For a Real Taste of Brooklyn

After reading the garbage of 36 Hours in Brooklyn in the NYT, I had to post this much better story about a real place and a real guy.

Sam’s and Louis.

This place is great. The real deal. Food is alright. Pizza is better than the pasta. Louis is a character. More full of ironic hipsters these days. Go. Keep the place going.

SteveR - are you a regular here?


Ahahahaha. But how did you enjoy the play, Mr. Lincoln?

Besides that one pizza place, what are your other recommendations for 36 hours in Brooklyn?

I thought this would be a great place for you to share that

ETA: I had a really nice dinner here with friends a couple of years ago. Dunno if it’s still good. Nice, low-key neighborhood place.


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The NYT does the 36 hours story on different places regularly.

It’s not particularly insightful for any of the places they choose, or what any traveler would actually base an itinerary on :joy:

Maybe a quick scan for an overview of what’s “trendy” at the moment, and then on to more useful research.

I loved the story you linked as well, was reminded of @vinouspleasure’s post a while back about the place.

While I’m not in the least offended by your opinion on an article I shared earlier as “garbage,” I would never get away with referring to a member’s share as such :face_with_peeking_eye:

That said, I’m still curious about your suggestions for visitors on how to spend the rest of their 34.5 hours, after having sampled the (no doubt amazing) pizza.

I know this place - its in my neighborhood and looks good and is very popular but the main dish prices (and I cant believe they have come down since then) deterred us from checking it out. glad you had a good meal there.


We shared everything between the six of us. I vividly remember the mussels, which were some of the best I’ve had.

It really wasn’t terrible for the city TBH.

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its just that in the end of the day a hunk of protein is a hunk of protein. To me it has to be special in some way to justify say $35 or 40 for a pork chop or half a chicken. If I go to Hainan Chicken House (say) it will be special at less than half that price…Maybe the garnishes and saucing are good enough to get me over that thought barrier.

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Oh, I hear ya, but as I said I thought these prices were rather common for the city — certainly for ‘New American’ or whatever this kind of cookery goes by these days.

Of course, any meal in Chinatown will be a much better deal.

they are certainly common but different things make high prices worth it for different people. Since I cook and there are great fish markets, butcher shops, farmers markets, bakeries and wine stores in Brooklyn there is a lot less incentive to eat at a place that cooks food that I could cook at home (or at least in the range of same). And wine prices at a multiple of retail are also a deterrent. Now abroad, or when travelling, thats a different matter.

Sorry for the tardy response. I have this pesky thing called a job and clients that I have to occassionally respond to. Going to the office 5 days a week puts a crimp on the alternative to reality life.

I didn’t read your link. I live here and subscribe to the no longer New York - Times (I think the whole paper has gone downhill and is much more slanted but that’s for another forum) and read the story when it first posted last Friday or so. Its not an itinerary. More a random posting of things all over the borough. I can’t imagine why anyone would look to spend a weekend running all over trying to replicate that schedule. You would spend most of your time in cars on on transit.

What’s wrong with Dumbo? Lots of people live there. I used to. There’s great things away from the end of Washington where all the effen tourists show up for their selfies if you actually knew the borough. I remember when the streets were deserted at night and we would hang out at Superfine. It still there and the owner’s name which I can’t remember is still there. She’s older and so am I but what a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon with live music. Funky atmosphere. Solid food and drinks and still reasonably priced and very few tourists to be seen. One of the best Vietnamese restaurants is there too, Em. I normally think pho is over-rated soup but here its worthwhile. If you want a bit higher end, Vinegar Hill House has been there for I think nearly 20 years still serving great food. I won’t go into any of the pizza places that already are swamped. I would rather go to up the hill to all the pizza places on Atlantic. I will still claim credit for the first on line review of Julianna’s as we walked in the first week they opened and spent time talking with Patsy’s wife telling her how much we had missed the old place.

In the Heights there is a great Sardinian restaurant that you wouldn’t know from the name, River Deli. Cash only. But cheap. Just down the street is Clover Hill. It opened during Covid. Used to be $95 prix fixe at the start. Then it got a Michelin star. Now its $250. At $95 it was a massive win. At $250, I will skip it. 10 minutes further walk south one of the best neighborhood Japanese places around Hibino. Hinata was such a great friend. So sad when she and her boyfriend sushi chef left for Erie. But Ken and company still treat us well. Another tiny cash only Italian spot, Lillo is next door. The menu is whatever the chef decided to make that day.

On the ride down to Red Hook, one of the best casual Mexican places, Alma is worth a stop. Great rooftop with views over the harbor. Just down the road is Cafe Spaghetti. Everyone should have a neighborhood place like this.

Many of the Italian stores and bakeries have gone, but Court Street Bakery makes these huge biscotti. Get a bag to go. At Christmas time the old timers who moved away all come back for cookies.

I mentioned DeFonte and Hometown in Red Hook already on the other thread. Also check the food trucks around the soccer fields. I don’t know how a story that is focused on eating while standing up and goes to Red Hook doesn’t mention them. The old CH has tons of posts about the trucks.

Along Gowanus, there is Claro for high end Mexican that used to have a Michelin star that I think is a bargain at the price. On the same block Cafe Mars. Up towards the park, Haenyeo - Korean food for white people. Insa if you want karaoke with your Korean food. Lots of fun for a group. Ai Di La which isn’t particuarly news. There are two outposts of Sushi Lin which makes a great sushi platter for an amazing price. Daigo Handroll is also a bargain. Go to the spot on 4th, not the one in DeKalb Market.

How’s that? And I haven’t even got to the other side of the park. I will save those for another time.

Got to get back to work.


Wow, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day and providing such an elaborate response! Full disclosure: I didn’t read the article at all, but I believe I mentioned that in my OP.

I hope I didn’t sound like I was rushing you, as that was certainly not my intention. I’m sure many folks will find your input incredibly helpful.

Yup. I tend to go out for foods that I either don’t have the patience, equipment, skills or ingredients to prepare myself.

Btw I was just thinking of your Berlin questions re: parks & greenery when we were sitting in one of our favorite beer gardens a couple nights ago. It truly is serene at Schönbrunn, which is surrounded by the gorgeous Volkspark Friedrichshain.

Have you dove in any further into your trip planning?

thanks for asking - We finally decided to stay in Charlottenberg, near several possible dining locations including georgian (two very close to our apt) , lots of asian and Adana Grill within walking distance,as well as Restaurant Marjellchen for regional cooking. Problem is, our usual travel MO is to eat our big meal at lunchtime rather than dinner and I suspect we will be visiting museums mostly on Museuminsel on several days so Im still trying to develop some convenient targets for when we are in that area. Not interested in pork knuckle or other bavarian chow, weve had a good samping of that on several visits to Munich. Im still looking at your other posts to see what pops out.

We will be spending Sunday and maybe Saturday night with daughter and her husband - she will be in from Bonn for a conference at the Free University - i suspect that what they want to do and where they want to do will drive that experience - annd he is a serious eater- but it looks like the Thai Park might be a good place for us to drop in during their visit. Althoug I read somewhere recently it may have changed location somewhat?
Woud be glad of any further thoughts on what might be interesting - maybe you could respond on the Rest of Europe? my operations on this site are still clumsy!

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I don’t want to hijack this thread, so I will think of some recs & either send you a PM or post them in my Berlin post :slight_smile:

Also, your daughter lives in Bonn? That’s my hometown :blush:

thanks! probably be more useful to others if the content goes up on the board rather than in a DM?

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I have never been a regular at Sam’s but have eaten there, on & off, since his father was there. I’ve always thought the food to be good enough, but the draw is really the old time look & feel of the place. Louis has come a long way & seems to have made his peace with running the long time family business. Just try not to catch him on a day when he’s not happy. There used to be a lot of competition with this sort of place all along Court St and other less trafficked streets (ie; Henry St). Now it stands out more.

probably my damn memory, but I can’t think of any place except ninos, which was great, that was on court or henry. what are you thinking of?

I recall having to wait for a table in the 80s but over the last 5 years or so, we were often the only people there and thought he might close. there are all these faux old NYC places, it seems to me it’s one of the last authentic NYC pizza joints still making good pizza and as I said in the pizza thread, he’s making pizza as it was made when his father was running the joint 50 years ago.

anyhow, nice to see him get some good press and traffic.

Helen’s was on Court. So was Cafe Carciofo (Tony, from Noodle Pudding, was an original partner there, after he closed Tirami Su, directly across from the movie theater). I’m struggling to remember the names of 1 or 2 others that were more like Sam’s. Then, not exactly where I said, were Red Rose on Smith, Cristardi’s off Henry &, of course, Queen on the Bklyn Hts side of Atlantic on Court.
Queen was originally a block over, where the big movie theater was recently & had a freestanding pizza place next door that got awards (& where Dom worked before opening DiFara). Red Rose had fried pasta alongside a long red sauce menu. Cristardi would serve free big roasted garlic cloves alongside my favorite pizza. Helen’s was more of a home kitchen. Of course, Marco Polo was there then &, as you said, Nino’s.