Red Star Sandwich Shop

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Sandwiches, people love them, right? Sure. I’m actually not wild about them (shhhh don’t judge), but, if they’re delicious enough, you’ve got me. And, if a place is serving them with amazing sides? Ok, definitely in. Well, you’ll find all that at Red Star Sandwich Shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. This fast-casual spot is serving up a variety of delicious Asian-American sandwiches, along with some equally tasty sides. Oh, and they even have a great collection of board games to play while you eat. No one said they had to be for the kids. Being mainly veggie, they had me covered with different options, and I was pretty pumped.

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To start, I had the Seaweed Noodle Salad. It was the perfect little bowl to get as a side. It’s light, but still has a wonderfully delicate vinegar flavor, mixed with sesame seeds, that goes so well with the noodles, cabbage and seaweed.

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Next, I had their Tater Tots as another side. So, heads up, these are probably my most favorite tater tots I’ve eaten. Why? Well, because they’re amazingly awesome, and they’re scratch made. Forget those frozen tots you’ve had in school, and probably in some lazy restaurants, and focus in on these little guys. They’re perfectly crisp and golden brown on the outside, and then, the inside is basically like mashed potatoes. Yeah, you’re pretty much eating fried mashed potato balls, and it’s incredible. Get some of their chili sauce on the side, and it might be the best decision you make that day.

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Finally, I had their Fried Tofu Sandwich (sautéed shiitake mushroom, corn, mixed greets, sweet Dijon mustard). This was great. The tofu has a marinade, making it really flavorful. The shiitakes are kind of everything in this sandwich though. They’re tender and savory, and really go well with all the ingredients. I love corn, so you could literally throw that in any dish and I’d eat it, and the sweet mustard brought everything together really nicely.

The Shorts:
Name: Red Star Sandwich Shop
Location: 176 Smith Street, Brooklyn NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Absolutely. The staff is awesome, and the restaurant itself is open and airy and super inviting.
Would I recommend it? For sure. And get those tots now, because rumor on the street is, they might be taking them off the menu (insert panic here). So, eat them, and then sign a petition to keep them on the menu.

BIKINIS

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I love finding somewhat hidden gems around the city. And luckily, I found another, in Alphabet City, for brunch, BIKINIS. 

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First off, the name is pretty adorable, so, I knew we were off to a good start. This Spanish cuisine restaurant is small, yet very bright and charming. On the walls you’ll find quirky pictures and paintings, namely one of a hairy chested, mustachioed man. Everything on the menu is extremely affordable and sounded delicious.

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We were first brought out some complimentary little Mimosa shots. Not a bad way to start.

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Then, for my entree, I ordered the Verde Bikini (Barcelona style pressed sandwich made with challah bread, sautéed crimini mushrooms, organic catalan style spinach, pine nuts, raisins, roasted peppers, provolone cheese). Served with a mixed green salad, this was a really nice sandwich. Golden brown and crisp around the edges, this was more of a fork-and-knife sandwich for me. The ingredients go really nicely together, and the mix of textures and flavors made this really tasty. 

The Shorts:
Name: BIKINIS
Location: 56 Avenue C, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. The space is totally charming and the service was excellent.
Would I recommend it? Yes. They have a really nice menu, something for everyone, at really affordable prices, in a casual, cozy space. Just a heads up, they’re only open for dinner and tapas Tuesday-Sunday and brunch Saturday and Sunday.