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May 13, 2021


Take a new-fashioned diner minus the jukeboxes with the cuisine of a non-kosher kosher deli and you have the nuance of Times Square’s Brooklyn Diner. Although W. 57th Street’s locale is still alive Shelley Fireman has added yet another one of his restaurants so that the lights of Broadway shine on W. 43rd Street.

Fireman’s restaurant Bond 45, just two blocks away, has a completely different menu as Brooklyn Diner is based on the comfort food of what seems to be the yesteryears. Some of the menu items will bring conversation of “my mother/grandmother/I make the best”. That is what I will first point out, starting with Chicken Soup.

The chef probably took lessons from his female ancestor who was either Jewish or lived in a Jewish neighborhood. If not, the $7.95 bowl of chicken soup stands up to it with just the right seasoned stock, egg noodles and chunks of “all natural” chicken.

I’m sorry to say that since I make the best chopped chicken liver, it was “okay”. I use kosher chicken livers, although I’m not sure as to whether it makes a difference. Their cast-iron seared livers are chopped with the usual eggs and Vidalia onions as well as black radishes. The $11.95 dish is served on rye points with a side of schmaltz (chicken fat). What? If you use lard, don’t make a face.

Then there is the Brisket of Beef that is served with lukshen kugel (noodle pudding). Brooklyn Diner’s version uses raisins and a bit of cream. Noodle pudding is high on the list of “who makes the best”. A sweet kugel has fruit (especially raisins) and a little sugar. Always eggs. Mine will raise your cholesterol: eggs, butter and cheese. The crispiness of the pudding (top and sides) relates to the amount of butter.

Now we’re on to a Norwegian Smoked Salmon platter with an abundance of smoked salmon. Needless to say there is the accompanying slices of plum tomatoes, red onions, scoop of cream cheese, lemon, caperberries and bagel at a price of $16.95. Caperberries? Most likely you have seen those small salty capers but these look more like green olives on a stem and less salty.

Under a pile of frizzled onion rings and hand cut shoestring fries sits one great juicy hamburger. The obviously high-grade beef (ground on the premises) is topped with Vermont cheddar cheese, and smokehouse cured bacon, sitting atop a brioche bun. It’s the Cheeseburger Deluxe ($14.95), one of Brooklyn Diner’s signature dishes. No dill pickle here. This one is the sour kind from a barrel.

Bacon? Yes, I said that they are non-kosher. As a matter of fact you can opt for the Maine Lobster Roll ($23.50) having a shelled 1 ¼ pound lobster resting on a split bun with accompanying field greens and shoestring fries. These are chunks of lobster meat and not “lobster salad”.

There is only one way to make a perfect egg cream so if you’re trying it at home, it has to be made with U-bet syrup. Granted the egg cream here is perfect but it’s a bit steep at a price of $4.95. For $5 you can have the Tea Room Rugelach Plate of four rugelach and a cup of tea, or coffee if you so desire. The rugelach is baked on the premises and is a bit moister and softer than many I have eaten. I didn’t see sugar cubes to put between your teeth.

Brooklyn Diner has a 10-seat counter with a $15 minimum per person at tables. It’s quite a busy place so time you’re dining if you are off to a Broadway show. For reservations call 212-265-5400.

February 01, 2007 - Capeway Traveler


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