Is NYC Big Enough for Two Smoked Meat Burgers?

The smoked meat burger at Mile End Sandwich

Recently, Mile End Sandwich introduced a smoked meat burger as a special, and Fork in the Road had to try it. Priced at $14, the burger must be unique in town, we figured — but then remembered the Bowery Special at Bowery Diner (also $14).

Before we took a bite, we pushed back the lid to admire the pickles.

The Mile End version is made with a 50-50 mixture of house-smoked smoked meat, loosely packed together so that when you take a bite, little hints of smoked meat rise up as you chew. But the ground beef wins out with its minerally taste, so the thing still seems like a burger, and the impression is confirmed by bun, pickle topping, and mayo dressing. It’s really quite delectable.

The Bowery Diner take involves putting a plank of smoked meat on top of the patty, for a sort of double-decker burger. Here, the two distinct tastes are at war with each other, a tiff that gets amicably sorted out in your mouth.

The quality of the ground beef and smoked meat is comparable at both places, which are just a couple of blocks apart. Why not grab a friend and try both?

The Bowery Diner’s version also comes with fries.


Mile End Deli: Social Media Flare Sours Smoked Meat’s Return

It took Mile End Sandwich almost a month to get smoked meat back on its menu after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Red Hook commissary. But after raising the sandwich price from $12 to $14, a heated discourse between owner Noah Bernamoff and unhappy patrons hit Twitter and Facebook.

A disappointed customer took to Facebook and accused Bernamoff of “stealing” since the bagel she ordered wasn’t the deli’s signature Montreal bagel, and thus started a backlash on the social media platforms between Bernamoff and Mile End customers.

Last night, EVLocal chronicled smoked meat’s return. Bernamoff said the meat was produced upstate and transported back to the city, which accounted for the post-Hurricane price increase.

“Our issues are much more fundamental than a dollar a sandwich,” Bernamoff said on Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve increased costs because of our inability to do stuff in Red Hook. Traveling upstate, working in other people’s kitchens, taking the help of some of our restaurant friends . . . that comes at a cost.”

“When you create an analogy between a $13 sandwich and robbery,” Bernamoff said, “I took it personally because I’m not stealing anything from anybody.”

Bernamoff said he received many e-mails in the past 24 hours, but one stood out. “I woke up this morning and got an e-mail from a total stranger who was like, I love your place, but there’s no way you’re going to make the situation better,” he said. “You should apologize and eat the shit sandwich. That person was absolutely right.”

This morning, an apology note appeared on Mile End’s Facebook page.

I apologize for having offended a customer who was trying to voice an opinion. The subsequent use of unprofessional language to fend off her army of Facebook friends was clearly not in my best interest. Mile End has always been a very chill place with a staff that works hard to please its customers as most of you who have visited can attest.

This past month has pushed and prodded the emotions of everyone at Mile End in ways that, unfortunately, too many of us can now truly understand. The business faces new challenges; the way we address them will define who we are and what we hope to be.

I have always welcomed constructive criticism — when constructive qualities are traded for mere snark, however, the line between what’s personal and what’s suggestive can be blurred. That said, I recognize that I crossed those same lines in response and for that I am sorry, particularly to our customers, fans, and Facebook followers.

Mile End has made massive headway since it got power back on in the Red Hook kitchen 10 days ago, but it will take a while before things are back to pre-Sandy standards. “We’re taking baby steps in the next couple of weeks,” Bernamoff said. “My hope is that come January we’re at the critical basis that Mile End stands for.”

About the flare on Facebook and Twitter, Bernamoff said: “It feels like reality TV to me. I have a warehouse to rebuild.”


What’s Happening This Week: Bartenders Ball and the Slow Food Show

Monday, November 26
Pamalympics Bartender Challenge: Pama Pomegranate Liquor hosts a bartending challenge at Pouring Ribbons in the East Village where bartenders from all over the city will blindly taste cocktails, and then try to write their recipes. Pama will donate $20 to the U.S. Bartenders Guild-New York fund for every person that attends.

Bartenders Ball: Head to the Bowery Hotel for an open bar and snacks from Death & Co., Employees Only, PDT, Whiskey Brooklyn, Ward III, and other bars. Tickets are $100 and all proceeds go to charities that are doing “real, on the ground work” to help Sandy victims in New York.

Wednesday, November 28
Lessons from the Mile End Cookbook: Noah and Rae Bernamoff, the guys who brought Montreal smoked meat to Brooklyn and NoHo, will discuss their cookbook at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. They’ll focus on Jewish Canadian cooking with Saveur editor Gabriella Gershenson. Tickets are $10.

Thursday, November 29
Hell’s Kitchen Irish Gangsters Walking Tour: Walk in the footsteps of some of New York’s grittiest thugs on the West Side, while bar hopping along the way. Pretend like you’re in Gangs of New York, and throw back a few. Reserve you spot here.

Sunday, December 2
The Second Annual Slow Food Show: Join food entrepreneurs for a showing of “good, clean, fair food.” For $15, guests can sample munchies and sip down beers at Jimmy’s No. 43.


Robert Sietsema at Potlikker; Tejal Rao at Jezebel

Robert Sietsema says that the food at Potlikker has an improvised quality and that the dishes come out a bit inconsistent: “My biggest complaint is that there’s no actual potlikker on the menu, as the name of the place promises. Swabbed with a savory version of the Dutch pancake, and sided with plenty of bacon, it just might become your favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner all rolled into one.”

Tejal Rao checks out Jezebel, a kosher restaurant in Soho. Both the kitchen and bar are dairy-free and under rabbinical supervision: “The food can be good at Jezebel, but more often it is sloppy…a greasy Cornish hen ($32) was served with the washed-out vegetables you push around hopelessly at a wedding banquet, wishing you were drunk enough to dance.”

Pete Wells awards two stars to Governor in Dumbo: “For better and sometimes for worse, Mr. McDonald treats familiarity as if it were an enemy to be conquered. What comes to the table may take a little decoding. What are these white noodles under a bright yellow dust? Celery root, shaved into ribbons wide as pappardelle and blanched just until they fold softly over themselves.”

Adam Platt pays a visit to Battersby, where he is pleasantly surprised. There are only 15 dishes on the menu and although the ingredients were often the same, most of the recipes were unique each time: “This kind of spontaneous, high-wire, seasonal cooking can tip easily into the realm of parody, especially in this haute-forager, locavore-obsessed era. But in their small, unpretentious room, surrounded by merry eaters from the neighborhood, Ogrodnek and Stern manage to make you feel like you’re a guest at a festive pop-up dining club or their own semi-private party.”

Steve Cuozzo really does not like Mihoko’s 21 Grams, a sushi-French fusion restaurant. He says the service is horrible and the food is inconsistent: “For every successful dish there was a correspondingly awful one. Cold corn velouté with cooked langoustine evoked summer bliss. Chawan mushi with snap peas, a strained fusion effort, registered as thick pea soup with barely perceptible custard.”

Jay Cheshes gives three stars out of five to Mile End Sandwich: “And even a Buffalo expat would fall for Mile End’s Roast Beef on Weck–a sandwich that’s like religion in western New York–served here with shaved Wagyu, showered in fresh horseradish, on a properly salt-crusted caraway roll.”

Ryan Sutton has a $300 meal at Gwynnett St.: “I recommend the bean curd (made without bean curd). Hilbert takes pureed pistachio and jiggles it up with gellan gum and kuzu starch. The result is a nutty, creamy, elegant “tofu.”

Michael Kaminer files in a report on Siro’s, where there is a lackluster menu with hefty price tags: “Not every restaurant exists to reinvent the wheel. There are customers who crave familiarity, and God bless places like Siro’s for coddling them. But there’s no excuse for lazily executed food when you’re charging top-shelf Manhattan prices.”