After watching Adam Richman return to Brooklyn and Brennan & Carr on Man vs. Food, my family and I decided to take a trip in to see what the fuss was all about. On the show, the roast beef sandwiches looked like drippy, gooey gobs of greatness. They even had names for the way they prepared the roast beef. There was a dingle dangle (dipping only the beef in the au jus), a double dip (dipping the beef and then the whole sandwich in the au jus) and a Gargiulo Burger (they put roast beef as a topping on a cheeseburger). Or so they say…
When we got to Brennan & Carr we could tell we were in the right place by the “Hot Beef” sign on the roof. We were seated almost right away in a snug dining room with wood chairs and tables. We took a look at the menu on the wall and all decided what we would order. When it was my turn I convinced myself that I would use the correct terminology from the show to order my roast beef sandwich. The waiter asked me what I would have and I said, “I’ll have a cup of New England Clam Chowder and a roast beef sandwich with cheese…dingle dangle.” He responded with, “Oh, so you just want the roast beef dipped into the au jus? There’s no such thing as a “dingle dangle” and we don’t know why the owner said that on the show.” Well my face turned a little red and I said, “Of course I had to be the one to ask…” My family laughed at me and away he went to prepare the sandwich that I had ordered incorrectly. Yet another demonstration of how lessons from pop culture can go awry.
My soup came and it was lukewarm but tasty. Then my sandwich came and I ate it, still feeling rather silly. It was an OK sandwich but I found myself wondering why we took the drive to Brooklyn to try it. I would have rather gone to L&B and had some pizza like we had done a hundred times in the past.
The sandwich was moist with the juice from the roast beef and the cheese melted nicely on top of the stack of roast beef. I also found myself thinking I would have liked some kind of a spread on the roll, like a horseradish mayonnaise or a Dijon mustard. (I do understand that this idea may be slaughtering the traditional beef taste that they have made popular but I was slightly bored.)
Brennan & Carr is a restaurant that stays loyal to what they know and love. The location is worn and homey and the food keeps with tradition. They are so loyal to their roots that they still only take cash … interesting, but rare in 2010.
It is refreshing that there are still institutions that stake their allegiance to their character and their food, but I just find it unfortunate that Brennan & Carr lacks the whimsicality that makes places like this special for me. Sorry fans, but this is just one girl’s opinion.
Brennan & Carr, 3432 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 718.646.9559