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Posts tagged ‘arby’s’

Newborn: Arby’s Manhattan

arby's quad

Manhattan chains aren’t like their outer borough brethren. For one, they don’t get flashy microsites and bus tours of Katz’s and Ottomanelli & Sons promoting the same roast beef the rest of the country consumes to little fanfare.

They also fit into their natural surroundings pretty well even if they don’t last. Who even recalls the Manhattan Mall Arby’s? The new iteration that opened last week is next to Port Authority, sharing the same corridor as Manhattan’s only White Castle and the McDonald’s long-formed so wonderfully earlier this year.

In Brooklyn, they take over Gage & Tollner before disappearing. In Middle Village, they flatten Niederstein’s and quietly persevere. (Unrelated to Arby’s, the latest old-school Queens German restaurant to die and transition is Chalet Alpina into Peruvian La Coya. I was curious about the Pisco bar when I walked by last week to see if anything was going on in the former Sizzler–nope, and I nearly shed a tear–but there wasn’t a soul inside.)

arby's lunch

So how is the food? Do you need me to tell you? It’s Arby’s; you get it or you don’t. I went rogue, which for me meant non-Beef ‘n Cheddar. At the last minute, I went premium and chose what I thought was the A.1. Special Reserve Steak Sandwich instead. I had my reasons. (Ok, I’ll tell you one. It was to impress a guy on social media who I’m already friends with. He never acknowledged it, but I’m pretty sure he noticed that I was eating the sandwich he posted on my timeline two months ago. Yep.)

But now that I’m looking at the menu what I ate was definitely not that limited edition sandwich because A.1 branding is nowhere to be seen, and also someone clearly fucked up because by deduction, the only sandwich involving bacon and crispy onions is the Smokehouse Brisket and that’s also supposed to include smoked Gouda and this contained no cheese whatsoever, when really it needed more creamy salt and fat, and now I’m angry at Arby’s, day 2 in operation (on my visit) or not.

Ok, I just calmed down. One unique feature of the Manhattan Arby’s is breakfast. (It’s no Taco Bell, however.) In fact, there are four whole categories devoted to the not-that-important-meal-of-the-day: sliders, flatbreads, biscuits, and premium biscuits, served with coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company, which honestly I can’t tell if it’s a pseudo or legit beanery or what. I never eat fast food breakfast, but I may just pick up a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit tomorrow if I can make it by 10:30am since it’s the eve of Christmas Eve and I don’t really have to go to the office.

Arby’s * 611 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 

Arby’s Brooklyn

twoshovelWhat? So soon. I can’t believe an Arby’s couldn’t make it on the Fulton Mall. (8/12/10)

Some restaurant openings garner more fanfare than others. This week we had Colicchio & Sons, Carteles and Village Tart. But Brooklyn’s first Arby’s was the only newcomer that spurred me into action.

Arby's exterior

Their decision to take over the Gage & Tollner space (previously occupied by a short lived T.G.I. Friday’s) brought out Brooklyn’s finest NIMBYism even though Arby’s had to hew to historical preservation standards. No such considerations were given in 2005 when Niederstein’s, Queens’ oldest restaurant, was flat out razed for an Arby’s, oddly enough. Brooklyn has higher sense of self worth it seems.

Arby's counter

The end result being what might be the world’s classiest Arby’s. Spacious, with enough detailed dark wood, patina’d mirrors and near-steampunky light fixtures to be the envy every prefab speakeasy in the city. On day four, everything was still tidy, the staff uncharacteristically upbeat and polite for any fast food joint, suspiciously so for one in Brooklyn. If you do as directed by the sign behind the bell at the original revolving doors, “If your service was GREAT, please ring the bell,” the workers break into a song-cheer. This is so totally ripe for abuse.

Arby's great service bell

I’m fairly certain that I have not eaten at an Arby’s since I was in high school. Freshman year I’d get a Beef ‘n Cheddar and a Jamocha shake multiple times per week. The menu now includes salads, gyros, deli sandwiches and “Sidekickers” like southwestern egg rolls and mozzarella sticks. The core roast beef sandwiches now come in three sizes.

Arby's beef & cheddar

This was a regular. Ok, the Beef ‘n Cheddar fills a similar void as Taco Bell, a fun facsimile that can become crave-worthy in its own right. If you want a real roast beef sandwich (I’m picturing Baltimore-style  pit beef) Arby’s will not please you. The meat is thin and salty like Land ‘O Frost (I don’t think that brand exists in NYC) and the cheddar is orange and warm like nacho cheese. I happen to love processed cheese in all forms: plastic-wrapped, in a jar, spray can or foil-covered block.

Arby's condiments

In my day we had Horsey Sauce and Arby’s Sauce, a.k.a. sweet bbq in packets. That was all. Like someone who awakes from a twenty-year coma to givens like cell phones and thongs being standard underwear for women, I was dazzled by the condiment bar with self-pump service. Spicy Three Pepper Sauce? What else have I been missing out on?

Arby's jalapeno bits

Jalapeno Bites were new to me in this venue, but not new in the scheme of things. Poppers are right up there with crab Rangoon in my fried snack pantheon. These are served with a gooey candy apple red sauce called Bronco Berry. It’s like sweet and sour.

Arby's shake

Blogging has its privileges; a man who I suspect was the manager (green polo rather than red) brought me a vanilla shake when he saw me taking photos. My loyalties can absolutely be bought, and they come cheap.

Arby’s * 372 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY