Friday, February 18, 2011

A Battle of Nostrand Avenue Cheesesteaks

My failure to eat at Syd's Serious Sandwich Shop until just a few weeks ago is a glaring omission on my part. My massive ego, which constantly reassured me that I have a finger (a whole hand even) on the pulse of the Crown Heights & Bed Stuy restaurant scene, failed completely and revealed me as the amateur poser I really am. Cruising Dave Cook's fabulous site "Eating in Translation," I came across a post on Syd's Serious Sandwich Shop on Nostrand Avenue, just north of Eastern Parkway. Dave had only eaten a cold hoagie, but according to their menu, Syd's specializes in cheesesteaks. I vaguely recalled walking by the shop on my jerk chicken tour with Steve. But as I (conveniently) remember it, Steve's unflinching focus on our goal prevented us from slowing down even a little bit to explore further. My loss (but not my stomach's, since I could have been eating these on the reg for the past three months).

Cheesesteaks are not pretty.

I guess I'll get a foot-long cheesesteak with grilled onions, green peppers, mushrooms and hot peppers... No cheese whiz (I'm willing to overlook that), but white American cheese made up the difference. This is as good a cheesesteak as I've eaten in NYC-- piss off Carl's. A second visit confirmed its greatness-- and my weakness for fabulous cheesesteaks.

The molten cheese provided the glue for the chopped steak (seemed to be ribeye). With the vegetables, all ingredients harmonized into a perfect bite (or a foot worth of perfect bites).

One more cheesesteak after the jump.

David's Brisket House, about which I've previously raved, also makes a non-traditional brisket cheesesteak.

The cheesesteak starts with diced peppers and onions placed on the flat-top. The counterman then ladles a bit of their brisket gravy over the peppers, causing a plume of beefy steam to emanate from the vegetables. Then, slices of brisket are chopped up and allowed to develop a dark brown crust. Topped with (yellow) American cheese and a bit of mayo, this is an impressive looking sandwich.

Unfortunately, while good, it struggles in comparison to Syd's. David's version tastes more like a hot brisket sandwich, failing to stimulate the primitive portion deep within my brain that screams CHEESESTEAK!

Either way, you could do much worse than these two spots. So if your gut is up to the task, why not try them both on a single trip?

Syd's Serious Sandwich Shop
759 Nostrand Ave (at Lincoln Place)
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(347) 305-3086

David's Brisket House
533 Nostrand Ave (at Herkimer St)
Brooklyn, NY 11226
(718) 789-1155

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