should not eat

Fratello - Warwick, New York

Fratellos is a brick oven pizza joint located in Warwick, New York.  Through word of mouth we heard that Fratellos has some pretty good food especially the pizza.  Since we were looking to try a new restaurant we decided to see what they had to offer.

The Menu:

Fratellos menu consisted of exactly the type of food you would expect from a brick oven pizza/Italian restaurant. There was a large selection of appetizers such as baked clams, steamed mussels and fried calamari. They also offer a variety of salads.  Fratellos dinner menu is even larger, offering multiple dishes featuring chicken, fish and pasta. Everything on the menu sounded good but we came for the pizza and there are plenty to choose from. Fratellos has twenty-five different pizzas on the menu. They evem have some pretty unique pizzas like the Fresh Pear & Gorganzola Pizza.  It is topped with fresh sliced pears & tangy Wisconsin gorgonzola on a hearth baked crust with thinly sliced prosciutto & flame roasted walnuts.  We were not feeling that adventurous but we decided to order a few things.

What We Ate:

Honey Pecan Wings:

Pizza a la Vodka: Creamy vodka sauce topped with applewood smoked bacon & homemade mozzarella.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza: Fresh mozzarella & spicy buffalo chicken

We started our meal off with the Honey Pecan Wings.  It turns out they were actually Honey BBQ Pecan Wings, which was different than what we thought we ordered.  We are not sure if we just read the menu wrong or if it really did say Honey Pecan Wings. In any case, there were wings on the table and we were hungry. The first thing you will notice about the wings is that they are drowning in a very thick sauce.  These wings should have been covered in half as much sauce and even then that may have been too much. The sauce was your classic honey bbq sauce, with a sweet but smoky flavor.  It tasted good and mixed well together with the pecans. The wings were cooked perfectly and despite being soaked in sauce still retained the perfect crisp necessary to be a tasty wing.  The wings were also a good size.  Thesy would have been very good if not for the excess amount of sauce. 

For dinner we ordered two types of pizza. The first pie we got was the Pizza a la Vodka. We thought this sounded pretty good, but we were let down. The pizza was cooked nicely in the brick oven forming a tasty crust. The pizza looked great but once we took our first bite, we knew we were not going to be thrilled with this pie. The vodka sauce did not taste very much like vodka sauce. It actually tasted more like a regular tomato sauce. The other issue we had was the usage of bacon. We want to make one thing clear, we love bacon.  We come from the school of thought that bacon makes everything better (well almost).

Our problem in this case however was that we didn't order a bacon pizza, we ordered a Pizza a la vodka. We were served a Pizza a la Vodka but it tasted like a bacon pizza. This is because there was a generous amount of bacon on our pizza. Bacon is a very strong ingredient and if not used properly it can take over an entire dish with its deliciously smoky flavor. Unfortunately for us this is exactly what happened, the bacon invaded our taste buds and that was all we could taste.  In our opinion the Pizza a la Vodka would have worked better if it had been topped with chicken instead of bacon.

The second pizza we ordered was the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. This pizza looked awesome, so it was even more depressing when we grabbed the first slice. You can't see from the angle of our picture but the entire pie was not cooked.  On the outside it looked done, but the inside was still doughy and soft. We ate one slice and that was all. The chicken was cooked well and the pie had good flavor thanks to the buffalo hot sauce. It was not busy in the restaurant so for the pizza to be this under cooked was very surprising.  The pizza had plenty of potential but fell short due to execution. 

Should Or Should Not Eat: 

Fratellos has a good reputation and perhaps we caught them on a bad night but for us they are a Should Not Eat.  The food was just ok and being served under cooked pizza really ruined our meal.  Fratellos does have potential but they may need to take another look at their recipes and make some slight adjustments.  We will not be going back anytime soon though.

Restaurant Information:

Fratello

Warwick, NY: 22 Spring Street  > 845.986.7898

Website: www.fratellobrickoven.com/

Fratellos on Urbanspoon

Big D's Grub Truck - Manhattan, New York


The food truck phenomenon is on the rise in every major city across the United States and New York is no different.  Everyday there seems to be a new truck lining the streets. These trucks are not selling the greasy, dirty food you may be picturing.  Instead many of them are selling restaurant quality food out of these mobile kitchens. They are offering a wide variety of cuisine from local favorites to food from half way around the world. The key to food trucks is you knowing where they are going to be.  Many of these trucks have a set location or connect with users on Facebook or Twitter to relay their spot for the day.  Sometimes these trucks are even being given thier own parking areas, as is the case with the World Financial Center Food Truck Court. Located outside 4 World Financial Center on North End Avenue at Vesey Street you will find this "Food Court".  Here truck vendors park Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They even have a rotating schedule of trucks to help provide variety throughout the week check out the schedule here.

We realized on our visit to Battery Place Market (click here for our review) that we were right neat the Food Truck Court so we had to check it out. It was an overcast day with a little chill in the air but we were ready to eat some street food. The first truck we noticed was Big D's Grub Truck and decided right then that we were going to eat.

The Menu: 

Big D's Grub Truck is creating fusion dished inspired by owner Big D's family gatherings. They are mixing dishes from Guyana, the American South and China. The menu features both tacos and grinders offering four different styles to choose from. They have Bulgoi (beef), Spicy Pork, Ginger Chicken and Spicy Chicken. They are also making three side items including Pork & Chive Dumplings, Yuca Fries and Seasoned Fries.

What We Ate:

Ginger Chicken: tender chicken mixed with ginger sauce, served with fresh chopped cilantro.

Spicy Chicken: tender chicken mixed with spicy mayo, served with fresh chopped cilantro.

 

Yuca Fries & Old Bay Seasoned Fries:

Our sandwiches reminded us of the Vietnamese classic Banh Mi sandwich. A Bahn Mi usually includes some type of meat or soy topped with cucumber slices, cilantro and pickled carrots and daikon in shredded form.  We started with the Spicy Chicken and the first thing we noticed was that there was no spice. We thought we had opened the Ginger Chicken by mistake, but we didn't.  The Spicy Chicken had no heat whatsoever, not even a hint of heat somewhere deep in the sandwich. It was a huge let down. The rest of the sandwich was just ok. The bread looked like a nice French baguette, but it lacked the crisp crust is should have. The vegetables didn't help add anything to the sandwiches either. Our Ginger Chicken was not much better, it tasted almost exactly the same as the Spicy Chicken. It had a bit more sweetness to it but was still not very good.

The Old Bay Seasoned French Fries were just your basic crinkle cut fry topped with Old Bay Seasoning.  They were crispy but even with the Old Bay they were lacking flavor.  Our Yuca fries were even worse because they had no seasoning at all. The menu said that both the fries and Yuca come with Big D's secret sauce for dipping, but we didn't find any in our bag.  Maybe this sauce would have given them the flavor they lacked but we doubt it.

Should Or Should Not Eat:

With Big D's food providing little seasoning and even less flavor it is a Should Not Eat.  Not all food trucks are created equal and we will be avoiding Big D's in the future.

Restaurant Information:

Big D's Grub Truck

Multiple locations, checkout website for location updates

Website: bigdsgrub.com

Big D's Grub Truck on Urbanspoon

Yard House - Yonkers, New York

 

We had a birthday dinner to go to tonight for two of our good friends. With a bunch of us getting together we decided to go try the Yard House in Yonkers New York. Yard House features a large menu of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and house favorites. On top of that they also feature one of the largest selections of beers on tap you will find at any restaurant. They have 100+ local and imported beers at any given time. It seemed like just the place to celebrate some birthdays.

What We Ate:

Unfortunately due to some camera and lighting issues we were not able to document the appetizer portion of our meal.  We did however order the following:

Chicken Nachos - spicy pinto beans, cheddar, jack, red and green sauce, tomato, cilantro, onions, guacamole and sour cream

Spinach Cheese Dip - baked with feta, jack, parmesan & cream cheese served with crispy flatbread

Fried Calamari - with spicy tomato and tartar sauce

Cuban Roast Pork Dip - pepper jack, pickles, roasted roma tomatoes, dijon & garlic aïoli on garlic french bread with bbq au jus

Carnitas Street Taco - roast pork with grilled onions, pico de gallo, guacamole and pineapple

Margherita Pizza - roasted roma tomatoes, roasted garlic, mozzarella and fresh basil with Extra Cheese

The atmosphere in the restaurant was nice. The decor was modern and had a warm feeling.  The lighting was low but not too dark. There were a ton of TV's playing sports, but they were not distracting. The staff was nice and provided us with enough space to enjoy our meal while also keeping our glasses full. 

It felt like an upscale version of a Chili's or T.G.I Fridays style chain restaurant, more on par with the Cheesecake Factory. The menu had plenty of options but it was hard to choose just one item to eat.  We decided to get some appetizers. The chicken nachos were a big let down. There was almost no chicken on our nachos and the chips were drowned in a bland salsa and covered in cheese. This was your classic chain appetizer, nothing fresh or amazing about it. You ate it because it was there but it could have been so much better.

We also ordered Spinach Cheese Dip.  This featured a healthy portion of spinach mixed with four different cheese's served with flat bread chips. The chips went nicely with the dip giving you the perfect vehicle to get the dip into your mouth. The dip was tasty but was a bit salty. As with the nachos this dip was nothing special but it was not bad. The dip was followed up by some fried calamari.  We enjoy calamari, but it is hard to do correctly.  Yard house did it's best to make it right, they did reasonably well for a chain restaurant.  The calamari was not chewy and had good seasoning, they were not bad.  The common theme with all of our appetizers was that they were nothing special. 

It took awhile to decide on our maincourse so we ordered a few thing.  The first thing we decided on was the Cuban Roast Pork Dip.  Having lived in Miami for two years we know a thing or two about Cuban sandwiches, but lets be clear this should not be called a Cuban. While Yard House uses some of the same ingredient as a classic Cuban they have also added their own twist which ruins what makes a Cuban so good.  

We were not a fan of the roasted tomatoes. The pork was extremely salty and the BBQ au jus was not worth the dip.  We were disappointed in the sandwich and wish we could go back in time to change our order.  Where is Doc Brown when you need him?  We did however get Truffle French Fries with this Sandwich that were good, really good.

The fries were cut very thin and cooked to the perfect level of crispness. They had the right amount of salt and then seasoned with shredded parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.  We could not stop eating these fries and they gave us a ton of them. These fires were so good they could have been a meal on their own.  We would certainly go back for these fries.

We also decided to try one of Yard House's Street Tacos.  If your a regular of the blog you could probably guess that we would get the pork taco.  That is exactly what we got, it was a carnitas taco with grilled onions, pico de gallo, guacamole and pineapple.  We knew this was not going to be the best taco, but it was much better than our Cuban. The pork was roasted and juicy. The pico de galllo had little flavor and the pineapple took over as the main flavor in the dish.  They did not put any guacamole on the taco which was missed. The tortilla also had little flavor, but when everything was mixed together it was a nice snack.

Lastly we ordered the Margherita pizza. This pizza was so bad, we only ate two little pieces of it. The pizza looks much better than it tasted.  If you look at the picture you would think it has some potential and could be good, trust us it was not. There was too cheese and no sauce whatsoever. Yard House decided to get too cute with their take on a Margherita pizza (click here to see how it should be made). They thought adding Roma tomatoes would be enough for this pizza and skipped the sauce. The crust of the pizza tasted like cardboard, it was very dry. Dry crust combined with no sauce is the recipe for a bad pizza. There is not much more we can say except do not ever order the pizza at Yard House.

Along with mediocre food at best, the prices are very expensive at Yard House.

Should Or Should Not Eat:

Yard House made nothing that impressed us except the Truffle Fries.  They get a very clear Should Not Eat from us.  However if your looking for a place to get a huge selection of beers on tap Yard House is a Should Drink. If you do happen to go drinking here and get hungry stick to the Truffle Fries, the only thing we had that we will highly recommend. 

Restaurant Information:

Yard House

Yonkers, NY: 237 Market Street > 914.375.9237

Website: www.yardhouse.com

Yard House on Urbanspoon

Five Guys - Middletown, New York

 

We are going to break some hearts today with our review of Five Guys.  We have heard a lot of hype about how good Five Guys is, so we had to go check it out. They just opened a new location in Middletown, New York so we stopped by for lunch.

Five Guys opened it's first location in Arlington, Virginia in 1986 and since then they began to spread around the country and by 2003 they were in 46 states and 6 Canadian provinces.  Their secret so to speak is serving only hand-formed burgers cooked to perfection on a grill along with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil. 

The Menu:

If you have never been to a Five Guys there are some things about the menu you need to know. The first thing is that the normal Five Guys burger comes with 2 burger patties.  If you are only looking to order a single patty you need to order a Little Burger.  You have the options of ordering a plain burger, cheeseburger, bacon burger and a bacon cheeseburger.  

They also offer a plain hot dog, a cheese dog, a bacon dog and a bacon cheese dog.  If you are not in the mood for meat you can order a veggie sandwich, a cheese veggie sandwich or a grilled cheese.

For all of your meals you have the option of adding any toppings you would like for free.  These topping include mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A-1 sauce, BBQ sauce, or hot sauce.

After you navigate the menu and figure out what you want you then need to decide if you want any of Five Guys hand cut French Fries.  You can order these plain or Cajun Style.  They come in two sizes regular and large.

What We Ate:

Peanuts:

French Fries:


Little Bacon Cheeseburger: with tomato, jalapeno, hot sauce and ketchup

Kosher Style Hot Dog: with mustard and ketchup

You are probably wondering what is with the peanuts.  Well Five Guys has big containers full of peanuts for anyone to take while they wait for their orders to be made.  Since everything is made fresh it can take a few minutes to get your food when the place is busy.  We went in at lunch time and the place was packed so the peanuts came in handy and they were good.

We ordered regular size fries, but you would think we got a large.  The nice thing about Five Guys is they give you an order of fries and them top you off with even more.  A regular order is more than enough for 2 people. We have had the Cajun fries and they are pretty good also with a nice amount of spice.

The fries are fresh hand cut potatoes with the skin left on. We actually were not a big fan of these fries. They were under cooked for our taste and greasy.  It may have been due to the amount of people ordering, but the fries should have been cooked longer to get a nice crisp. They also were not seasoned at all.  We are not a huge fan of this type of fry to begin with so we may be a bit biased.  People who like these types of fries have sad they Five Guys makes them well.

As for the burger the first thing you will notice is that it is not visually appealing. Even when eating in the restaurant the burgers are served wrapped in foil. As a result the burger is kind of mashed together. The toppings were all fresh and really helped to improve the burger. The burger patty was very greasy, but it had good flavor.  It reminded us of a Wendy's hamburger.  After a few bites we started to feel sick from all of the grease.  After finishing the burger we did not feel good at all.

Like the burger, the hot dog was not very visually appealing. It was grilled on the flat top and actually had good flavor.  Topped with ketchup and mustard we were pretty happy with the taste of this dog.  We would definitely order this again.  

After eating we did not feel good at all.  The burger was just sitting in our stomach and our bodies were not happy. There was just too much grease in the burger.

Should Or Should Not Eat:

We are sorry to do this but Five Guys gets a Should Not Eat from us.  We were overall just disappointed by our meal.  The Five Guys hype machine is on over drive claiming to have the best burger and best fries all around the country but we disagree whole heartedly. The burgers are your classic fast food burgers grease included, but for double or triple the price. There was nothing special about the burger, except the ability to choose all of your toppings which were very fresh.  The hot dog was tasty and if we were to go back to Five Guys for anything it would be for the Hot Dog.  The fries were mediocre, not the best we have ever had but not the worst.  They do however give you a ton of fries which is a nice touch for the price.  

Five Guys in our opinion is a glorified fast food joint without a drive thru. This is no where close to the best burger we have ever had so we suggest being a bit skeptical if someone tells you Five Guys has the best burger.  Feel free to try it for yourself but we warned you.

Restaurant Information:

Five Guys

Middletown, NY: 469 East Route 211 > 851.341.0350

Website: www.fiveguys.com

Five Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon