Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!


Nathan’s Famous

1310 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Between Stillwell Avenue and Schweikerts Walk 
Coney Island
Transit: D F N Q Lines – Coney Island
Phone: (718) 946-2202
Website: nathansfamous.com


OK, so they are slightly overpriced and the food is not that special, but Nathan’s Famous is an INSTITUTION in Coney Island and Brooklyn and for that they deserve at least 7 Bombs.

$5 for a hot dog is not that bad in NYC, but I never realized that Nathan’s also sells fish, burgers, beer. and many other things, pumping out food with servers who barely speak a word of English, Mandarin more prolifically, and with prices that are not all that bad.

I had a Chili Cheese Dog with grilled onions ($4.95) and my wife a Cheese Dog ($4.45), sharing an order of Bacon Cheese Fries, a heart attack in a container, and a Diet Coke … what else, when you just ate your monthly allotment of fat and calories in a few small mouthsful?

The dogs were decent, popping when you bite into them like a good, fresh, well-made dog should do. They offer complimentary grilled onions and saürkraut on their dogs along with catsup, mustard, and relish as well as plenty of napkins to wipe your puss after engulfing a Nathan’s Famous.

Glad we went, probably will not be back, but it was worth the $20 tab for a small, yet very filling, high-caloric lunch on our last day in Brooklyn.

CombatCritic Gives Nathan’s Famous 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!

Key Words: Nathan’s Famous, Nathan’s, famous, Nathan, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Coney, island, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”
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Brooklyn, NY: A CombatCritic BestValue … This Brooklyn Ristorante Is Well Worth A Visit!


Cataldo’s Restaurant
554 Vanderbilt Avenue, Suite 1
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue
Prospect Heights
Phone: (718) 857-6700
No Website?
Prices: $$$$

We finally found a good, reasonably priced mom and pop Italian restaurant in the NYC metro and the name is Cataldo’s!
After searching the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn and on Yelp for a week looking for a good value, I stumbled upon Cataldo’s. It looked promising because one of the featured photos was of a delicious stuffed artichoke (below – $12) just like my grandma used to make … YUM! Unfortunately, they were out when we arrived and were not expecting a produce delivery for two days … DRAT!
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Vito (a co-owner with his brother) and his family. Vito and his brother Salvatore are originally from Sicily, just an hour’s drive from my wife’s hometown in Northwestern Sicily, so they know how good food should be prepared and enjoyed.
The prices are very reasonable, particularly in NYC, with pizzas and pastas in the $10-$14 range and veal (with a side of pasta) running $12 to $16. They offer several wine options in a multitude of colors and varieties with glasses starting at $6 and bottles in the low $20s.
On our first visit, we started with the insalata Mozzarella Caprese ($8), not the “traditional” insalata Caprese with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil, but a salad with a couple small mozzarella balls and sliced tomato, mostly arugula, and a few olives. I was not overly impressed for the $8 price tag. My wife ordered the Pizza Quattro Formaggio ($13), a wood-fired pie of 12+ inches smothered in four types of cheese (mozzarella, ricotta, gorgonzola and fontina) and baked to a golden brown. The pizza and Caprese are the only reason they will not get my highest rating. The pizza was good, not great, and not on the same level as true pizza Napoletana. I had the Vitello (veal) alla Parmigiana ($12), three good size veal cutlets breaded and fried, then smothered in marinara, topped with mozzarella, and baked to a golden brown. It came with a side of Spaghetti alla Bolognese, their meat sauce, which was as good as any I have had. A bottle of Chianti ($24) brought the tab to around $60 for an excellent meal, about the same price as we paid for garbage at a West Village German restaurant the night before. An excellent value!
We came back a second time two nights later, always a good sign, my wife having the Tortellini alla Panna ($12) instead of pizza and me the Veal Saltimbocca alla Romana ($16) … buonissimo! The tortellini were likely not homemade, but were very good and the cream sauce rich and delicious. The veal saltimbocca was divine, likely the best I have had, including in Rome (hence the name – Romana). Lightly breaded veal cutlets atop a bed of spinach and covered with prosciutto crudo then baked in a light white wine, butter, and lemon sauce infused with rosemary … MAMA MIA! The accompanying spaghetti was topped with the same sauce and with a little freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top, it was exquisite … the best $16 I have spent in a long time!

Being our last night in NYC and Brooklyn, we splurged and shared a piece of cheesecake ($5). Made with ricotta rather than cream cheese, it was typically Italian and not as sweet as its NYC cousin, but very good nonetheless.
I never did get to try the stuffed artichoke, but the food was wonderful, the service and hospitality excellent, the setting quaint and warm, and the value exceptional. We made some new friends and enjoyed the excellent food, surely to return on our next trip to Brooklyn and NYC.

CombatCritic Gives Cataldo’s 9 Bombs Out Of 10 As One Of The Best Values (BANG FOR THE BUCK) in NYC and Brooklyn … More Bombs Are Better!

Nine Bombs Equates To:
“U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Cataldo's Restaurant and Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic

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Title: Brooklyn, NY: A CombatCritic BestValue … This Brooklyn Ristorante Is Well Worth A Visit!

Key Words: Cataldo’s Restaurant, Cataldo’s, Cataldo, Brooklyn, NYC, New York City, New York, Italian, pizza, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

NYC, NY: "Wurst" Food On Three Most Recently Visited Continents


Lederhosen
39 Grove Street
New York, NY 10014
Between Bedford Street and Bleecker Street 
West Village
Phone: (212) 206-7691
Prices: $$$$

I should have gotten the clue when all of the other restaurants and bars on the street were packed and Lederhosen only had five people inside beside the bartender/server. Unfortunately, I did not.

This was the “wurst” German food, make that WORST FOOD (if I dare call it that), I have eaten in a long, long time. The bartender warned me that the beer was sour, but so were the potato soup ($3), the schnitzel sandwich ($8), and the Jägerschnitzel ($19).

I have traveled extensively in Germany and Eastern Europe where schnitzel is a staple and have never tasted anything as disgusting as the Jägerschnitzel I was just barely was able to keep down tonight. On top of that, the accompanying fried potatoes were burnt to a crisp.

When I mentioned all of this to the server/bartender, we did not get as much as a “sorry” or an offer to make things right, only an unintelligible wisecrack from the obviously inebriated proprietor on the way out.

The only saving grace was the soft pretzel ($3) and mustard which was cheap and not bad, being the sole thing keeping this greasy spoon from ending up with a single bomb and a spot on my WALL OF SHAME.

CombatCritic Gives Lederhosen 2 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



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Lederhosen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: NYC, NY: “Wurst” Food On Three Most Recently Visited Continents

Key Words: Lederhosen, German, bar, West Village, west, village, Manhattan, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform = “Tits Up” 

NYC, NY: Pretty "Gay", But Not Bad … Hey, It’s Their Name, I Didn’t Make It Up!


Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

61 Grove Street
New York, NY 10014
Between S. 7th Avenue and Sheridan Square 
West Village
Sheridan Square Station
Phone number (212) 414-0222
Website: biggayicecream.com


Soft serve ice cream in not 31, but 2 flavors, 3 if you count the chocolate-vanilla swirl. I asked for a chocolate cone dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts ($5 – I saw one when we went in, so I know I’m not “nuts” … get it?), but what I got was a chocolate cone with only the “top” dipped in chocolate and the bottom half dipped in crushed peanuts. Not what I asked for.
For $5, the ice cream was unremarkable. What more can I say? So I won’t.


CombatCritic Gives Big Gay Ice Cream Shop 4 Bombs Out Of 10 With Massive Deductions For Not Following Instructions, Boring Soft Serve Ice Cream, And Excessive Prices … More Bombs Are Better!
Four Bombs Equates To:

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Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: NYC, NY: Pretty “Gay”, But Not Bad … Hey, It’s Their Name, I Didn’t Make It Up!

Key Words: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, big, gay, ice cream, shop, ice, cream, village, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: BOHICA = “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again” … No pun intended!

NYC, NY: Massive Portions, Decent Food, BIG LIES Earn Sarge’s A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME


Sarge’s Deli
548 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Between 37th Street and 36th Street
Midtown East, Murray Hill
Phone: (929) 267-4372
Prices: $$$$
I will be brief because a lack of integrity is a non-starter in my book, so the food is somewhat irrelevant.
We arrived at Sarge’s a little after 6pm on Monday, May 30th, 2016 which happened to be Memorial Day. Many places around Manhattan were giving military ID holders freebies on Memorial Day out of gratitude for our service, a nice and much appreciated touch. So when I read the menu in Sarge’s window (see photo above) and it said: “Dinner Special (5-9PM Everyday): Choice of Soup or Salad And Beverage (Coffee, Tea, Or Fountain Drink) – All For The Price Of The Entrée Alone”, we decided to go in. After being seated, I asked our server (see photo below) about the special because I was contemplating ordering the meatloaf entree ($18.95). She told me: “It’s Memorial Day, the offer isn’t good on holidays”. Rather than go outside and recheck the menu, I believed her, assuming I had misread the offer, ordering the meatloaf anyway. After paying the bill, I went outside and snapped a picture of the menu in question (see menu photo), proving that I was not hallucinating because it states: “5-9PM EVERYDAY” and “every day” means Monday-Friday, Saturday and Sunday, AND HOLIDAYS.

The meatloaf was massive and “OK”, my wife’s French Dip ($18.95) was expensive, but “decent”, and the cheesecake ($6.95) large and “delicious”, but our server’s deception left a bad taste in my mouth. I could really care less about getting a free $7 soup or salad and a $2 beverage included with my meal (even though my blog is called “TravelValue”), but it is the principle and an inherent lack of integrity on the part of our server that spoiled this meal.

Beside the deception, her service was “abrupt” (it is a NYC kosher deli after all), but efficient and I gave her a 20% tip, something I regretted after reading the “Dinner Special” verbiage for the second time. I do not make a habit of rewarding liars. Deceptive waitress aside, they probably would have received 5 or 6 Bombs Out Of 10, but like our founding father George Washington, I cannot tell a lie …

CombatCritic Gives Sarge’s Deli 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME … More Bombs Are Better!











One Bomb Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: NYC, NY: Massive Portions, Decent Food, BIG LIES Earn Sarge’s A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME


Key Words: Sarge’s Deli, Sarge’s, sarge, deli, Manhattan, kosher, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = “Fucked Up Beyond All Repair”

Brooklyn, NY: It’s The Little Things That Leave A Bad Taste In Your Mouth


Hamilton’s
2826 Fort Hamilton Pkwy
Brooklyn, NY 11218
Between 5th Street 4th Street
Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Flatbush
Phone: (718) 438-0488
Prices: $$$$

As Roseanne Roseannadanna always said, “It’s always something, if it’s not one thing, it’s another” ….

It is the little things that stand out in your mind, good or bad, that shade your opinion of a place. In Hamilton’s case, it was a mere 50¢. More on that later.
We sat outside after being seated for 10 minutes before a server arrived to greet us, but when she did, I ordered a Bell’s Two Hearted IPA , but all the drafts are $6-$7, MUCH LESS than most places in the NYC metro and they have a GREAT SELECTION. I had to hunt down another server because ours was nowhere to be found, ordering a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog (also $6 on the menu), but after another 10 minutes our food had arrived and still no Smuttynose, so I reminded our server. It arrived 5 minutes later while my dinner cooled whether it needed to or not.
My wife ordered the large Salty Pretzel ($4) and a Mac and Cheese appetizer ($8). The Mac and Cheese arrived with my sandwich, but we had to remind the server about her pretzel which took an additional 5 minutes to arrive. The pretzel was good, but it was hot from the oven and too crunchy, not warm, soft, and chewy as a good pretzel should be. The mac and cheese was tasty and a decent size portion for an appetizer.
My Reuben Sandwich ($15) was piled high with “house made corned beef”, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. It was very good overall, but the house made corned beef had a slightly strange aftertaste which I could not quite put my finger on, or my tongue in this case. The accompanying potato wedges were scarce, but decent, nothing special.
When the check arrived, I have to admit that it was one of the smallest totals we have seen since arriving in NYC, but the Smuttynose was listed at $7 instead of the $6 stated on the menu. I called our server over, showed her the menu and the check, and asked her to make the correction to the $1 error. Those things happen. But when she came back, she had NOT deducted the $1 error, but had discounted the check by a mere 50¢! Rather than argue about the 50¢, I simply deducted it from her 20% tip along with a tad more for her inattention during our meal. After all, it is always the small things folks.

CombatCritic Gives Hamilton’s 5 Bombs Out Of 10 After A 2 Bomb Service and Check Error Deduction … More Bombs Are Better!
Five Bombs Equates To:

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Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Brooklyn, NY: It’s The Little Things That Leave A Bad Taste In Your Mouth

Key Words: Hamilton’s, Hamilton, bar, grill, pub, beer, Brooklyn, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: Charlie-Mike = “Continue Mission”