If you’re a person who spends their weekends schlepping to the outer-boroughs for a taste of New York’s best ethnic cuisines, or, if you are a dedicated reader of the Village Voice, or just a person who likes to eat in the city, you owe a debt to Robert Sietsema.
Sietsema’s taste buds have been New York’s flavor barometer for over 25 years. Starting with “Down the Hatch,” followed by a stint at Gourmet and finally serving as the Village Voice’s restaurant critic for 20 years, he has chronicled the city’s food scene longer than almost any other critic, uncovering hidden gems and whole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants one review at a time.
His memorable tenure at the Voice came to an abrupt end when Sietsema was somewhat unceremoniously fired in May, along with gossip columnist Michael Musto, and theater critic Michael Feingold.
Fortunately for readers, Sietsema has found a new home at EaterNY, covering what he calls his “natural beat.” As a regular columnist, he’ll continue his pursuit of the perfect dish through a series of “micro-neighborhood dining guides.”
The Forward’s Anne Cohen recently spoke with Sietsema about his take on the future of food journalism, his favorite New York deli, and what he really thinks of gefilte fish.
There are few Jewish restaurants I love more than Brooklyn’s Mile End. The Montreal-style deli made a name for itself by updating the idea of deli, taking the time and care to smoke its meats in house, bake its own bread and for a long time, drive bagels in weekly from Montreal to hold true to their vision. The team has also been behind some of the most exciting Jewish dinners in the country in recent years.
When Sandy came pounding into New York harbor in November, it devastated homes, communities and the restaurants that fed them. Mile End’s commissary in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn was no exception. The space filled with water, leaving untold damages in its wake.
Eater visited the commissary recently and talked to owner Noah Bernamoff about getting the deli back on its feet. Check out what he had to say in the video below.
But in what is probably a first in the history of music videos, the guys behind Torrisi Italian Specialties — a sandwich shop by day and high-end Little Italy eatery by night — have released a musical tribute just to “Jewish lamb.”
The video — succinctly titled “Jewish Lamb” — features an eclectic medley of songs and images as it follows the path of the dish from Rome’s Jewish Quarter to the Lower East Side restaurant. With songs by Bruce Springsteen and Kenny Loggins, among others, the clip traces - or at least identifies - the meal’s various ingredients, including honey, Jerusalem artichokes and even Manischewitz wine. (After landing in New York, the video briefly crosses the Hudson for a stop at the Jewish winemaker’s Newark headquarters.) The lamb itself evidently comes from Pat LaFrieda Wholesale Meat, also located in New Jersey.