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.

Joe’s Shanghai

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If you’re looking for some Soup Dumplings, Joe’s Shanghai will most likely be the Chinese restaurant to pop up at the top of the list. There are 3 locations, and I visited the one in Chinatown. 

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Although they’re best know for their Soup Dumplings, there’s an extensive menu of dishes to choose from. The restaurant is very modest, with a no frills vibe, so don’t expect anything swanky here. Yet, you’ll find the restaurant always full of every type of person just looking for some good food. The tables are communal, so, be prepared to dine with others and have the opportunity to strike up some fun conversation with some strangers. 

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I ordered their Squid with Salted Vegetable and Jalapeño. I really liked this dish a lot. Now, I couldn’t get an exact description of what the vegetables were (perhaps a language barrier), but, I would say there’s a strong possibility that it was seaweed and something similar to a picked relish. Either way, it was really tasty. The vegetables were indeed salty, but not overbearingly salty, and when combined with the spiciness of the jalapeño, and the mildness of the squid, it all combines very nicely. The squid was thickly cut and more tender than your run-of-the-mill calamari that you might get. It’s served with a side of white rice to balance out the dish. This is great as a dish to share along with another (most dishes are meant for family style serving), or, as an individual large portion. 

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And, some complimentary orange slices to to end on a sweet note.

The Shorts:
Name: Joe’s Shanghai
Location: 9 Pell Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. It’s totally unpretentious, with good hearty food. 
Would I recommend it? For sure. Just be prepared to wait a little bit for a table since it’s all first come, first serve.