Left at the Fork

the road | the food | a new direction

Category: Reviews (page 1 of 12)

Tony’s Texas Hots, Johnson City NY

REVIEW

New York State hot dog cookery covers a broad stylistic swath, from the snapping, garlicky beef franks of “The City,” to the slashed, grilled-over-coals beef-and-pork beauties of Buffalo and Rochester. Virtually every city of any size will have one or more old-time hot dog shops, often passing the years with little or no attention, but with a steady, loyal clientele. Continue reading

Todaro Bros., New York NY

REVIEW

We love the New York City hero. We also love Philadelphia hoagies and Louisiana muffulettas and all their regional brethren. A muffuletta is defined by the olive salad garnish. A hoagie, unless otherwise specified, comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion (order a cheesesteak hoagie, as opposed to a cheesesteak, and you are requesting your sandwich to be garnished [however ill-advised] with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions). Continue reading

Swan Market, Rochester NY

REVIEW

Who doesn’t love grocery store dining? There’s something especially appealing about sitting amongst the shelves of canned beans and boxes of elbow macaroni while chowing down on a drippy burger or plate of crunchy catfish. We always thought you had to head south to find places like this, until now. The Swan Market is a German meat market/grocery, located in a residential Rochester neighborhood, that offers a bargain lunch four days a week. And the Swan is no Northern knockoff of a Southern tradition; it is thoroughly Rochesterian in character. Continue reading

Steve’s Pig & Ox Roast, Lackawanna NY

REVIEW

When they say Pig & Ox Roast, they’re not kidding (well, they are kidding just a little: they roast beef, not oxen, which are actually the same creature, the latter being trained and used as draft animals). Check out the long window along one side of the dining room, through which you can inspect the huge roasting contraption. If you come at the right time, you’ll see the hunks of meat (which include lamb and turkey, too) slowly becoming the stuff of which these fine sandwiches are made. Continue reading

Saltsman’s Hotel, Ephratah NY

REVIEW

If it’s spring, it’s milkweed time in Ephratah! Would you like to sample one of the more esoteric American regional specialties? Then head to Saltsman’s Hotel in late May or early June to try some verdant milkweed. Continue reading

Savenor’s Butcher Shop, Cambridge MA

REVIEW

Savenor’s Butcher Shop of Cambridge, MA is not listed on any “Best Burger in Boston” list. You won’t find it on one of those sprawling “Best Burgers in New England” lists from some obscure blog that pops up on your Facebook feed. They don’t even have the best burger in America. What they do have, however, is this: Savenor’s has the best burger in the universe. And it’s only available on Fridays (and now Saturdays) from noon to 3 p.m. Continue reading

Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery, Astoria NY

REVIEW

We both grew up in the suburbs of New York City during the 1960s and have fond memories of the breads turned out from the ovens of our local Italian bakeries. These brawny Italian loaves were destined to be split and layered with cold cuts or loaded with meatballs and Italian sausage for heroes, or sliced vertically every inch or so and spread with garlic butter, then wrapped in foil and baked for ’60s-style garlic bread. Sometimes we’d just eat hunks torn from the loaf and smeared with margarine (or, rarely, butter), leaving the table blanketed with crumbs from the shattering crust. Continue reading

Rizzo’s Fine Pizza, Astoria NY

REVIEW

What exactly is Sicilian pizza? When we were kids in NY, we used to eat it all the time. Its defining characteristic, to us, was the thick, bready crust, sturdy enough to support every topping in the house (except anchovies). So when we heard about the oxymoronic-sounding thin-crusted Sicilian, we became curious: how is it possible? A little investigation turned up the fact that Sicilian pizza as made in the US is not like pizza in Sicily; it’s an Italian-American invention. There’s no reason Sicilian has to have a thick crust. But there are unique Sicilian characteristics beyond the rectangular dimensions. Continue reading

Wooden Heads Gourmet Pizza, Kingston ON Canada

REVIEW

We enjoyed the combination of prosciutto, rosemary, and roasted garlic, if not the crust.

We enjoyed the combination of prosciutto, rosemary, and roasted garlic, if not the crust.

Continue reading

Pearl Oyster Bar, New York NY

REVIEW

You can eat some of the finest, and most expensive, seafood in the world in New York City, at restaurants like Le Bernardin and Oceana. What interests us more, though, are places like the Pearl Oyster Bar, a casual joint in the same urban spirit as the Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco or the bar at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Continue reading

Waupoos Estates Winery, Picton ON, Canada

REVIEW

This salad garnish to a hamburger was fresh and summery.

This salad garnish to a hamburger was fresh and summery.

Continue reading

Mike’s Deli, Bronx NY

REVIEW

Mike’s Deli is the Italian grocery of our dreams! And it’s barely a grocery at that; mostly, it’s a deli counter, packed literally to the rafters with hanging prosciutti, curing dry sausages, cheeses, oils, imported dried pastas, breads and rolls, jars of pickled vegetables… the sights, sounds, and smells cause sensory overload. Continue reading

Trattoria Mario, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Noccioloni su' Fagioli: bean soup with pasta.  Bean soups with pasta or farro (a type of wheat) frequently appear on Tuscan menus.  The beans in this soup have been pureed to a smooth texture.

Noccioloni su’ Fagioli: bean soup with pasta. Bean soups with pasta or farro (a type of wheat) frequently appear on Tuscan menus. The beans in this soup have been pureed to a smooth texture.

Continue reading

Mike’s Homemade Candies, Cheektowaga NY

REVIEW

Where did the Charlie Chaplin log come from? You can find it in just about every chocolate store in Buffalo, yet nobody we spoke with has a clue about where or how it originated. Sold as a candy log about the shape of a loaf of biscotti before it’s been sliced, Charlie Chaplins wrap chocolate, coconut, and cashews around a soft marshmallow filling (like Rocky Road spiked with coconut). Continue reading

Woody’s Towne Cafe, Allentown NJ

REVIEW

Breakfast out for us has, for years, meant Mastoris Diner in Bordentown. We’ve moved on from Mastoris and now do our morning dining out at Daphne’s of Robbinsville and another choice breakfast spot nearby: Woody’s Towne Cafe in Allentown (that’s the small town in New Jersey, not the city in PA). Continue reading

Trattoria Ponterotto, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Ribollita, the Tuscan cabbage soup thickened with bread

Ribollita, the Tuscan cabbage soup thickened with bread

Continue reading

McPartlan’s Corner, Amherst NY

REVIEW

Western New York often seems to have more in common with the upper Midwest than with downstate New York. For instance, walk into almost any restaurant on a Friday night and, regardless of the sort of food the eatery normally serves, you’ll probably find a dining room filled with people eating fish fry, just like in Wisconsin. Local wisdom says that it’s difficult to find a bad fish fry in the Buffalo area. That might be true, but it’s also true that if you value fresh, not frozen, fish, then there are choices to be made. Continue reading

Wonder Seafood, Edison NJ

REVIEW

We have nothing against modern, chefly dim sum restaurants, any more than we object to fancy-pants chefs’ takes on Italian cuisine, say, or beachside cuisine. We often enjoy the upscale, pricier stuff made from carefully sourced ingredients, artfully plated. But sometimes we want a perfect plate of simple, homey lasagna, or an overflowing basket of fried belly clams with o-rings. Or, more to the matter at hand, old-school dim sum served from rolling carts in a frantic, bustling, hyperventilating weekend morning scene. And there are none in the North Jersey area (and few, for that matter, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, across the river) the equal of Edison’s Wonder Seafood. Continue reading

The Pilot House, Kingston ON Canada

REVIEW

A Pilot House special of sun-dried tomato soup filled with rice - good rainy-day food

A Pilot House special of sun-dried tomato soup filled with rice – good rainy-day food

Continue reading

Manganaro’s Heroboy, New York NY

REVIEW

Decades of lawsuits settled once-and-for-all the long-running feud between the two branches of the family that owned the side-by-side Managanaro’s stores on Ninth Avenue, near Port Authority. This resulted in the closure of the Grosseria a few years back. Hero Boy was the larger, and more modern (and generic) looking store of the two, a cafeteria-style restaurant; no groceries for sale here. Continue reading

Older posts

© 2017 Left at the Fork

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑