Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

Apr 22nd, 2007, 01:37 PM
  #1  
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Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

For some reason we always seem to run out of time and never make it up to Arthur Avenue, so on our next trip, that's a priority. I'm really thinking we might spend the afternoon at the Bronx zoo (yes, we are zoo people), then head over to Arthur Avenue and do some "sightseeing" and have a fairly early dinner. I have a good map, but how is the walk from the zoo to say, Arthur and Crescent? Any particular walking route to take?
Are the stores and markets open in the early evenings?
Roberto's the number one choice for dinner for two of us?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 02:56 AM
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This might work for you if you go on a weekend.
http://www.ilovethebronx.com/bronxtrolley.asp
mclaurie is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 04:13 AM
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I saw that mclaurie, but since the zoo is probably more crowded on weekends in summer, and there isn't much on Sunday on Arthur Avenue apparently, I think we need to do a weekday.
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 05:37 AM
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mp
 
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Patrick, if you go to www.hopstop.com and put in the Bronx zoo and say, Roberto's Restaurant at 603 Crescent Avenue in the bronx (which is one of the more popular restaurants in the Italian neighborhood there) and click walking only as a means of transportaion, you will get walking directions - it is less than a mile . . and will land you smack dab where you want to be . . .
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 05:40 AM
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Well, now that I actually READ you questions . . . sorry . . .
yes, it's a nice walk, a little funky on some blocks, but not bad . . . most of the stores are open until 7PM or so . . . I haven't actually eaten at Roberto's but friends I respect have and they love it, for that sort of 'red sauce' Italian-American fod . . .
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 05:44 AM
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Thanks, mp. Yes, that was my question. I have a good walking map, but trying to figure if it was walking the neighborhoods of street gangs, or pleasant and safe enough.

I assumed "red sauce Italian" is required eating at Arthur Avenue. LOL
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:00 AM
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NeoPat,

If it is "red sauce" Italian that you're gearing up for in Arthur Avenue, then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed if you don't find it at Roberto's.

For the red sauce stuff, go to Dominick's on Arthur Ave.
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:05 AM
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My favorite Neapolitan on Arthur Avenue is Mario's. If you don't see exactly what you want on the menu, just ask.

Dominick's is fantastic, of course, but with communal tables and a boisterous atmosphere, it's not for everybody on a given visit.
Gekko is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Dominicks is great, but unless they've changed in the past year or so, at lunch it was always no menus, no prices, and cash only - the food is fabulous - (esp the stuffed artichoke and chicken scarpiello) and we'd order those and then take whatever the waiter told us was good - that and wine, for lunch, we've been charged anywhere from 40 ppp to 60 and once a couple next to friends of ours was charged 100 when they were charged 45 and they ate far less than our friends (who one of happens to eat there fairly frequently) - so we always laughed that you were charged either by how much they just happened to like you or if they recognize you - now, maybe this isn't true, and maybe it was just these collective experiences, but thought I'd pass it along. When asked what do I owe you, it seems the waiter thinks for a minute and comes up with his price - for you... It's an experience and it is communal tables if you don't like that type of dining too for lunch you also have to get there either early or late, in our experience.

I don't know about evening or dinner b/c it is lunch and then food shopping and that completes the visit.

The walking is safe, but I don't know what kind of stores you are looking for -from what I've seen it's a neighborhood area with lots of neighborhood stores (hardware, 5 and dime type) but not clothes, etc but GREAT food stores - great to go and buy oils and cheeses and raviolis, etc - but you have to do that after lunch so you can then get any perishables home or keep the food shopping to non-perishables.

So , imo, I am not sure what there would be to sight see other than a marvelous old school italian neighborhood , which is great - but if there are things I've missed I want to know too !! So I am going to keep my eyes on this thread for when I return to NYC in June.....

As you said, you can walk from the Bronx zoo and the Botanical gardens, which if you haven't done that yet are amazing - the glass conservatory, the grounds, the cafe, that is am amazing day in good weather.

escargot is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Yes, it was the food stores and Italian markets I was interested in.

I think you've jogged a memory about Dominick's. I always remember the story about (but not the name of the place) that friends told me they went to in that area because everybody raved. They weren't terribly hungy and had some house wine, a simple antipasta plate and two pastas. There was no menu. The food was good but "old fashioned" they said, but when the bill came they nearly fell off their seats as it was something like $150. They said there must be some mistake, and the waiter came and made a big scene. They laughed about it later, but always said, "don't eat if they don't have a menu!" What you say, makes it sound like it could be that place.

Meanwhile, BillBoy, could you translate this post: "If it is "red sauce" Italian that you're gearing up for in Arthur Avenue, then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed if you don't find it at Roberto's."

What does that mean? We won't find it at Roberto's?
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Yes Neo, sounds like the same place doesn't it -
Which I think is awful, but i suppose you get away with what you can get away with ... which is why I will only go with this one friend who goes there enough and they like her
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 10:13 AM
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I've dined at Dominick's many, many times and have never been surprised by the bill ... but I don't recall if that's because I was told the prices in advance or because the bill was reasonable for what we ordered.

Regardless, when in doubt, ask.

Gekko is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 11:29 AM
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NeoPat:

Roberto's is widely regarded and viewed as doing more creative dishes, or more cutting edge, than what would be conventionally referred to here as “red sauce” Italian-American fare. It is far more refined in dish execution and overall ambiance. Dominick’s theme relies more on the traditional family and/or communal dining with a lot of standard red sauce and heavy garlic pasta and meat dishes. Don’t get me wrong, but, we’ve eaten at Dominick’s a few times and we’ve never gone away hungry nor dissatisfied and we’ve never had issues with our bills.

Anyway, with the numerous times that we’ve dined at Roberto’s, we’ve never had any dish that we didn’t like. An example would be the radiatore with cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese that were all cooked and served in aluminum foil. This is so simple, yet the orgy of flavors are nicely mingled and very complementary.

If they have it, the Buratta with arugula, split capers and cherry tomatoes is a must appetizer.

We once ordered a risotto with smoked duck and asparagus tips. This terrific risotto looked and tasted different from most of the other risotto that I’ve had elsewhere where it is not overly creamy.

Roberto’s does fish and seafood very well, too. I once had a swordfish and smoked shrimp in brandy sauce that was simply outstanding.
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Wow. Was I mixed up. First of all Roberto's is not what I thought it was. Sounds wonderful, but we were thinking the plates of spaghetti and meatballs and red sauce or veal parm sort of place. I mean we have lots of good "cutting edge" Italian, and were looking for the more gritty old fashioned red sauce place for fun. But more importantly, I emailed my friend with the bad experience and guess what -- it wasn't Dominick's, it was Roberto's! She said they had told them they didn't need a menu and they'd take care of them. She said they had the antipasta and then two rather basic pasta dishes, along with two glasses (or carafe?) of chianti. They were shocked by the $150 bill for that, but mostly because they were told that's the place for "cheap Italian" and it clearly wasn't.
Meanwhile, another friend whose mother was born and raised in the neighborhood swears the place we want is probably Mario's. Any comment there?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Neo - up above in previous post Gekko suggested Mario's -
I also talked to my friend who eats fairly often at Dominicks and she said she almost never eats there that she doesn't see someone get shocked at their bill and has never seen what she considers 'equal billing for all' - so I would say Mario's it is for what you are looking for -
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 03:29 PM
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mp
 
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Oh patrick, I'm sorry - I got it wrong - it IS Mario's that's the "classic" Italian-American and Roberto's is more "new wave" - bill-boy is absolutely right - I just emailed my friend who said the loves the lasagna and the chicken parm there . . . I'm really sorry - I'm glad bill-boy caught that!
A website you might like is: http://arthuravenuebronx.com
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Locals who know and love good Italians are all very well aware that the physical menu at Roberto's is simply a token formality. We all order from the specials of the day that's written on the blackboards that are all over the restaurants, as well as recited by the wait staff. Prices are CLEARLY indicated on the blackboards. Discriminating New Yorkers who know good Italian simply regard Roberto's as either the BEST or one of the top 3 in the metro area.

It would be easier for you to get a table at Mario's as it is the one with no lines and tables are aplenty. I suspect the food there would be good as Mario's was previously regarded as the ONE to go to prior to the establishment of Roberto's.

Dominick's is also good, a good red sauce place. Same thing about the token menu. Locals order from the specials of the day and we all ask about the prices while we order.

But if I'm from out of town and trekked all the way to the Bronx Little Italy, I wouldn't pass up Roberto's. BTW, if you decide on Roberto's and went there after 6:30 pm, be prepared to wait at least an hour for a table. Well, there's always a table at Mario's if you can't wait.

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Apr 23rd, 2007, 03:56 PM
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I had never been to Arthur Ave before but on Easter Weekend my family went to the Botanical Garden with a family member who grew up in the Bronx. He brought us to Marios. We had a large party and everyone enjoyed the food and the experience. It was pretty basic "American Italian" but good. I ordered something not even on the menu because I wanted sauteed spinach and chicken.
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:41 PM
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Thanks for all the complete description, but the more you talk the less I want to go to Roberto's. Why? I go to a lot of wonderful Italian "modern" restaurants with great food, both at home and everywhere I travel. Roberto's may even be better than most, but when I travel I like to get what I can't get at home. I honestly don't know where I could even find spaghetti with meatballs at home unless it would be Olive Garden, and I don't think that's what a place like Mario's is. At least I hope not. For some reason I have this thing about going to Arthur Avenue and feel like I'm dining out in the 1950's not 2007. In fact that's kind of the reason for wanting to go there.
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:11 PM
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Just like I wrote in my first post - if it's "red sauce American-Italian" that you want, then Roberto's is not for you. In that case, why bother eating in the Bronx, when these are readily available in most Manhattan Italian restaurants. If it is the Bronx Little Italy ambiance you are after, then stick with Mario's or Dominick's.

BTW, my San Francisco born-and-bred friends used to say the same thing about why bother with cutting edge Italian restaurants outside of SF when we had Delfina, Quince and Oliveto. After trying Babbo, Lupa, L'Incontro in Queens and Roberto's, they now know what truly good and wonderful Italian restaurants should be, at least within the United States.
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