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Eaters' Journal 4/8/16: Eataly, Fritzl's, Five Leaves, Platia, and More

Field notes from Eater editors about recent meals around New York City

Eataly Rosticceria: I’m fond of dropping by the rotisserie on Thursdays, when herb-stuffed porchetta is the featured meat. After scoring one hero and traipsing outside to eat it, I was surprised to open the bag and discover I’d been given the prime rib sandwich instead. I comforted myself that the sandwich I received would’ve cost me a couple bucks extra, pulled back the wrapped, and took a big bite. It was delicious! Really, a better way to enjoy the rare meat than if it were sitting by itself on a platter — mainly because the crisp baguette conserves all the drippings. Sietsema


Fritzl’s: Fritzl’s is not in a prime location of Bushwick, and it’s a shame because this is a neighborhood restaurant that deserves to be busier. It’s widely known for its burger, which is acclaim that it deserves, but items like the beer battered broccoli and salsa-brined chicken wings are also really, really great. When I heard that chef Dan Ross-Leutwyler is thinking about closing up shop, I realized that it had been a while since I’d stopped in. My boyfriend and I made a special trip.

Things had changed a bit. The menu was slimmer, he’d stopped serving dessert, and at $15, the star burger cost nearly 50 percent more than it did when I first tried it last year. Still, it was hard to feel salty about the changes. One lone server navigated drink refills and food orders for the whole restaurant, and it looked like Ross-Leutwyler was running the kitchen solo as well. Despite the limited staff, things seemed to run smoothly. There were no obvious service gaps, and the broccoli and Caesar salad were delicious. And of course, the burger was, as always, perfect. Charge what you need to for the burger, Dan. It would be a shame to see Fritzl’s close. — Dai


Platia: I grew up on Long Island. I love Long Island. But even high-end Long Island restaurants in the Hamptons or Montauk can't usually hold a candle to mid-range spots in New York City. You can walk around Long Beach during the day and watch the same Sysco truck supplying all of the various culinary establishments, many of them dishing out the same average American fare. That's not to say you can't find great food in Long Island; I learned to love raw clams and bluefish at a young age by eating around the fish shacks of the South Shore and the North Fork. And there's no better Sicilian pizza on earth than Umberto's in New Hyde Park. But still, those are exceptions.

The food is still a work in progress, but it's better than 95 percent of the Long Island venues phoning it in year after year.

So I'm pretty stoked that I found another exception. That restaurant is Platia in Syosset, a Greek spot located in a cursed location that has housed roughly a dozen or so restaurants over the last 16 years. The food is still a work in progress, but it's better than 95 percent of the Long Island venues phoning it in year after year. Fried calamari and octopus are both as tender as marshmallows. Grilled branzino in Nassau Country usually means a gnarly, desiccated filet. At Platia, it turns out to be something you'd find at Milos in New York: a whole fish, with flesh as soft as a pillow, drizzled with good olive oil. And a mixed grill for two is a study in gorgeously juicy beef and pork sausages (as well as pork chops and chicken kebabs as dry as jerky). This is the type of restaurant Long Island needs more of, and let the record state the young venue is operating at a higher level than the much older MP Taverna in Roslyn, helmed by Michael Psilakis, the guy who used to run the Michelin-starred Anthos in New York. So that's worth something! Sutton


Photo by Will Femia.

Five Leaves: If the temperature is above 40 degrees, all the tables outside of Five Leaves will be full of beautiful people. That's the rule. Miraculously, a table was empty on afternoon last week, so we decided to have a late lunch. We got fancy avocado toast and rosé, just like on Instagram. I also had an open-faced roasted lamb sandwich, which was a generous portion of thinly sliced mid-rare meat on a pita, with mint, pickled chiles, and a few other aromatics on top. Really good. Five Leaves reminds me of Nolita classic Cafe Gitane, in the sense that it's a pretty person hangout, but the food has integrity and the people that work there are really nice. — Morabito


Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue and Four and Twenty Blackbirds: OK, this micro-BBQ isn’t the best in Brooklyn, but if you find yourself in Gowanus, it will do just fine. The other day a friend and I were on the way to a show at Bell House and chowed down there. The brisket was as smoky as you might hope it would be, though a bit less fatty than you’d like. Smaller than most, the short ribs were nicely done and flaunted a pink smoke ring. There were all sorts of extraneous meats on the menu, but who cares when the core stuff is consistently decent? But what’s with those tiny, tiny rolls, metered out like they were made of gold? Presumably, they represent a sop to the anti-carb crowd.

I’d like to say we stopped for pie at Four and Twenty after the barbecue, but since it closes early, we actually ate our dessert first. The lemon chess pie was sublime, with a cloud of whipped cream on top, while the chocolate-peppercorn pie was equally tasty, though the Sichuan peppercorns had almost no effect on flavor or heat. They looked pretty dotting the dark chocolate filling, though. — Sietsema


GG's: I had never been to GG's until recently (although I do have a grandma's pie beach towel), and it's clear now that that was a huge mistake. Everything about GG's is ideal: The pizza is great, the cocktails are great, the waits are sometimes long but hey, they'll text you when your table is ready and there are plenty of cool bars (or late-night coffee/tea shops!) nearby. There's a kind of weird pomegranate burrata appetizer on the menu, but you shouldn't be ordering burrata anyway. Get a salad or some pasta instead. Also: It's on Seamless and I can vouch that the quality holds up even in a rainy day delivery. — Chopra


Top photo: Fritzl's Lunch Boz by Solares

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