family out there). One of my pilgrimages always include the best place in NYC (as far as I know so far) for Korean style Pork Belly (Sam Gyup Sal) at Tong Sam Gyup Gui. The restaurant might be hard to find for non-koreans because the name of the restaurant is written in Korean but has a bizarre English name (N.Y. D.D.M. Migliore Restaurant) which seems to have no logical relation to the Korean name. In addition, as if the restaurant couldn’t get any more oddly authentic, the entire menu is written in Korean and the Mexican waitress there speaks Korean.
With all this “Korean” ambiance in the air it’s hard not to enjoy the thick slabs of juicy Pork Belly on the giant grills. They pretty much bring all the pork belly, kimchee, and bean sprouts out together and everything goes on the grill to form a perfect pork feast. The flavors of the ingredients come together very well and once you’re done with the meat, they bring out the bibimbap (mixed rice w vegetables) to grill on the very same grill the meat was cooked. The flavors and juices of the meat get infused into the bibimbap mix and make for almost a perfect ending to a great porky Korean meal.
Location: 349 East 12th Street (btw 1st & 2nd ave)
Price: Margherita Pizza $14
This is one of those moments where I have to say…DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE. For some reason I’m getting all hot and bothered by the fact that Motorino is getting so much hype from the media. None of my friends that have tried Motorino in Williamsburg or the new East Village location have said anything that great about it. Me and a friend tried the staple Margherita pizza and wasn’t wowed by the pizza and we started thinking about a few other place that do a much better pizza. The crust had great consistency and sauce was fairly standard I felt and with the few basil leaves it made a solid pizza but NOT amazing.
Despite these opinions, this Neapolitan style wood burning brick oven pizza joint has been named on a new list by Rachel Ray’s magazine as the best pizza on the east coast. I REALLY have to go try Great Lake Pizza in Chicago which is another final 4 pizza in Rachel’s list. Actually, I think I’m just craving just a simple Chicago style spinach deep dish pizza from Lou Malnatis…forget all this pizza HYPE!