BEST OF THE “BEST OF THE BEST”- 2008 (PART TWO)
by Nick D’Arienzo
Jan 07, 2009 | 9951 views | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Dirty Pierre's
As the late John Lennon once sang, “Another year over… and a new one just begun…” And so, now that we’ve rung in 2009 and left 2008 behind us, here at “BEST OF THE BEST” we wanted to continue to take a rather comprehensive look at some of our favorite places throughout Brooklyn and Queens, and as you make your 2009 to-do lists, hopefully they’ll emerge as some of yours, too. Turning the calendar pages over for good now, we can’t help thinking that, surely there must be better days ahead of us at this point, no? For the sake of you and yours, we certainly hope so.

BEST

Coffee

There’s really no such thing as “Coffee, Regular” when every single person who walks in orders their coffee a different way. And yet, the folks at MATSON’S in Middle Village – Louise, Barry, etc. – actually remember how each and every one of their patrons takes their morning cup of joe. That’s definitely how you build customer loyalty, something they’ve been doing here for years. (Plus, their coffee is just so darn good!) At FAME in Maspeth, because so much coffee is moved through its machines each and every day, 72 cups at a time, you’ve also got some of the best around, too. Manager James Koronis is quick to credit the special Vassilaros-made blends that FAME uses and the fact that, 18 hours at a stretch, the decanters are never sitting idle for too long. Similarly, the folks at the WILLBURG CAFE praise the merits of the Porto Rico coffee they brew, and the fact that their standout java comes in delightful little mugs probably makes the leisurely sipping of same a rather pleasurable experience, as well. (MATSON’S, 64-66 Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village (718) 894-6307; FAME, 69-67 Grand Avenue in Maspeth (718) 478-4674; WILLBURG CAFE, 623 Grand Street in Williamsburg (718) 963-0219.)

BEST

Sandwiches

Whether it’s the Corned Beef, the Pastrami, the Brisket, the Roast Beef, you’re getting some of the best in the city here at BEN’S BEST KOSHER DELI. It’s probably why so many longtime fans have second-generation proprietor Jay Parker overnighting his specialties to gatherings as far flung as Florida, California, even London! A personal favorite of ours here? The Congressman Weiner Sandwich - Roast Beef and Bermuda Onion on rye, with that oh-so-light and creamy Russian dressing that they do so well here. Now, in Mexico, they’re called Tortas, these things we call sandwiches, and no one does them better than a little hole-in-the-wall in Williamsburg called YOLA’S CAFE. If you want to try something really special, get a Torta Milanesa (breaded), either Chicken or Steak, which comes on a perfectly crispy hero, slathered with Refried Beans, Onions, Avocado, Jalapenos, and some unforgettable White Mexican String Cheese. (All of which really ought to get washed down with whatever flavor Jarritos you prefer!) Just off of Fresh Pond Road, we couldn’t be more pleased with the recent renovation at longtime favorite MIKE & MARIA’S.While said renovation now allows brother and sister Mike and Maria Ferrulli the opportunity to do catering, burgers, etc. as well as a whole host of other prepared dishes like Eggplant Parmigiana or Chicken Marsala, we were pleased to find that our favorite sandwiches definitely remain so - standouts like their Buffalo Chicken (Melted Provolone, Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing) and their Ultimate Warrior (Roast Beef, Melted Cheddar, Russian Dressing). (BEN’S BEST KOSHER DELI, 96-40 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park (718) 897-1700; YOLA’S CAFE, 524 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg (718) 486-0757; MIKE & MARIA’S, 623 Grand Street in Williamsburg (718) 963-0219.)

BEST

Places To Catch A Flick

We are always going to love the REGAL CINEMAS STADIUM 8 inside THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK. But that’s probably because, not only do they have a great selection of movies, but there’s also a JOHNNY ROCKETS right next door which, combined with that gorgeous second-story balcony out onto the courtyard, reminds us of what those old-world movie emporiums must have been like when the world was a far better place. And if it’s the best of independent film and Oscar fare you’re looking for, we say you ought to head straight for the KEW GARDENS CINEMAS on Lefferts Boulevard. Not only is their popcorn exceptional, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they’re only going to charge you $6.50 for your ticket! Another top venue for the most special of films, retrospectives, lectures, etc. is the BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC aka BAM, one of the most ornate and exquisitely appointed spaces in the entire borough. For listings, make sure you visit www.BAM.org rather often. (REGAL CINEMAS STADIUM 8, THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK, 8000 Cooper Avenue in Glendale (718) 416-1349; KEW GARDENS CINEMAS, 81-05 Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens (718) 441-9835; BAM, 30 Lafayette Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn (718) 636-4100.)

BEST

Burgers

The burgers at DONOVAN’S in Woodside have long been regarded as among the finest in the city. And who are we to dispute that – in fact, why the heck would we? They’re oh so juicy, perfectly charred, and really, really reasonably priced, considering how fantastic they are. We’re also huge fans here of the Bistro Burger at DIRTY PIERRE’S, always cooked to perfection, served with crisp lettuce, tomato and onion, and accompanied by some of the best (and thinnest) French Fries you’re ever going to have. We’ve also come to admire Brooklyn’s new-fangled 67 BURGER, just a stone’s throw from the BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC. Definitely Californian in sensibility (and in its worship of the almighty burger), flavor is king here – anything from Parisian or Cajun to Southwestern (roasted peppers and chipotle mayo), and of course, the 67 Burger with creamy blue cheese and crispy bacon – all atop a perfectly toasted Pechter’s bun. Oh, and please make sure you have a shake here, too – especially the Beer Shake. Seriously, trust us on this! (DONOVAN’S, 57-24 Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside (718) 429-9339; DIRTY PIERRE’S, 13 Station Square in Forest Hills (718) 830-9698; 67 BURGER, 67 Lafayette Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn (718) 797-7150.)

BEST

Places To Throw A Party

On a recent visit to the very top of the ASTORIA SPORTS COMPLEX, we were amazed at how much room there is for fun and frolic for your young ones. In fact, they can host two parties at the same time! Looking for a private room for a special birthday or anniversary, ask about the elegant back room that Cono and Maria Colombo have added to their popular and very reasonably priced Williamsburg trattoria LA LOCANDA. Maybe you’re hosting a communion or a confirmation or a funeral luncheon - you should probably contact the Connollys. Definitely make sure you check out the rather grand banquet space they’ve got here at CONNOLLY’S CORNER, which is really three restaurants in one! (ASTORIA SPORTS COMPLEX, 34-38 34th Street in Astoria (718) 729-7163; LA LOCANDA, 432 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg (718) 349-7800; CONNOLLY’S CORNER, 71-15 Grand Avenue in Maspeth (718) 565-7383.)
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