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#16 Daniel

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:00 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Oct 2 2007, 09:37 AM) View Post
Having emerged from a dance performance in LIC, the choice for dinner was obvious.


I am sorry, I will read the rest of the write up but, I just had a vision of Sneak emerging from a Dance Performance.. Haha.. Where you still wearing tights, or did you change before you emerged.. laugh.gif
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#17 Abbylovi

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:06 PM

QUOTE(Rich @ Oct 2 2007, 01:35 PM) View Post
there's a no-name, old wise-guy place on Vernon Blvd. that has excellent food and few good Chiantis - it's located in the back of a neighborhood bar - read gin joint.)

Where on Vernon?
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#18 Blondie

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:10 PM

QUOTE(Abbylovi @ Oct 2 2007, 02:06 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Rich @ Oct 2 2007, 01:35 PM) View Post
there's a no-name, old wise-guy place on Vernon Blvd. that has excellent food and few good Chiantis - it's located in the back of a neighborhood bar - read gin joint.)

Where on Vernon?

Is it Cassino on Vernon & 47th Rd.? Or maybe Junior's (which a little birdie tells me has a few wiseguys hanging about)...

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#19 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:17 PM

When I walked by Cassino on Sunday, I had to reflect how unappetizing the name of the place was in light of that piece in the Times that day on WWII.
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#20 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:18 PM

Daniel -- I was in mufti.
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#21 Rich

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:30 PM

It's Junior's and it was named after the owner - quite a charcter. Cassino used to be good. I haven't been in a while, but friends say it's not the place it once was.

Get to know the chef at Junior's and you will be very pleasantly surprised - sending a drink or two back to the kitchen wouldn't hurt either.

#22 Lex

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:52 PM

QUOTE(Abbylovi @ Oct 2 2007, 02:06 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Rich @ Oct 2 2007, 01:35 PM) View Post
there's a no-name, old wise-guy place on Vernon Blvd. that has excellent food and few good Chiantis - it's located in the back of a neighborhood bar - read gin joint.)

Where on Vernon?

I was about to ask the exact same thing.

Time for the Brighton Lounge story.

When I lived on Staten Island for a few years I was told by many people that I should go to the Brighton Lounge. It was an old style red sauce Italian place at the edge of a rough neighborhood. The food was said to be very good and there was talk of a Mafia connection. Local politicians and judges often went and dined in the company of people they would rather not be seen with in more prominent places.

We did some reconnaissance on a Saturday afternoon and walked into the front bar. Four rough looking Italian men were chatting softly as we walked in but instantly stopped talking and stared at us for a second, then resumed in much lower voices. We ordered beers and watched a little college football. The place was well worn and looked like it was last decorated in the 1950s. Even then they hadn't spent much money. We ordered another round and watched more football. We still weren't sure whether we were coming back but as we were leaving one of the rough guys who looked like Paulie Walnuts came over with a smile. "You should come back here tonight for dinner. We have a back room and the food is really good. "

He walked me back to a door in the rear and opened it to reveal a room paneled in knotty pine with red checked table cloths. It looked like a finished basement and was about the same size. How could I resist?

That night we returned for dinner. The back room was filled with hard core types who were all having a great time. Everyone seemed to know each other but we were made to feel welcome even though we looked distinctly different than the others. The manager made a big fuss over us as he showed us to our table. The service was rough edged but quite warm and attentive. As promised, the food was very good for it's type. Perfectly cooked pastas and pork chops with hot red peppers that I crave to this day.

In between courses I used the bathroom out by the bar. Above the toilet at eye level there was a boxy water closet. It looked exactly like the one in the "Godfather" where Tessio hid the gun that Michael used to kill the Turk and the crooked police captain. I looked behind this one. No gun.

When we were finished with our meal the manager sat at our table and bought us after dinner drinks. It was all really pleasant. As we were getting up to leave he even volunteered to walk us to our car. I told him it wasn't necessary, we were just half a block away, but he insisted.

As we walked down the street he continued to chat pleasantly. In fact he was so friendly that he put his hand around my shoulder. Then it moved down my arms and back in a patting motion. He was checking to see if I was wearing a wire. I often wonder what he would have done if he found one.

The Brighton Lounge became our regular Saturday night destination. The food and service remained good and we sometimes saw the borough president and our congressman there. They never checked me for a wire again.

The Brighton Lounge closed sometime in the early 1990s. Too bad. I wouldn't mind going back and ordering those pork chops.
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#23 Orik

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:55 PM

QUOTE(Lex @ Oct 2 2007, 02:52 PM) View Post
They never checked me for a wire again.

The Brighton Lounge closed sometime in the early 1990s.


Hmm.



sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#24 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:48 AM

Places like this are only questionably worth writing about, but it might be interesting to note that, over the last week, I had occasion to eat at both Manducatis and Sfloglia. So I had a chance to compare this example of old-school Southern Italian-American and a mid-level modern New York Italian restaurant.

I have no great love for Sfoglia. Sure, I think it towers over everything else in its immediate neighborhood -- but that's more a reflection of the neighborhood than a testament to Sfloglia. It's nothing more than a good Italian place in the current mode.

Sfoglia blew Manducatis away. Places like Manducatis are a source of great nostalgia for people like me who grew up with this kind of food. But compared, just as food, with an upper-middling current Italian restaurant, it has little to recommend itself. Not bad, certainly. But equally certainly not worth a trip (I was in the neighborhood). Not for the food (as opposed to the experience), anyway. And yes, Ida was in the kitchen.

Well, except for two things.

One, of course, is price. Manducatis is cheaper. (As a place in Long Island City had better be.)

The other is the excellent wine program. I understand that it might be only a pale reflection of its former self, but I loved that I could discuss with the sommelier what type of wine I wanted, and he came back with a perfect inexpensive choice. In this case, in response to my request for a light but earthy red to accompany a pork loin, a St. Magdalener. Assuming I was a normal person instead of a maniac, he thought he was bringing me a new discovery instead of something I drink at home. But still, you don't see this much depth, at such easygoing prices, at many places.
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#25 omnivorette

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 04:27 AM

I keep going back to Sfoglia, hoping to like it better, but it doesn't happen. Recently I had bucatini all'amatriciana and it was just not good - overly acidic, sour tomato sauce, no discernable pork taste whatsoever, pasta too al dente. Service was a bit bungled too, and a glass of red wine was way, way too warm. And I think the prices are too high for what it is. That being said, I'll probably be back - it's across the street from the 92nd St. Y and also in my 'hood. But I'm not thrilled about that.

(oops this is not the Sfoglia thread)
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#26 Miguel Gierbolini

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 11:36 AM

What is the kind of Italian food sold by Manducatis that some of us grew up with? How is it different from Italian food some of us did not graow up with? Seriously.
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#27 omnivorette

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:21 PM

Here is the Manducatis menu. It's old fashioned red sauce Italian, mostly.

http://manducatis.com/menu.html

I don't really think that Manducatis compared to Sfoglia is apples to apples.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#28 Steve R.

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE(Miguel Gierbolini @ Mar 24 2008, 07:36 AM) View Post
What is the kind of Italian food sold by Manducatis that some of us grew up with? How is it different from Italian food some of us did not graow up with? Seriously.


Just as there is a NY style pizza that really doesnt appear the same way as pizza anywhere in Italy (not even Naples), there's a type of Italian food, known as "old style red sauce" that's been around NYC since before I was young (yes, that long ago) and isnt the same as the style of food served in newer NYC Italian restaurants (food that's more similar to Italian regional cooking or even some sort of fusion or take off on real Italian "as served in Italy"). Of course, this is an over-generalization but you probably get the idea, right? It's the type of food that immigrants from Italy (mainly southern Italy) found easier to make & sell when they settled in & opened restaurants, both because the ingredients were easily found here & because it wasnt too strange to the rest of the population. So, going back to Manducatis, you'll find an appetizer/entree/dessert approach, with apps. that are heavy on salad or fried (calamari, zucchini...) & entrees that are large and include pastas (spag. or linguine w/clam sauce or heavy tomato sauce, lasagna, baked ziti...), veal/chicken parmagiana, chops... With an older Italian grandmother in the kitchen (in this case Ida), you'll also find someone skilled at doing this. It's a dying breed in NYC. Other places (more famous perhaps) of the type include Il Mulino, Bamonte, Piccolo Angelo & Roberto's. Pretty much a breed with hardly any similarity to Babbo, Insieme, Gusto, al di la or the slew of smaller East Village Italian places you see talked about on threads here. Hope this was helpful.

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#29 omnivorette

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:25 PM

And I'd add Queen and Cono O'Pescatore to this list. And Piccolo Venezia, and Don Pepe.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#30 Miguel Gierbolini

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:17 PM

Thanks guys. I understand now.
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