It ain’t bad! I’ve had a couple of meals there now, and based on my limited sampling, I like it.
Burnt ends (aka brisket trimmings; pictured): great. Not too mushy, not too chewy. Could the meat be a bit smokier? Yes, but it’s not a disaster.
French fries: very, very good. They wouldn’t be out of place on a steak frites plate.
Coleslaw: it’s a creamy, fairly classic style. Fine by me.
Collards: great texture but sadly lacking in flavor despite the chunks of pork lurking amongst the greens. Several generous squirts of the housemade hot sauce fixed them up. GREAT hot sauce, by the way.
Housemade spicy pickles: a slightly sophisticated take on the standard bread and butter chips. Sweet but not aggressively so, and an excellent foil for rich meats.
I’ve got my eye on the kielbasa for the next go-round, and the fried cherry pie…
Townline BBQ, 3593 Townline Road at Montauk Highway, Sagaponack, NY
Al caught a good-sized bluefish, pictured above. After cleaning and filleting, he hot-smoked it on the Weber with delicious results. It has a reputation for being unpleasantly strong-tasting and oily, but prepared this way ours was sweet and no greasier than any other smoked fish.
I was pretty surprised to find a menu in the vestibule yesterday from the Hawaiian Teriyaki Grill. I hadn’t noticed a new restaurant, and it does seem a little strange considering the neighborhood. Upon closer inspection, it would appear to be operating out of the Fresca Tortillas on Manhattan near Nassau. The offerings are all over the place: lots of fried apps like mozzarella sticks and calamari, two kinds of wings (Buffalo and Hawaii BBQ), salads, various types of burgers (yup, there’s a “Big Kahuna”), and Hawaiian or teriyaki BBQ plates available with chicken, pork, beef, short ribs, or fried shrimp (how on earth do you barbecue a fried shrimp?). Sadly, no macaroni salad or spam (staples of the plate lunch, or so I’ve been told).
Hawaiian Teriyaki Grill/Fresca Tortillas, 620 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
The Greenpoint Taco Man reappeared yesterday (parked on the triangle of concrete between Bedford and Nassau), and I was finally able to try the lengua. The verdict: two greasy thumbs up. The meat was very tender from a combo of boiling and griddling; slightly smoky and slightly sweet with a hint of gaminess. Definitely better than the cecina. I had the avocado sauce this time, which seemed like a mildly spicy guacamole thinned with crema. I hope that GTM sticks around, because a summer spent lazing around McCarren Park while feasting on tacos would be a nice thing indeed.
Not that the neighborhood is entirely bereft without him, though… Another treat that I finally got around to sampling comes from El Encanto, a Mexican grocery with a small menu for take-away. Al and I split a carne enchilda torta, and I can’t remember the last time that half of a sandwich left me so full. The roll failed to hold all of the ingredients, which included several thick planks of cheese, pickled jalapeno strips, a generous number of avocado slices, a few handfuls of iceberg lettuce, and about three-quarters of a pound of spicy, reddish-orange pork. I had to use a fork to eat the thing, and while a stickler would no doubt deduct points for the fact that the bread was rendered unusable by a combination of grease and overstuffing, I still give the sandwich pretty high marks.
El Encanto, 1005 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222