The Ravens Club has one of the most extensive whiskey selections in Michigan. It also makes its own bitters, which add a personal touch to the time-honored, like the Old Fashioned. This “Original Hand Pulled” version is our Cocktail Hour’s featured drink.
President Obama recently enjoyed a reuben at this deli in Ann Arbor, so you know it is good. But good is an understatement. This joint is like Disney World for foodies. Really, the only thing that is difficult about being inside its hallowed walls is deciding what to order.
Rating: Outstanding. This is a place you fly to Detroit Metropolitan Airport for. Even the free pickle–your choice of garlic-cured or crunchy-cucumber–is a cut above. Perhaps more important, in today’s dark day of murky, misleading food and nutrition labeling, Zingerman’s proudly states the farms where all of its meat, cheese, and produce come from.
Dish Tips: It would be an impossible task to eat your way through the whole menu–which, when laid out on its website–is sixteen pages, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll like anything you order here. A friend of ours recommends the renowned beef, pastrami, and corned beef sandwiches in particular. Well, there are 23 to choose from, so perhaps start there. End with the fabulous house-made gelato (yes, Zingerman’s doubles as a creamery). We like ginger and maple pecan.
Good For: A food orgasm.
Angelo’s is more than just an Ann Arbor staple–it’s a piece of history, too. Lines have been forming around Catherine Street since 1953, when Angelo Vangelatos and his wife, Patricia, opened the diner.
Grade: Recommended. Sit in a booth and watch time stand still while you enjoy the surprisingly diverse menu offerings.
Dish Tips: Anything involving the house-baked bread, particularly the French Toast (we recommend the raisin variety), or the Special Breakfast, which also includes three eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham.
Good For: Breakfast!
Sidetrack’s burger has been rated among the “top 20 burgers” in the nation by GQ Magazine, but this old-school bar and grill is more than just a pair of nice-lookin’ buns. Take, for instance, the wonderful selection of beers on draft or by the bottle, or the dangerously addictive fried pickles, which are better than any we’ve had in New York City. If you are looking outside the menu, take one look at the view, which may include several oncoming trains which seem to nearly be coming your way during various points of the meal.
Grade: Recommended. While the burger we sampled wasn’t among the handful of ones we’d need to eat before we died, it was solid and atypical, particularly with the requested pretzel bun. Even better, however, is the old-school, home-town ambiance and the fantastic beer list and drink specials.
Dish Tips: The original handcrafted cheeseburger, beer battered pickles, sweet potato fries (add the garlic and horseradish, and you’re in for a real treat).
Good For: Groups! A beer and a burger or simply a casual dinner. In warmer weather, diners can take in the unusual view on the patio.
It’s finally spring, but that doesn’t mean you should forego Pok Pok’s Hot Toddy, which is smooth and comforting in any weather. Dangerously addictive, this medicinal libation can also be found at the Whiskey Soda Lounge next door.
Every Monday and Tuesday, Red Gravy hosts Pasta Night, where those glorious hand-pulled noodles are $15 a pop and happy hour drink specials go on till the doors close. We couldn’t decide what to eat, so we ordered everything on the menu.
Dish Tips: Pasta Night is every Monday and Tuesday, but Red Gravy changes their menu often. Head over before the campanelle and maccheroncini are out the door. The orecchiette, fortunately, is a mainstay at 151 Atlantic Avenue.
There’s only one kind of burger at Greenpoint’s Anella, and it’s phenomenal. Spare to the point of elegance, this is all about the meat (a mix of short rib and brisket!). The only thing you need to add to this baby is the bacon jam (why wouldn’t you?), which might be the best two dollars you spend all day. Did we mention the patty is a mix of short rib and brisket?
Rating: 9.5. This burger gives fellow Brooklynite, Diner, some serious competition. The fries–the best we’ve had outside of Five Leaves–certainly don’t hurt. Neither does the aforementioned bacon jam, or the garlicky, whipped gribiche (if ketchup isn’t your thing) that arrives with them.
Hidden inside “Lewis Drug Store” is a prescription for pure bliss: the Sicilian Old Fashioned from Locanda Vini e Olii.
One of the perks of teaching in Staten Island is the pizza, and Brother’s Pizzeria on Port Richmond Avenue is our favorite parlor in town. One of the reasons why is its old-school charm. Another is the ability to get positively pie-happy by mixing and matching slices as diverse as a gooey, thick Sicilian with a thin and crispy Grandma. If that isn’t reason enough to eschew the no-slices offering at nearby Denino’s (a legend in its own right), there’s also the tattooed, back-slapping brothers behind the counter who might even tell you a joke while your pizza bakes in the oven.
Grade: Highly recommended, especially if you are with a group and want some variety. Nearby rival Denino’s only offers pizza by the pie.
Dish Tips: You can’t come here and not order a pink vodka slice, but stay for the others, particularly the Grandma and the Sicilian. If you’re hankering for the sandwich, the Chicken Parmigiana is out of this world.
Good For: A casual lunch or dinner. Brother’s is no-frills, but it is also cash-only. Bring those bills.
We’ve reviewed Yerba Buena Perry; we’ve also showcased its extraordinary dishes multiple times on our The Best Thing I Ate Last Week, but this West Village hangout has got some lethal cocktails, too. This week we feature the Cholula.