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Archive for the tag 'businesses'

noodles

Lemon Grass Beef Rice Vermicelli

The latest eatery on 86th Street, Pho & Co, opened at the beginning of September. As promised when we wrote about it back in July, we stopped by for a bite.

The restaurant describes itself as a destination for “Vietnamese street food.” That kind of had me hoping for some extraordinary, exotic treats – like this rather grotesque squab porridge. But it turns out the menu is a slimmed down, somewhat Americanized version of what you’d find at other area Vietnamese restaurants – soups (pho), sandwiches (bahn mi), and meat-over-vermicelli dishes.

While some might consider a more limited menu to be a handicap, it’s actually quite liberating to not have to look over a hundred or so options and, in a spasm of indecision, order the same darn pho you always get. Here, you come specifically for the soups, sandwiches and noodles – no distractions.

One neat thing I noticed about the menu right away is several options of summer roll. Most Vietnamese restaurants serve these with shrimp only. The shrimp is steamed, chilled, and packed into a rice wrap with vermicelli, scallions and other veggies. At Pho & Co, other options include grilled chicken, B-B-Q pork, soft shell crab and tofu.

I went for the soft shell crab, but was disappointed to learn they were out. So I settled on the B-B-Q pork ($3.95). Once you choose traif, you don’t go back, pal.

summer-roll

B-B-Q Pork Summer Roll

Minutes passed, and the B-B-Q Pork Summer Rolls arrived. Having only had shrimp summer rolls, which are cold, I was surprised when the rolls came packing in hot meat. The pork was flavorful, if a bit charred, and neatly accentuated by bits of mint rolled into the vermicelli and lettuce. The accompanying peanut dipping sauce was much saltier than I’ve had at other places, but not overwhelmingly so.

I was struck by the relative sloppiness of the wrap itself. It was done a little too long and couldn’t support its own weight, and the wrinkled folds suggest someone who’s just getting the hang of it.

Since I was there on a hot day, I declined the pho and went for the Lemon Grass Beef Rice Vermicelli ($6.50) for my entree. The short version? The beef was dry and flavorless, the noodles clumpy and unevenly cooked, and they forgot the accompanying sauce (a heavenly concoction of sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice). The pickled carrots and cabbage that came with it were pretty spectacular, though.

So with an amateur’s hand putting together the summer roll, and lemon grass beef that had little hint of lemon grass, you’d think this an unkind review, right?

Wrong. I’m actually looking forward to Pho & Co upping its game because they have everything else they need to succeed. The staff was young, energetic, friendly and incredibly helpful. They were well aware they were just starting out, and no less than three people came by my table to ask for suggestions, feedback and recommendations – two of them more than once.

What they lack in experience, they make up for in drive, and I have faith that they’ll take that feedback and put it to use. It’s true, they need to work out the kinks in the kitchen, but they’re eager to learn – and I’ve seen restaurants achieve far more with a lot less than that.

As for me, I’ll be back in a month or two to try that soft shell crab summer roll. Because where else in Bensonhurst can you get that?

Pho & Co Vietnamese Street Food, 1927 86th Street, (718) 946-8686. 

Is there a restaurant or specific dish you think we should check out? Let us know!

bensonvape

Bensonvape, a “premium vapor lounge,” will soon open at 2081 86th Street.

The business will specialize in selling “vaping” products, an expansion of e-cigarettes that turn flavored nicotine into vapor (nicotine-free versions are available). Proponents claim it’s a healthier alternative to cigarettes, and a large hobbyist community has formed around it with many stores recently opening around New York City.

The owners already maintains an active Facebook page, but has not yet announced an opening date.

It replaces Last Chance, a woman’s shoe store that closed several months ago.

Good luck to our new neighbors!

86superstar

“For rent” signs have been posted at 86 SuperStar at 2172 86th Street, less than a year after the restaurant rebranded and renovated.

It was back in December 2013 that we told you Hottest 86 had reopened as 86 SuperStar, selling all-you-can-eat sushi and shabu shabu (hot pot).

It’s a bit surprising to see it closed down, as we stopped by after the reopening to give the shabu shabu a shot. The place was packed and the staff friendly and helpful, especially in dealing with a table of hot pot novices. But competition on 86th Street is stiff, and it looks like SuperStar couldn’t cut it.

Sad to see you go, and best of luck to the owners on their future endeavors.

Photo by William P.

Photo by William P.

It looks like Aqua Blu Supper Club, an Italian restaurant at 152 Highlawn Avenue, is closed for good.

According to tipster William P., it shut its doors at the end of July and hasn’t reopened. “For rent” signs went up shortly afterwards.

The Italian restaurant sat on a rather sleepy block, adjacent to the N train subway station. The business opened up about two years ago, selling brick oven pizza and Italian fare.

The owner said goodbye on Facebook:

We wish the owner luck on their future endeavors!

pio-pio-1

Pio Pio, a family-owned chain of Peruvian eateries, brings new flavors to the neighborhood after opening a location at 282 Kings Highway.

This news is a bit late: it appears they opened at the end of May. But we only just found out, and as fans of Peruvian cooking we had to share.

It’s the first Brooklyn location, which has eight other outposts in all the boroughs except Staten Island. It grew out of the Peruvian community in Rego Park, Queens, in 1994 as a simple pollo a la brasa joint (don’t know what that is? Only the most amazing rotisserie chicken you’ll ever taste), but now offers a wide range of dishes included ceviches and staples like aji de gallina.

Pio Pio is among the city’s best known Peruvian eateries, and in just a few months the local spot has racked up some rave reviews on Yelp (four stars and 38 reviews).

We’re going to have to get over there for a bite, but until then, if you’ve been there share your experience in the comments!

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ENTER THE RAFFLE FOR FREE TUITION NOW!

Elite Academy of Science and Technology, 2115 Benson Avenue, (718) 373-0960.

The above is a paid announcement by the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue). Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

lutzina2

Source: Lutzina

Lutzina Bar & Lounge, a posh new hookah lounge, karaoke bar, and dining venue is celebrating its one-month anniversary in Bath Beach this week.

Nesting at 2031 Bath Avenue, the lounge resembles a classy, contemporary page out of a Martha Stewart Home and Garden catalog.

Stepping in, you feel as though you’ve been whisked straight out of Bensonhurst. The pale-white ceiling above the bar resembles a cracked hard-boiled egg. The faux diamond chandeliers revive a 1920s speakeasy. The elegant white lilacs at the bar seal this entirely bizarre package with a bow and question where Lutzina came from and how long it’s planning to stay.

It sticks out in Bath Beach like a sore thumb. It’s an anomaly. It doesn’t fit in.

But that’s also part of its charm.

Continue Reading »

delicious-3

Owner Nick Abuwali and assistant chef Ameer Obeid.

After 20 years working for others, Nick Abulawi decided it was time to set off on his own. So he opened Sooo Delicious Food Court at 1801 Bath Avenue, serving a wide range of American and ethnic foods that he says reflect the neighborhood around it.

“The opportunity was available and the area has a wonderful mixed population that could use some variety of food, so we’re serving everything from Italian to Mediterrenean to different ethnic foods,” said Abulawi, as he pushed a third plate of samples across the table

The food court’s range is huge, with a couple of dozen hot items in addition to a fully stocked sandwich, panini and salad station, soup line, frozen yogurt dispensers and sumptuous looking chickens slowly turning on spits.

See more photos, and learn about the food and the restaurant’s goals.

lutzina

Will Bath Avenue be the new place to go for some after work drinks?

Lutzina Bar & Lounge hopes so. The watering hole opened at 2031 Bath Avenue in July, promising drinks, music, dance and food. The place has a full lunch and dinner menu, as well as hookah.

We’ll be sure to check in there soon and let you know how it is. Because $3 beers.

Until then, good luck, Lutzina!

g-a-jewelers

Signs say G & A Jewelers, which has been at 6923 18th Avenue for at least 15 years, will be moving up the block to a new storefront.

They should be open at 6713 18th Avenue beginning September 1. The address appears to be the old location of Zena’s Shoes, next to Gamestop.

The announcement comes after news that the three-story building sold for $1.98 million in May. The owner at the time said he plans to renovate the property from top to bottom, splitting the ground-floor retail space into two units and adding medical and dental offices on the second and third floors.

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