Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Emphasis Cafe and Restaurant

Emphasis Café and Restaurant
6822 4th Avenue (at 68th Street)
R to Bay Ridge Ave.; B37, B63
Reviewed by Sarah D. Bunting

At last, an unqualified good review. Feels like it's been a while.

The Order:

Spinach and feta omelet with rye toast and home fries; hot coffee; Diet Coke.

The Food:

My order took a little longer to come out than I think it should have, given that I went at dinnertime and didn't order anything outlandish like the lamb chop, but once it arrived, I cleaned my plates. Delicious omelet, more coherent than most; it had a sort of folded/frittata presentation. The spinach tasted very fresh, but in consistency and size of the spinach bits it seemed creamed. Evenly spaced cheese, not as dominating or salty as the feta usually is in these dishes.

Very good home fries as well: good chop, very thinly sliced, and perfectly cooked, not too hard, not mushy.

The rye toast was a bit rarer than I prefer, but the butter, furnished upon request, didn't drown the toast.

It took a couple of light thumps against the table to knock the sugar into dispensable condition, but the salt and pepper were filled properly, as was the (unwatered) ketchup.

The Drinks:

Quite a fresh cup of coffee for the dinner hour, although in a 24-hour joint like the Emphasis, the coffee's relative lack of sludge has less to do with the time of day. The waitress offered me a choice between half-and-half and regular milk, which I appreciated -- I don't love half-and-half -- and the little pitcher came to the table cold.

My Diet Coke was a generous glass with a civilian amount of ice: enough to chill the drink, not so much that you drain the drink in one long sip. Nice big young wedge of lemon.

The register mints are individually wrapped, but! It's the soft dusty kind, my favorite! Just without the crazy germs in the bowl! Well done, Emphasis.

The Service:

My server was an old-school middle-aged "hon" waitress with a cheap white buttondown and a little Diane Keaton necktie. Attentive and professional, but wasn't asking me about refills every two minutes or anything. She could have made a little faster with the check, but I was reading a book, so I wouldn't mark off for that.

The Surroundings:

Clean and very big, with a standard railroad-car-type room at the entrance -- booths, chrome counter, cheese-danish pyramid -- and a bigger dining room to the right as you walk in, decorated in the late-'80s peach-wallpaper/abstract-hotel-bar-"art" style. (We need an official term for this, the fugly GoodFellas-Hilton aesthetic that seems to guide diner renovations. I don't expect Italian marble or Mission furniture, but could they at least spring for the whole roll of tired peach wallpaper, instead of cheaping out with badly-lined-up short ends?)

A bar-mounted TV was on, on mute, the better for patrons to hear the lite satellite radio station. Let me just settle this right now: the "doggone girl" is not yours, Michael Jackson. She's Paul's. …Did anyone else find this song disappointing and undignified even when it came out? I feel like we all waited ages for this video and then felt embarrassed by the stagey arguing and the antics with…isn't there a hayride or some damn thing? Maybe it's me but the whole thing made me feel uncomfortable. "Say Say Say" is a good song; they should have left it there.

Anyway. That one unfortunate audio selection aside, the décor is standard for the genre. The Emphasis has a broad-spectrum clientele, at least on a Monday night in August -- college students; a bunch of siblings in their thirties crammed into a booth; middle-aged "bowling widows"; the two very tiny, very old ladies to my right, one of whom referred to her Jansport backpack as her "pocketbook." Aw: grandmas.


I've driven past the Emphasis probably two dozen times and never even noticed it there. Now that I know, I'll be returning. They do the staples well, everyone's very nice, neither staff nor fellow patrons look at you like you're made of noodles if you sit by yourself and read -- and from what I read on Yelp, clearly I'll have to re-review the place on the pancake tip.

A couple of very tiny blips, but: A-minus.

Emphasis on Urbanspoon

BD on Brokelyn!

Check out my top-five diner meals post on Brokelyn.

More to come...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Around The Boro: Dizzy's redux...redux

The Brooklyn Paper raves about Dizzy's corned-beef hash. Maybe I need to re-review this place, since BD is the only place that doesn't love it.

Still: "transcendent" is going maaaaybe a little far.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Around The Boro: egg creams and turkey clubs

Nikki Jo Grossman says it's hard to find a good egg cream.

A Brownstoner commenter can't find a decent turkey club; another recommends the 5th Ave. restaurant.