The Big Eat: Not-So Appetizio

Today at The Big Eat I measure sandwiches in cubits and devour a disappointing delicacy.


Drop by Devil Gourmet to read about this not-so-hot fried eggplant mess. They also have a discount code for 10% off Brew at the Zoo at the Turtleback Zoo, June 29th. NJ Craft beer and a zoo full of critters. Let’s see if they let me leave or lock me in the gorilla cage.

The Big Eat: The Guns of Provolone

For The Big Eat this week, I drop by Giovanni’s Deli in Secaucus for some of the best “mutz” or fresh mozzarella, a great chicken parm, and Italian specialties. Also to show off “The Guns of Provolone” and explain what “Secaucus” means…

Giovanni Sandwich

The Big Eat: Dee Tale of DP’s Pub

The lobster roll
The lobster roll

This week’s THE BIG EAT at Devil Gourmet takes me to northern NJ’s best-kept seafood restaurant secret, a ’70s time machine disguised as a shanty overlooking the mighty Passaic… DP’s Pub!

Pizza night!


Pesto pizza with mozzarella di bufala, mushrooms and pepperoni.

The Big Eat: An Ode to the Vanishing Char-Broiler

I have a road trip to what used to be common on the New Jersey highway, a roadside foodstand. Many of them took on a colonial or frontier decor, and named themselves after obscure Revolutionary heroes like “Mad” Anthony Wayne. I found one still serving grilled ground beef simply and tastily, and remember many more.

An Ode to the Vanishing Char-Broiler, a Garden State Tradition, at Devil Gourmet.

An ode to the vanishing char-broiler


Welcome to THE BIG EAT

Introducing my new greasy spoon, burger & beer joint column for Devil Gourmet, THE BIG EAT. Please drop on by to read about my visit to Krug’s Tavern, the Raging Bull’s burger bar.

My gastronomic explorations will be recorded there for your awe and bewilderment. You will be satisfied!

Greasy Spoons: Krug's Tavern

Fresh Kill: The Black Label Burger

Had one of these at the Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village the other day, right around the corner from Todd Robinson’s watering hole, Shade. The Minetta is a fancy brasserie which serves an excellent Manhattan and Sazerac and delicious appetizers like salt pond oysters with truffled pork sausage. The oysters were fresh and sweet. Having read Mannahatta, about the original forested wilderness of Manhattan island, I know the Minetta was a brook that still exists underground. There was a huge salt pond in the area as well, and both the Natives and the Dutch settlers ate enough oysters that the shells form a sedimentary layer all over the tip of the island. Nowadays if you ate a New York bay oyster, an alien will pop out of your chest.

Black Label Burger

The burger is twenty six bucks and ground from aged beef. They have a standard burger for seventeen bones. You do get fries with that. Sorry, frites. The fries are good, not as good as Bourdain’s at Les Halles. The burger is one of the few that tops the Les Halles burger, which is ground to order from sirloin trimmings. The Black Label one-ups it by using only dry-aged beef, giving the crust a distinct mineral tang that steakivores will appreciate. Inside it’s just a balanced, excellent burger- not too fatty but certainly not lean or dry. I will name it my new favorite, but let’s be honest- I’m not gonna lay down $26 for a burger that often. Krug’s is still my go-to.

Here’s the list for you new folks.

1. Black Label Burger, Minetta Tavern NYC
2. Les Halles burger, John St. NYC (the one on Park Ave’s burger is not as good)
3. Krug’s Tavern, Newark NJ
4. The Ghetto Burger, Ann’s Snack Bar, Atlanta GA
5. White Manna sliders, Hackensack NJ
6. HB Burger, NYC
7. The Frenchy, DBGB, NYC.
8. The Baconeator, Morris Tap & Grill, Randolph NJ
9. Triple Smokehouse Burger, Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell NJ
10. Jucy Lucy, Matt’s Bar, Minneapolis MN.

(if you like looking at Cheeseburgers, check out my buddy Mike’s blog )

These are opinions. Ray’s Hell Burger in VA closed; I haven’t been to Kuma’s in Chicago. In-N-Out and Elevation Burger, Shake Shack and the Joint at the Le Parker Meridien hotel are all up there as well. And I plan on a long road trip on the west coast eating nothing but cheeseburgers next year, so my opinions WILL change. If you have recommendations… please leave a comment. I will travel for a good burger, and I save places I’ve visited or want to visit in a Google Map: Tommy Salami’s Hidden Treasures.