If you’re wondering whether the soup at Mama Soup is any good, just ask Matt Damon. The celebrity’s driver introduced him to the shop and ever since, he has put in frequent delivery requests from his home in Manhattan. He even sends the staff notes lauding their pots of potato leek, broccoli cheese, and biscuit-topped chicken-pot-pie soup that owner Megan Kleven derived from her beloved grandma’s recipes. She now doles out the family favorites—as well as sandwiches, salads, and wraps—from a renovated shop that still bears many of the architectural elements of its past life as a metal factory.
Bagel Club's expansive menu ranges beyond its titular baked good, encompassing specialties such as pretzels and raisin-studded challah bread. Chefs also pile smoked fish—including sturgeon and lox—atop bagels, crack three eggs for each of their omelets, and fill sandwiches with deli meat or seafood salads. They can also add flavor to bagels or depleted scratch 'n' sniff stickers with more than a dozen specialty spreads, including chocolate-chip, spinach-and-garlic, and blueberry varieties of cream cheese.
For the bakers of Fay Da Bakery, slices of fruit are just as much decorations as they are ingredients. Their menu of more than 24 cakes features vanilla cakes with elaborate fruit tops, such as the fruit decor cake top with swirling patterns made from strawberries and kiwi. The bakers also customize cakes for a variety of occasions, with hand-piped designs and congratulatory messages. Patrons can pick up Fay Da's cakes at locations throughout NYC, and conveniently order cakes online and pick them up a few days later when their clown car is out of the shop.
Sweets reign supreme at Kulu ("Keep Ur Life Unique") Desserts, an Asian-fusion shop where guests can fill up on treats such as red-bean soup, hot peanut paste, and crepes. The Brooklyn dessert spot pairs these delicacies with fruit smoothies, mocha earl grey tea, milk shakes, and other tasty drinks.
Father-and-son duo Peter and Bill Tsibidis pepper Crosstown Diner's broad menu with ingredients hand-picked weekly from farmers' markets, featuring a cheeseburger that the New York Daily News deemed among the city's top three in 2011. Taste buds tingle and occasionally faint in the presence of celebrity burgers ($6.99+) such as the famously fresh open-faced cheeseburger, a build-your-own delectable, or one of the diner's 11 specialty burgers. Chefs salute the restaurant's Greek heritage in chicken athenian, a breast stuffed with spinach and feta ($15.99), and glasses of wine (a $5.29 value) toast nine specialty pasta dishes tossed in velvety sauces ($9.99–$19.99). Two country eggs team up with Eire's finest bacon or sausage to rout out hunger in the irish breakfast ($8.39), and pancakes as fluffy as clouds stuffed with teddy bears assemble outfits of red velvet batter, bacon bits, and bananas ($8.99) to attract forks.
On a Bronx street lined with Italian restaurants, one fa?ade stands out?the one with a streetside bar under a shady awning, and a dense gathering of exotic plants and excited diners. This fa?ade belongs to Havana Cafe, which the 2013 and 2014 Michelin Guide honored with a Bib Gourmand award recognizing the inspectors? favorites for good value. PIX-11 confirmed the restaurant's status as a neighborhood staple during a 2011 Bronx Restaurant Week profile, noting that it?s ?become famous fast for serving great food in a welcoming atmosphere.?
Smells of Cuban and Latin-American cooking spill out from an intimate dining room, and, in the kitchen, a custom brick oven burns through shovelfuls of bricks under the direction of Chef Alex Garcia. Chef Alex designs modern interpretations of classic dishes, resulting in cultural collisions such as brick-oven pizza topped with beef picadillo and piquillo peppers. Straightforward renditions of Latin flavors abound as well, in the form of adobo-rubbed shrimp, churrasco-style grilled steaks, and sides and sauces made with tropical produce such as plantains, mango, and yuca.
When cool weather forces the french doors closed, groups snuggle up with their mojitos in leather-cushioned chairs beneath brick pillars and exposed rafters. Behind plush red banquettes, murals commemorate a hazy Cuban past lined with shiny classic cars and balconies leaning convivially over narrow city streets.