Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Junior's Restaurant and Bar
386 Flatbush Avenue Extension at DeKalb Ave.
B,M,Q,R to DeKalb Ave.; B54, B38, B26, B25
Reviewed by Jessa
Something Different Sandwich (beef brisket and potato pancakes with sides of country gravy and applesauce); bacon cheeseburger with fries; coffee; Coca Cola; cheesecake (duh)
I have a confession to make: Throughout all of my 27 years on this earth as a Downtown Brooklyn Resident, I had yet to make a trip to Junior's before this one. All anyone talked about was the cheesecake, and I've never been a fan of the stuff. The one time I did try a slice of Junior's famous cheesecake, at a backyard birthday bash, I took a few perfunctory bites before uttering a curmudgeonly "feh" and downing another vodka shot (which I am sure had nothing to do with my cake experience).
Well, I have been missing out! The Something Different Sandwich turned out to be an outrageous stack of juicy beef brisket, sandwiched between two humongous potato pancake pillows that were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The country gravy tasted like it came out of some old granny's kitchen, and the chunky applesauce was wonderfully fresh and a perfect complement to the pancakes.
My dining companion Spyderr had similar raves about his bacon cheeseburger and fries. Of course, I simply had to have some (purely for research purposes, I assure you). I am happy to report that I have finally found a perfectly well done burger without sacrificing any juiciness or flavor. The burger was topped with thick, smoky, crispy bacon and good ol' yellow American cheese. The steak fries were crisp and, when salted and dipped in ketchup, the perfect accompaniment to the burger.
We also received a side of crunchy, tangy coleslaw that wasn't swimming in mayonnaise. Rather, there was just a hint of creaminess that allowed the naturally sweet, crisp cabbage to be the star. The pickles that also came with our meal were delectably sour and salty without causing burning, puckered lips.
Considering that we were so full that we had to pack half of our meals to go, Spyderr and I wisely decided to share a slice of strawberry cheesecake. And the cheesecake! Apparently, when I'm sober, Junior's cheesecake is super-tasty! The creamy melt-in-my-mouth filling wasn't gelatinous or too sweet like other cheesecakes I have tried in the past, enhanced by the plump whole berry sauce and streusel crust. In other words: Yum!
The coffee was hot and delicious, and refills were prompt and plentiful. The half-and-half came in individual thimbles, which made it impossible to overmilk the coffee. I barely needed any sugar, which is the hallmark of good coffee. Spyderr's Coke was cold and bubbly, just as a good Coke should be!
The members of the waitstaff were all friendly, from the host who greeted us to the person who refilled our coffee. Our server, the regally named Lenworth, was delightful. He was never pushy or intrusive, yet he magically appeared whenever we needed him.
Junior's décor can best be described as casual retro glam. Just being there made me feel a little more glamorous, even in jeans and a smock top. I imagined myself being at Junior's in the evening back when they opened 50 years ago, ordering a Sidecar and wearing a slinky cocktail dress, a rising-starlet sort of dame. Elegant and unfussy, the wood-paneled walls are accented with touches of gold, making the perfect setting for the circular tables covered in white paper tablecloths. The comfortably low lighting didn't compete with the sun streaming through the blinds that decorate the windows. Soothing piano music played, underscoring the Sunday brunch chatter going on around us. I felt relaxed and -- dare I say it? -- hip.
Junior's presentation thrives on simple yet thoughtful touches that accent the surroundings perfectly. Everybody knows that fancy little details make everything taste better! The Something Different Sandwich was held together by a little plastic sword toothpick, which delighted the detail-oriented craft lady in my brain. Spyderr's Coke came in a tall glass with the Junior's logo and guidelines for making the perfect egg cream. Our ketchup and mustard were brought out to us, the mustard actually being Junior's own brand.
For anyone looking for a delightful lunch spot in the area, look no further! Junior's has a lunch special menu that is available Monday through Saturday. Barbecue aficionados can also partake in a reasonably priced barbecue special menu Monday through Saturday. Take-out and delivery services, a full bakery, and bar (where you can perhaps order a Sidecar of your very own!) are also available. For more information, including the restaurant menu and their vast cheesecake offerings, go to
Junior's gets an A. Obviously.