Tag Archives: The Brooklyn Star

Now that I’ve eaten my way through somebody else’s list (Time Out New York), I’m ready to compile my own 100 spectacular things I’ve tasted in 2012. Look for another five dishes every few days.

NUMBER 60: PORK ARISTA SANDWICH at EATALY

Pork has never gone out of style – except maybe with the Jews and Muslims (for them, it was never in style). But those of us willing to eat in sin know the decadent delight in the flavor of fatty, salty pig. It’s pretty irresistible, which might be why so many religions find it reprehensible.

The Italians have certainly embraced the swine and nowhere is that more evident than at Eataly’s rotisserie, where the roasted meat sandwiches change daily. Every Monday they offer the Pork Arista (which was also named one of Village Voice’s top dishes this year). The soft and peppery roasted pork needs no mustard or vegetables – just a buttery baguette to sop up all the flavor. This is only available for lunch, so pass the crowds and follow your nose (not your religion). Price: $11.80/$13.80

ROSTICCERIA AT EATALY
200 Fifth Avenue (between 23rd and 24th Street),
Flatiron District
(212) 539-0204
eatalyny.com/rosticceria

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For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…

I eat all sorts of pig parts. I’ve celebrated with pork ribs, dined on pork belly, housed pork shoulder, and even nibbled on pig ears. But I’m sort of amazed that it took me this long to try pig tails.

Is it even possible to eat pig tails? Doesn’t the tail seem like it would be very bony and thin? Is there even meat on those curly cues?  Are they similar to oxtail? These were the questions we asked ourselves as we placed the order at Brooklyn Star.

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Aside from the 100 Best Dishes story every year, another annual Time Out issue I eagerly await is the one that announces and documents the Food and Drink Awards. It’s a fun combination of Critic’s Picks and Reader’s Choice Awards voted on by Time Out readers like myself. And now that I’m on the publication’s radar as being their Most Gluttonous Fan (that category unfortunately did not exist this year), I was kindly invited to attend the awards ceremony last night.

I was amazed nobody wanted to take my picture as I entered the ballroom at (Le) Poisson Rouge in the West Village. They must not have seen my webisodes. Instead, light bulbs and microphones were thrown at people like restauranteur Gabriel Stulman (Jeffrey’s Grocery/Fedora), Chef Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen), and the already legendary Paulie Gee.

A wonderful and classy jazz band, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks played upbeat standards that surprisingly brought quite a few people on their feet. I’m not much of a dancer and since I only knew a handful of people in attendance and only had two of the Dutch Traders (the speciality cocktail created by winner Dram), I stood back and watched.

And while I watched and hob nobbed with all the restaurant celebs (I really enjoyed talking to Kaz an Nou’s Sébastien Aubert and Michele Lane), I made sure to sample some of the food offerings that were available from some of the nominated restaurants. I’m not sure how they picked who was serving what, but I didn’t complain because I got to relive the amazing Chicken Biscuits from the Best Southern Comfort winning Pies n’ Thighs (these were rather cold and paled in comparison to the versions at the restaurant) and the meatballs from Rubirosa, which gave Paulie Gee a run for his money when it came to best new pizza (although Paulie still deservedly won).

The Brindle Room was giving out samples of their Frito Pies, which are only available from their delivery menu and if you like chili (this one was intensely flavored with different spices), you’ll love this version ontop of salty, crunchy Fritos. In my book, the only thing it was missing was a dollop of sour cream and a college dorm couch. I also had a conversation with Tiffany who promised me the duck confit poutine will be on the special menu again soon (I’ve been trying to taste it for my Time Out adventure).

Other food offerings included some really tasty mini chicken and waffles from the newly re-opened Brooklyn Star, Duck and Okra Gumbo from Tchoup Shop, Salty Honey Pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds (the only dish I didn’t taste), and some serious donuts from Best New Restaurant winner ABC Kitchen. So serious that I actually had two – the Bacon Fudge and Sea Salt, which I thought had the right amount of smoky meatiness, salty chocolate, and sweet dough. And the glazed was a lot more simple but just as delicious – both having a wonderfully soft doughy texture. I normally don’t even eat donuts and the fact that I had two says a lot.

The festivities were presided over by Food Editor Jordana Rothman, who posed with all the winners while a slideshow announced their names. The Awards issue hits stands this week, but you can already take a glimpse of all the winners on the website.


My heart dropped tonight. We got to The Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg to order the roasted maple-crust chicken. It sounded delicious and I had checked their website to make sure they had it on the menu. The restaurant was hidden on a quiet, unassuming street. It was rather small with some communal counter space in the center, but we found a table on the side which looked into the open kitchen. It was very comfortable and cozy and hip.

Now’s where my heart dropped. We looked at the menu and there was no roasted chicken to be found. What did I do wrong? I’ve been strategizing and very thorough to make sure I’m able to hit all the 100 dishes. I questioned the waiter who I told I read about it in Time Out. He told me they had made a misprint. It wasn’t maple crust chicken, it was Maplecrest (farm) chicken.

But crest or crust, I still didn’t see any roasted chicken. The waiter said that they are now making chicken and dumplings and that they use the same Maplecrest chicken. And that was the key to the dish.

Caught at an impasse, I reluctantly ordered the chicken and dumplings, but felt like a failure. Maybe they will bring the roasted chicken back after the winter? Chicken and Dumplings are definitely more of a winter dish, so maybe that’s why we get that instead.

So I will review the chicken and dumplings and count it as #24, but with the hope that I’ll be able to fix the situation in the coming months.

The rest of our experience at Brooklyn Star was nice enough. We started with complimentary BBQ oysters since our food was taking a while. The cornbread with bacon and jalapeño was delicious with smoky spicy sweetness. The brussels sprouts were not what I expected, as they were sort of a bright, sweet hash with apples and ham. And the Dr. Pepper ribs were a bit overcooked, but had nice flavor – although I wish the soda flavor had been more prominent.

And now we come to the chicken and dumplings. This was like a Southern matzoh ball soup but with a lot less flavor. The broth was rather bland and the dumplings were soft, but also could have used a spike in seasoning. The chicken itself was very moist and had the most flavor of the dish. I can only imagine what the chicken would have tasted like roasted. Oh, there goes my heart again!

Would The Brooklyn Star’s Roasted MapleCREST Chicken make my Top 100 of the year? Well, I just don’t know since I didn’t taste it. But the actual Maplecrest chicken was moist and flavorful although didn’t shine in the chicken dumplings dish and for now, it gets a 5 out of 10.


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