Sunday, March 19, 2006

Review: Vegas Diner

Vegas Diner
1619 86th Street
D to 18th Ave.; B1
Reviewed by Sars

The Order: Greek omelet; home fries; rye toast; coffee

The Food: The omelet was a little runny, but very tasty. The home fries were also yummy; the pepper/onion ratio was a little low, but whatever they used to season the potatoes made up for that.

Ketchup may have been watered; hard to tell. The table had sugar packets instead of a dispenser; I never know how to feel about this. On the one hand, the packets are more hygienic, and dispensers can really be a crapshoot in terms of how well they're maintained, whether the diner cleans them frequently and remembers to put rice grains in for smooth flow. On the other hand, packets are less authentic, to my mind; it's like when you ask for milk or cream for your coffee and they bring it in a tomato-juice glass. Just a little ad-hoc for my taste.

The toast was more like warmed-up bread -- limp.

The Drinks: Good coffee, slow refills.

The Service: The place is gigantic, and at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon, the post-church crowd keeps the staff jumping -- but this is not exactly an unforeseeable occurrence, and while the waitress was pleasant, she was a little slow. The sixteen-top near our booth might have had something to do with that, but again, part of the point of going to a diner is that you get the food fast. I was on a train for 45 minutes, boss. Chop chop.

The Surroundings: Brilliant. Vegas is a big place, to the point where a guy coming out of the men's actually walked up to our booth and asked for his jacket, not because we actually had it but because he'd gotten lost. There's certainly a debate to be had about the big whole-city-block diners vs. teeny former-train-car diners -- and I'll join that battle in a future entry -- but the beauty of the sprawling places is two-fold: 1) the people-watching, and 2) the length of the counter, and the many visual delights behind it that result.

1) can't be beat at Vegas, which is like Sopranos central casting, and which also reminded me of the place my uncle took me to for "brunch club" in Michigan, at which time I was the only person present wearing neither a Members Only jacket nor an eye patch (not to mention blatantly ignoring doctors' orders by ordering bacon). Great blend of patrons -- families, girls' lunch, teenage post-church debrief, bowling-team brunch, Jackie Jrs. dogging chicks. Every stratum of Bay Ridge society was represented.

2) meant that A Plus and I spent a good ten minutes marveling at all the kinds of single-serving cereal available. And the full bar, which seemed kind of heavy on the crème-de-menthe selection…it's a diner. Do you need even one kind, much less three?

Vegas also features the ever-popular cocktail placemats, and in-table jukeboxes.

Miscellany: While waiting for A Plus in the octagonal foyer, I was called "hon" by a fellow patron who wanted to know the time. This woman was, I'm pretty sure, younger than I. Awesome. Also, two kids got into an actual full-on slaps-and-bites fight over what strategy to use on the toy-claw-machine thingie. South Brooklyn, man. No prisoners.

I'd like to come back to Vegas when it's not so busy and reassess it on the food merits, but atmo alone gets it an A-minus.

Vegas Diner on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Dineromon": Chapter Three

Grecian Corner Restaurant
234 7th Avenue (at 4th Street)
F to 7th Avenue; B67
Reviewed by Sars

The Order: Tomato and mozzarella omelet; rye toast; home fries; coffee.

The Food: The omelet is good. The potatoes…eh. They seem undercooked, and the peppers are too crisp as well. The toast is done exactly to my liking (i.e. seven out of ten on the burnt scale) and not pre-buttered.

The Drinks: Average coffee.

The Service: Our server seemed kind of confused by us, but the food arrived very quickly (although I wouldn't have minded waiting a minute or two more if it meant the potatoes cooked longer).

The Surroundings: It's kind of cramped, seating-wise -- better for a twosome than for a foursome. The Venetian/Greek canal murals by Garrity Hugh Collins can definitely pass the time between ordering and eating, what with the unicorns and the rainbows and the clashing with the Valentine's decorations and whatnot.

Miscellany: I was exceedingly pleased to spot the "good kind" of mints by the register -- the fluffy, chewy old-school brand with the flavored centers. Alas, nobody else had apparently spotted said mints since the early nineties, because they were stale as hell.

I know it was a blizzard day, but I'm still dinging Grecian Corner with a C+. Uncomfortable seating and substandard potatoes? Nuh uh.