Recently Jacob Da Jew had a post putting the two biggest rivals in falafel head to head in a contest. Olympic Pita beat out Famous Pita in a close competition of pita bread and fried eggplant. Now I understand Subsational and Burgers Bar are not the same exact restaurants, but their popularity, value and close proximity make them good restaurants to debate their goodness.
I like cheap food, it fills me up, tastes good and when its time to pay I don’t mutter any holy craps under my breath. It is understandable that cheap food doesn’t bring the frills of watching awkward shidduch dates and watching sheitle hookers have a ladies night out- but on the other hand the low class clientele that patronizes cheap food establishments, the tight pants hoes and the yeshiva hockers make the experience a memorable one. And when its all said and done- it feels pretty good to be fully satiated on a quarter of the price.
Subsational (SS) is known for its dirty nastiness which they say translates into great food somehow- maybe its all those chicken breasts that fall onto the floor and picked up again bearing all the spices and other stuff that was on the floor, or maybe it’s the 20 people crowded into the cooking area that resembles a toll booth, whatever it may be- the food does rock at this establishment known for its Syrian nymph girls that have jeans tight enough to stop your arteries.
The narrow walkway to get in is a pain and during the Thursday evening rush resembles opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Not only can one not move anywhere, they are usually hit in the face by hockers thrusting their little receipts in the air while screaming to their wives on their blackberries. Instead of sitting down and waiting nicely for the fat lady who hands your items through the teller window that is smeared with years of grease and heavy breathing- these impatient dudes wave their number slips in the air while block the exit and entry. If the frequent fires that constantly erupt on the grill were ever to get out of control- we could have a another Great White fiasco minus the 80s metal aspect and trading the Harley guys for Syrian guys with slicked back hair who are trying to hard to be Italian.
The food as SS is good even great by my standards, but it is not a pleasant eating experience. The dirt and crusty feel, combined with the poor lighting and wobbly tables make for the exact type of place you do not want to take a first date. If watching hoes, hockers and dirty Chassidim is your thing- then this may be the place for you. The bread and the sandwiches are also top notch- although my friends who patronize the Prime Grill and Wolf and Lamb tend to disagree, the stomach cramps and gastrointestinal nightmares are the norm of this sort of food and in no way are a direct result of the soap-less bathrooms.
Burgers Bar (BB) is also known for similar reasons- except that its clean- or at least clean looking. I was in Israel when BB was becoming well known and used to eat by them all the time. Their fries are “real” made with cut up potatoes instead of those frozen ones and the burgers although being frozen patties always come out good- except when they are raw. I think the customizability is what people like best. Not only do folks from Brooklyn think it’s the capitol of the world, but they also act like pricks in restaurants- frequently yelling at the person behind the counter when things aren’t how they want. In BB they have taken the concept of customer service beyond the norm- note that this is when it is not resembling a free sushi Kiddush- you get your choice of sauce, they load on the fried onions and all the veggies and extras are had at no extra charge. Some restaurants charge an arm and a leg for extras like pickles, fried onions and sauce. BB has all you can eat of the extras free, I constantly go up asking for more sauce, pickles and fried onions.
The lighting and general seating arrangement makes a great leap forward in BB compared to SS. It is brightly lit, the tables are solid and cleaned off quickly and the general atmosphere resembles pleasantness rather then the livestock auction of Subsational. The clientele is general one notch above that of SS, you do have some of the overflow switching off. For instance the service is much quicker in SS, so when it is a zoo in BB I jump over to SS. I do feel more satisfied after BB and I think it has something to do with the general eating experience more then the food.
You see at BB you don’t feel rushed and cramped like in SS, and the clientele is usually a little less rowdy allowing you to sit back and enjoy yourself. There is also outdoor seating and the food generally presents itself more nicely. Like instead of a wax paper wrapped greasy sandwich resembling dog doo, you get a nice full burger with overflowing amounts of “fresh looking” veggies and all the different sauces you can gorge yourself on. They do say that presentation counts and this is where BB excels in my opinion. It happens to be that if you’re like me, presentation is secondary. Good food, is well, good food and generally the people who patronize these restaurants regularly tend to not care about presentation. These two restaurants are like the white trash eateries of non-heimishe Brooklyn. Heimishe in general is really a code word for ghetto, cheap and white trash as I have stated before in my charedim are like rednecks post.
It is a tough one because both restaurants have so much to offer. I would venture to say based on food and people watching alone that Subsational beats out Burgers Bar. The people are wackier to watch and the food choice outflanks Burgers Bars’ small menu. On the other hand once you factor in general eating experience and service Burgers Bar would definitely make me feel more confident that I didn’t get food poisoning and that I had a better eating experience.
What do you think???