>> Eat the World NYC

09 May 2021

L’Algéroise French Pastries

ALGERIA 🇩🇿

COVID-19 UPDATE: The bakery is primarily takeout, with limited seating in a sheltered area on the front sidewalk.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Bath Avenue is home to a handful of good Pakistani restaurants, a string of Mexican bodega taquerias, Guatemalan loncherías, a long-standing Peruvian restaurant, two Uzbek places, a new Georgian spot, great Shanghai soup dumplings, and more. Since last year they have been joined by L’Algeroise, an Algerian bakery producing fantastic French pastries headlined by a Napoleon that is literally causing traffic jams at the corner of Bay Parkway.
 

To many of us a Napoleon ($3.50, above) is that stale thing from the Italian bakery that is too high to fit in your mouth properly. Here it is light, crunches under your fork, and is just simply delicious. L’Algeroise is selling over 300 of them on an average day. If you should happen in when they have run out (which is often), fear not—a tray comes out about every thirty minutes. Most customers are ordering it to go, but others match it with a cappuccino or cup of mint tea and pull up a chair at an outdoor table. Regardless of how you eat it, you will be back for more—it is really good.

Macarons ($1.50) are light and precisely baked, with lemon, pistachio, and cassis (black currant) especially popular. Cassis and pistachio are also on offer as eclairs ($3.50), and cassis makes another appearance in the cake case. The cake slices are abundant, most are $4, and you would be best served by just trying a couple and seeing what you like.


Savories are frowned on here, but occasionally there are plastic-wrapped mhadjeb ($4, below) available atop the bakery case. Mhadjeb are a semolina-based flatbread filled with tomato and onion, bringing to mind a scallion pancake, almost, with a similar feeling of universal comfort food.

L’Algeroise has the looks of a place that will be here for years to come. With all the horrific heritage of colonialism, there is something pleasing about Algerian immigrants to Brooklyn forging a new neighborhood institution from a pastry named after a French general, and making it their own.


📍 2169 Bath Avenue, Bath Beach, Brooklyn
 
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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. It is a hobby born of passion and never solicits money or free food from restaurants. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE, Cash App $JaredCohee, or click here to send PayPal donation, where no account is necessary. Thank you!

04 May 2021

Pad Thai Kitchen

THAILAND 🇹🇭

COVID-19 UPDATE: Indoor dining at limited capacity in accordance with NYS law and a covered, heated outdoor dining patio on 18th Avenue. Contact tracing and temperature checks for indoor diners.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written and photographed by Monica Parks.

Bensonhurst’s 18th Avenue - alter-ego Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard - is a stronghold of Italian and, more recently, Chinese culture in Southern Brooklyn. Among the Hong Kong-style cafes and venerable pizza institutions lies a hidden gem: the innocuously-named Pad Thai Kitchen.

While there are solid takeout joints throughout the borough, Brooklyn simply does not have the same level of access to home-style Thai cooking as does Queens. Chef Nid - the owner of Pad Thai Kitchen - is the proprietor of a small empire in Brooklyn: she has hands not only in Pad Thai Kitchen, but also Corthaiyou, Jintana Thai Farmhouse, and Thai Farm Kitchen. You would do well to visit any of her institutions, but it is worth noting that Pad Thai Kitchen should be on any list of Bensonhurst essentials.


The restaurant’s name might lure you to old favorites, and those will not disappoint. Chef Nid has populated her menu with regional pad thai featuring various proteins from pork belly to head-on prawns to soft shell crab. A vegan paradise it is not - though the vegetables used are always crisp and fresh, and the dishes do not require animal protein to shine.
 
Should you ask, staff might steer you to gai yang ($17, above), a veritable multi-course meal served on a cutting board. The lemongrass-marinated grilled whole game hen is the centerpiece here, supported by a funky, tart green papaya salad and sticky rice. The prik nam pla - fish sauce, lime, and bird’s eye chili condiment - that accompanies this dish is not to be ignored.


Pad Thai Kitchen also excels in the appetizer department. Thai-American favorites like chicken satay abound, but do not ignore the peek gai yang ka min ($8, above) - crispy, fish sauce and turmeric-tossed chicken wings. The wings are small, but what they lack in size, they make up for in a satisfyingly crunchy, thin-skinned exterior and powerfully savory taste. While these are served with sweet chili sauce, they do not need dressing at all.

A treat not seen frequently among Thai standards is kao thod naem klook ($14, below) - crispy rice balls with tangy, sour Isaan fermented sausage, familiar to fans of Lao and northern Thai cuisine. Heavily aromatic thanks to the kaffir lime, coconut, and pork, this dish should be on any carb-lover’s radar.


Not pictured, but dishes sampled on prior visits and worth re-ordering include Chantaburi pad thai, “superpower” green curry, and moo yang BBQ pork. Pad Thai Kitchen also does a brisk beverage business, with many customers seeking beautifully layered Thai iced tea and Instagram-friendly, indigo-colored butterfly pea flower iced tea. On a next visit, the pandan leaf iced tea will be sought out before the rest.

📍 6218 18th Avenue, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. It is a hobby born of passion and never solicits money or free food from restaurants. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better please tell your friends about us and if you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE, Cash App $JaredCohee, or click here to send PayPal donation, where no account is necessary. Thank you!

02 May 2021

Super Taco Deli & Restaurant

MÉXICO 🇲🇽

COVID-19 UPDATE: The restaurant has built a covered patio for outside dining, and has a more spacious indoor dining area than most Mexican restaurants in south Brooklyn.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Like pizza, nachos are a dish found more often on menus stateside than in the country of their supposed origin. If legend (and Wikipedia) is correct, they were invented by a bordertown Mexican chef in 1940 and popularized in Texas and then the American Southwest.

But much like pizza and the Mission burrito, regardless of authenticity or lack thereof, nachos are really good, and have been part of the Mexican-American culinary lexicon for long enough they are also part of immigrant Mexican cooking in restaurants catering mostly to the Mexican community. While 7-11 has adapted nachos into a processed food horror of push-button EZ cheese, many taquerias have made their own improvements on the dish using Mexican meats and fresh ingredients.


Gravesend family business Super Taco makes a very nice nachos al pastor ($12, above). The cheese didn’t come out of a bag, and the composition is airy enough that the beans and pico de gallo do not leave the chips soggy. The pastor seasoning has, unusually, cloves, as well as chunks of fresh pineapple, and both are pleasantly surprising to find in a familiar dish. More than everything else, though, the freshly-fried chips make the dish, with the tortillas thick and holding up well amidst the onslaught of toppings. And yes, you can order a beer with your nachos here, and there is plenty of space to sit back and drink it.

A weekend pozole con puerco ($10, below) comes with two tostadas, with the tortillas again freshly-fried. The soup is mild, and the meat tender. The hominy has absorbed the soup’s flavor, and cooked into a very pleasing potato-like texture. The soup’s gentle flavor profiles are a good contrast to the fireworks of the nachos. This restraint of seasoning is true of many Mexican dishes with indigenous roots, and it is a beautiful thing to eat these two dishes together—one thousands of years old, the other barely eighty, both telling stories of immigration and adaptation and the many cultures that have influenced this continent.


📍 261 Kings Highway, Gravesend, Brooklyn

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. It is a hobby born of passion and never solicits money or free food from restaurants. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE, Cash App $JaredCohee, or click here to send PayPal donation, where no account is necessary. Thank you!

06 April 2021

Sin Dulce Bakery

MÉXICO 🇲🇽

COVID-19 UPDATE: The restaurant provides indoor dining and a brisk takeout business.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Port Chester, the last town in West Chester before I-95 crosses over into Connecticut, is the most diverse town in the county. Its downtown has gone through a familiar pattern of abandonment, revitalization by immigrants, and modest gentrification.

Despite some fancier restaurants and a renovated warehouse building advertising luxury loft living, restaurants serving the immigrant community still proliferate. Mexican stalwart Sin Dulce sits within two blocks of restaurants serving food from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, and much more.


Tacos árabes ($4 each, above) are not from the trompo here, but worth a try regardless. Pork is cooked in a lemon juice marinade and served with chipotle salsa and sauteed onions in a flour tortilla. The citrus cuts very nicely through the salsa and onions, and the tortillas appear to be handmade.
 
A burrito de cabeza ($8.50, below) presents rich head meat that is well-balanced with the other components. Yes there is lettuce, but the protein dominates, and flavors are excellent. Other meat options include brain and ear, meats generally neglected at US Mexican restaurants but here doing a steady business.


After your meal you would be well-served to follow up on those protein options across the street at the La Placita supermarket. The meat counter offers a beautiful array of sausages, including multiple chorizos (all $5.99 a pound). The Mexican and Colombian varieties are more familar, and about what you would expect (spicy and fatty, respectively).
 
More unusual in US markets are the chorizo parrillero and chorizo uruguayo. Both are lighter-colored and more mildly-flavored than their northern counterparts. The parrillero is heavy on the herbs, while the uruguayo is more subtle, with garlic and maybe a little wine in the mix. Also on offer is an Argentinian morcilla (also $5.99 a pound), a blood and rice sausage that provides a very nice contrast of texture and flavor compared to its meat counter neighbors.


For both restaurants and market, Port Chester is well worth a stop the next time you’re driving north. Amidst the bland gentility of many of the surrounding communities, this one is a gem.

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. It is a hobby born of passion and never solicits money or free food from restaurants. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE, Cash App $JaredCohee, or click here to send PayPal donation, where no account is necessary. Thank you!

27 March 2021

Golden Palace

CHINA 🇨🇳

COVID-19 UPDATE: Golden Palace has a well-built outdoor dining area as well as indoor dining in accordance with NYS guidelines.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Brooklyn’s dim sum palaces have struggled to find working business models during the pandemic, with several remaining shuttered and others transitioning to takeout with mixed success. 86th Street’s Golden Palace has the advantage of a large parking lot, in which they have built sturdy tents with heat and plywood floors. Steaming carts have been replaced by paper menus, and while you might miss the clatter of those wheels, your food will be cooked to order, meaning everything is fresh, hot, and better than ever.

Steamed rice rolls are omnipresent in the neighborhood, and a dim sum favorite is chinese donut wrapped with rice noodle roll ($4, below top left corner). Both the donuts and the rice rolls benefit from the cooked-to-order development, with the crunchy/soft contrast coming through very nicely. Another rice roll variation is leek noodle roll ($5, below), in which the noodles are rolled around pork and shrimp and turned on their sides. Both are best with a side of chili to complement the usual soy sauce.


Spare ribs with black pepper ($5) are tender, peppery, and especially good at Golden Palace, as is the stuffed bean curd skin ($6.50). As always with this dish, it’s not much to look at, but the balance of pork-shrimp-bamboo shoot and chewy bean curd skin is great here. Baked pork buns ($4) and deep fried stuffed dumplings ($4) bridge the gap from savory to sweet, with the latter especially enjoyable—minced pork is buried in deep-fried glutinous rice.

Fully on the dessert side of things are two variations on the bun filled with egg yoke theme—baked egg yoke custard bun ($3.25 for two) and steamed egg yoke custard bun ($4 for three). Both are delicious, with the difference coming down mostly to texture—the baked has a crunchier pastry with the egg yolk filling mostly dried out, whereas the steamed has a soft bao filled with runny sweetened egg yoke.


Dim sum meals are heavy on starch and sugar, and if you can muster enough diners in the current climate to justify an entree, your meal will be more balanced for it. Sizzling spare ribs with black pepper rice noodle roll ($18, below) is substantial, and might not be translated exactly right—the ribs are in a black bean and rice wine gravy.

Regardless, the sizzling platter is a textural triumph. Tightly rolled rice noodles have been pan-fried on the platter until a crust forms. Crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle, topped off with peppers, peanuts, bean sprouts, and rib nuggets. This is a great dish. Still heavy on the starch, but you will not regret it.


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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE, Cash App $JaredCohee, or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

09 March 2021

The Grill House

PALESTINE 🇵🇸

COVID-19 UPDATE: Mostly takeout in the best of times, Grill House has a few modest tables set up now that indoor dining has resumed in NYC.
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

On a quiet residential Bronx block sits Grill House, which on first glance looks like a run-of-the-mill shawarma shop. Behind the unassuming facade and alongside the shawarma spit is a full menu of Middle Eastern mezzeh at very reasonable prices, including Palestinian desserts that remain hard to come by in most New York neighborhoods.

First things first: the chicken shawarma ($5, below) is very good. It has pickles, garlic sauce, and is carved fresh from the spit. The spit’s seasoning is milder than at Bay Ridge favorite Al-Aqsa Bakery, but the flavor is bolstered with a vibrant green spicy schug that is heavy on fresh peppers and herbs. Be a little gentle in its application—it packs a punch.


A side of baba ganoush is never a bad idea for dipping, and here you might order it in the Middle Eastern platter ($7.99, below), which combines scoops of hummus and baba with falafel balls, salad, and pita. The dips are both garnished with green chili-infused olive oil, and the falafel balls are small, maximizing the crunch ratio as you make your own falafel sandwiches.

Other mezzeh options dot the menu, and most come in $3 or $6 sizes. Cauliflower salad is surprisingly acidic in a good way, and cucumber with yogurt is seasoned with abundant dried mint and fresh parsley.


Room should be saved for dessert, including a respectable kunafeh ($1.50), the amazing shredded filo and baked cheese dessert that is becoming more readily-available in NYC restaurants. Also good is the standard walnut and pistachio baklava ($1).

Grill House’s version is less sweet than many others, letting the nut flavors come through clearly. Most popular, however, with both walk-in traffic and during a recent afternoon lunch, is the cheese baklava ($1), which replaces nuts with soft cheese. If you take it home, be sure to stick it in the oven briefly to reheat the cheese.


Both the sweets and savories pull from the proprietors’ upbringing in Jordan by Palestinian parents. As with so many in the Palestinian diaspora, they have not been able to visit their home country, but their parents brought their culinary traditions with them to Jordan, and now the children cook the same food on this quiet street in The Bronx.

Grill House is a fifteen minute walk from the Bromx Zoo’s Bronx River Parkway entrance (and not too far from the 2 and 5 trains), making for a great post-zoo dining option. Assuming that it has stopped snowing, which as of this writing is not the case.

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. It is a hobby born of passion and never solicits money or free food from restaurants. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

18 February 2021

El Divino Rostro

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(BAJA CALIFORNIA)

COVID-19 UPDATE: Food trucks are perfect pandemic eating, with minimal human contact and no indoor dining.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

A handful of new taco trucks are springing up in south Brooklyn, and El Divino Rostro is the most exciting of them... so far. While their competitors share more or less the same menu, El Divino Rostro has taken note of the success of Jackson Heights/Williamsburg truck Birria-Landia and Bushwick’s Nene’s Deli Taqueria, and are specializing in stewed beef birria. This is a meat that has long been common in Los Angeles, popularized by the mini-empires Teddy’s Red Tacos and Birrieria Gonzalez, but is now (finally) becoming more readily available in New York City.

Tacos de birria de res ($2.50 each) are the classic preparation, with the stewed beef sitting atop tortillas that have been dunked in broth as well. Not only does this leave the tortilla red, but plates, hands, and napkins by the end of any meal. El Divino Rostro’s birria is fatty, rich, and nicely balanced, with none of the spices dominating any of the others. The "plain" taco is a good chance to try it on its own. The quesotaco ($3.50) takes this preparation a step further, melting cheese on the red tortilla before adding the meat. Both are best eaten with a side of cilantro-and-onion-specked consomé ($6) for dunking, leaving everything even more red and delicious. The consomé is ambitiously priced, but during a recent visit was offered for free in the context of a full dinner order. Drowned in the liquid was enough extra meat for two more tacos.


Also on the menu is the rarely-seen-in-NYC mulita, as well as more standard fare like tortas and tostadas. The burrito de birria de res ($9) is almost all meat, barely glazed with beans and rice, and cut with fresh onion and avocado. El Divino Rostro’s salsa roja packs a solid punch, and you definitely won’t go wrong giving the burrito a dip in the consome before adding the salsa. There are other meat options as well: chicken, steak, and chorizo. All are presumably worth a try during future visits.

As with so many NYC taquerias and Mexican food trucks, El Divino Rostro’s proprietors are from Puebla, but they have been quick studies in this traditionally Tijuanense dish. You will wonder, eating their birria, if the New York food scene could soon be home to more, for instance, Oaxaqueño restaurants. Or Yucateco. Regardless, this truck is a fantastic addition to local Mexican food offerings, and promises great things to come as the city opens up more vendor permits and reduces police involvement in ticketing street vendors.

After some issues with parking, El Divino Rostro has established a (hopefully) permanent location on 86th Street at the corner of 21st Avenue. They plan to be open every evening, with hours somewhat variable. You can call ahead before visiting (or to make an order for pickup or delivery) at (347) 866-7479.

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

13 February 2021

Nueva Puerta del Sol

EL SALVADOR 🇸🇻

COVID-19 UPDATE: Puerta del Sol’s Bay Ridge Avenue location has tented outdoor dining, while Nueva Puerta del Sol on 18th Avenue is open for takeout and delivery only. You can order online directly from their website.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

The Salvadoran pupusa is one of those perfect foods like burritos or a Trinidadian roti wrap that combine a little bit of everything into one nutritious bundle. Some carbohydrates, a little protein, some vegetable, crafted to add up to more than the sum of their parts. These super foods are what hamburgers aspire to be, without the part afterwards where you go straight to bed in a cholesterol haze.

Nueva Puerta del Sol’s pupusa loca ($12, below) is an unusual dinner-plate-size version of the classic pupusa, and combines a little bit of all the normal fillings, and then some: refried beans, cheese, zucchini, spinach, carrot, chicharrón, and loroco, the Central American bud and flower that is common in Salvadoran cooking. The toppings are sandwiched in a thin masa pancake, and the pupusa is then grilled until brown. The cheese as usual melts nicely into a solid crust as it oozes out of the masa.


Though Puerta del Sol’s pupusa itself is novel primarily for its size and variety of its fillings, you might also find yourself with a higher-than-usual ratio of curtido-to-pupusa, with the crunch and tang of the pickled cabbage cutting nicely through the rich base. Top that with your dash of tomato salsa, and this is a pupusa to remember.
 
Besides pupusas, Puerta del Sol also offers a scattering of Mexican and Italian dishes, as well as a full menu of Salvadoran dishes. A tamal de elote con crema ($3, below) is a simple sweet corn tamal served with a side of rich crema. The sweet and savory contrast beautifully, and the straight-forwardness of the corn flavor stands out nicely next to the complex flavors of the pupusa.


Nueva Puerta del Sol is in a particularly vibrant section of diversifying 18th Avenue. On one corner handpulled noodles, on the other a great old Bensonhurst Italian bakery, Villabate Alba. Within blocks are hotpot restaurants, Malaysian, Thai, Guatemalan, Albanian, and much more. 
 
This is one of the most interesting sections of Brooklyn, and Salvadoran cuisine is a welcome addition to the mix.

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Puerta del Sol:

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!