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Northern Spy and Defonte's

We ate at Northern Spy when it first opened and forgot how good it was. You can apply all the labels about local foods but it is not fussy but satisfying and appealing.

I had the turkey sandwich which sounds bland but they slather on Big Ed's cheese, onion-jalapeno marmalade, and aioli all is forgiven. There is a salad on the side.

Mrs. Adu had a purslane salad which was crisp and also topped with Big Ed's cheese. I wonder if his sister Muffet makes the curds and whey.

We split french fries that were cooked in duck fat, that were tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. Perfect.

It was crowded for a Friday lunch.


I have written about Defonte's before. It was in Red Hook, Brooklyn for 75 years before it opened an outpost on Third Ave and 21 Street in Manhattan. They make sandwiches and all the sandwiches taste like old Brooklyn. In fact one sandwich (sangwitch, a Brooklyn alternative pronounciation) you rarely see any more, potato and egg. And then they have variations on that with red pepper and optional ham on top. They make great, great meatballs and even their roast beef is better than anyone else's.

While looking at the chalkboard, I noticed they had a sandwich called the "Greaseball." On the way out I spoke to the woman (older than 50) who was the cashier who was no doubt related to the owners one way or another. I know a family runs both places.

I told her that if I ordered a "greaseball" in Brooklyn, it would probably end in a fight. "You know, give me a meatball parm and melt the muzzie real good and a yeah, give me a "greaseball." Boom. The woman laughed and agreed it would be a problem on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn but in Manhattan it is cute. But even 18th Avenue is losing its Italian flavor and becoming more Asian.

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