Feeling good in the neighborhood…I'm not sure that Battery Park City
really qualifies as a neighborhood, but you know. I just thought I'd give
the briefest mention of my first Manhattan Applebee's experience. There's
nothing finer than downing massive nachos, riblets, quesadillas and
mozzerella sticks (and that's just the appetizer) catty corner from the
World Trade Center crater. We will rebuild!
Applebee's * 102 N. End
Ave., New York, NY
Can you separate food from experience? I should've been scared off when I saw the sign on the front door indicating a private party would be taking place from 7-9:30pm. But as it was 10:30, and we were told it would be only a 20 min. wait, I figured we'd be fine.
The place was shoulder-to-shoulder packed, we left, came back, no one had budged from the tables and no one was eating; only drinking. It was a bar scene, and ultimately we ended up waiting around an hour to be seated (one of those situations where you've waited so long, you feel more annoyed by leaving). It was a birthday party, the crowd was drunk and rude, and it was clearly the first time in Brooklyn for many of the revelers (one had rented a Zip Car, especially for the occasion–I only know this because of the loudmouth factor in the room), and it showed. Apparently the crew that had set up shop, thought it was a bar that happened to serve food, and had no plans to vacate any of their spots. When we were finally seated, a drunk girl practically sat on my lap a number of times and people begin throwing wads of who-knows-what back and forth through the open window next to me. An inebriated frat-type randomly tried picking a fight twice with James, "If you bump into me one more time, I'll…." and yelled at us when we left.
By the time we ordered food I just wanted to get the hell out of there. In fact, I can barely remember the food. I did the banh mi, which was good enough, though I would have been fine with a Chinatown rendition. I also had some fennel, citrus-y, prosciutto, parmesan salad, which I can barely remember. James had a pork sandwich that he insisted tasted like tuna fish salad.
It's rare that I leave a restaurant feeling wholly irritated. One could chalk it up to a bad night, and I probably would if this place wasn't so incredibly overhyped. This "Brooklyn global cuisine" they proffer just doesn't cut it.
Chickenbone Café * 177 S. Fourth, Brooklyn, NY
I so rarely venture up (I say up because it's up a hill and the street
numbers are increase that direction, but geographically it's south so I
guess that makes it down, not up) into the 40s and 50s, but on a boring,
lonely Friday night I filled my time with laundry at the shiny 24-hour place
and porky tacos, al pastor and carnitas. There are worse ways to spend an
evening, I suppose.
Taqueria La Campirena * 4010 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Who says the obnoxious practice of bombarding apartment buildings with take
out menus doesn't work? I'd always meant to try Rai Rai Ken, but it's tiny
and it just never seemed to be the right moment…until James had a menu
slipped under his door. I'm not a huge ramen fan, and yes I know ramen is
not all like Top Ramen, but this soup was on the tastier side. What was
truly baffling were the list of extras: green onion and roast pork I
understand, but butter?! I knew those Japanese had a fetish for
mayonnaise, but apparently they're nutty for dairy in all its inappropriate
RaiRai Ken * 214 E. 10th, New York, NY