I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. III.
The mission of the day was to hit one of my now-favorite diners in Brooklyn: Diner. I initially saw this place on one of Bourdain’s shows, and from the first moment I saw this new-school interpretation of the traditional greasy spoon, I knew I had to chow down there. I’m not appropriately acquainted with the true history of Diner, but you can tell this place has stories to tell in its architecture; the floors look old, real old, the entryway is just a tiny little door – hardly even a logo on its facade. Inside, Diner feels like a mini-metallic hanger, you feel the commonalities with your average diner, only you feel a different air about the place: interesting looking kids run the place, with the same sort populating the tables and barstools.
This was the first introduction for each of us at Diner, and initially, when I saw the menu I was a little worried that I picked the wrong Diner; it had very simple selections with hardly a description: “sandwich,” “salad,” “burger” (at least I think it said burger on there). My lunch guests were Ashley and Darren (from 5B management) – I recall Darren looking at me and saying something along the lines of “are we at the right place? Should we maybe head somewhere else?” The location sure looked amazing, but were we possibly led astray into a different diner that wasn’t Diner?When the waitress came by, she soon explained that the “sandwich” was in fact a giant fried chicken breast, served with greens, crisps, all nestled in bread; the soup was a white bean soup with far more ingredients than its modest monicker “soup” implied; there was a pig trotter “cake” with toast and jam; German brats with potato salad; and their “beer” was a Kulmbacher Pils. Quite unassuming titles if you ask me. Desert was to be their “pie”: a lemon custard. So lo and behold – we were in the right place, and were about to get the good stuff. Each plate we shared – and each plate was something truly special.
That’s what I love about Brooklyn: take Diner for example… I feel if one were to not know that places with this much rugged “character” pump out some of the best things you can eat – they would assume this couldn’t possibly be such a high-level spot for food; however, I’ll take this kind of eating over anything. Does this fall in the New American range or title? Maybe not. Can you call it modern? I don’t think it quite fits… it just sorta is. I’m finding more and more places like this around the globe: unassuming, maybe slightly renovated or simply just all-original-parts kind of thing (and not renovated, just it-is-what-is-kinda-joint), interesting looking (in the sense they’re not the adorned in fancy work-gear) young people, real people working the tables and the knives.
All people deserve to eat wonderfully prepared, interesting food, from great sources, made by people who really give a damn; and a place like Diner sums that vibe up: it ain’t fancy, it ain’t exclusive for stuffy-types, it’s its own unique thing; it’s affordable, it’s real, and it’s filled with real people.
Have I mentioned I love these kind of places?