Defonte's With two weeks left in Carroll Gardens (never mind that I'm only moving four miles away and have access to a car) there are some oversights to be corrected. Though it seems farther because of the BQE and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance, Defonte's is technically only three blocks from my apartment yet I haven't been once in eight years. Ridiculous. So, I finally got the famous roast beef, mozzarella and fried eggplant hero, as well as one, equally hefty with roast pork and pickled vegetables. Both seriously filling workhorse sandwiches that I'm happy still exist in this ever rarefied section of Brooklyn. I'm afraid I've been exposed to too many improved versions, though, like Paesano's (scroll down) in Philadelphia (yes, weird to compare to Philly, not NYC, but I don't eat a lot of Italian-American things on bread here--I still haven't tried Parm either) and now I find the originals kind of dull--or maybe just in need of a little salt or an extra condiment.
Rocky Sullivan's I didn't realize the Friday night 6-9 lobster thing they advertise starts at 6pm and means you need to be there then, not any time in that three-hour slot. At 7:30pm, the 35 lobsters had been spoken for. The cheeseburger and fries I consoled myself just didn't cut it. And it must be said that if you're at Rocky Sullivan's, which is attached to the Sixpoint Brewery, one should probably drink a Sweet Action or whatever may be on tap, not a bottle of Bud, as suggested by possibly contrarian Sam Sifton last week.
Olive Garden The Never Ending Pasta Bowl may not be local or organic, but it's highly seasonal. Each August the ads appear, teasing with the limited-time disclaimer. I'm not sure when it ends, but not much later than Labor Day. I've written about the absurd secrecy of claiming this $9.95 promotion in Manhattan more than once, and this still hasn't changed. You have to ask because it's not on the menu or any signs, then will be given one big bowl (plenty for one meal) on the first round, then subsequently smaller ones. And if you order a drink (no making fun of my malbec) at the bar while waiting for friends to show up, you'll get an automatic 18% tip added in. Do I look like a tourist? Who else but an American would be at an Olive Garden on a Friday night?