American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation

Finding comfort food in Brooklyn

Posted by Joel Friedlander | 2 Comments

So, I don’t usually write restaurant reviews, but every once in a while one comes along that strikes a resonant chord.  The Grand Canyon Restaurant, 141 Montague Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201, was such a place for me.  Why?  Well, it’s about hamburgers!  You know what they are generally like: hard, compressed and tasteless.  This restaurant is different!

When I was a youth we would all squeeze ourselves into someone’s father’s convertible and drive with some young ladies over to a place called Jahns Ice Cream Parlour.  There was one in Herricks on Hillside Avenue in Nassau, one on Fordham Road in the Bronx, and one on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park in Queens.  In all of those places you would be seated and behind the counter there would be a huge mound of freshly ground meat which would be individually shaped into hamburgers and cooked over a “charcoal” grill.  They were delicious.  This would be followed up by the best ice cream around at that time.

I haven’t had such a burger at a restaurant for many years, until this afternoon at lunch time.  I had just left the Supreme Court in Kings County, where I was subjected to the judicial version of waterboarding, and needed nourishment and a calm place to sit.  Well, I wandered down Montague Street looking for a restaurant I knew, which is impossible in Brooklyn Heights because the places keep changing, when I saw this place that has been there for a long while, in which I had never dined.  It looks like an old fashioned diner.

Inside there are tables and counter seats and a menu that serves just about everything. I started with pea soup, and it tasted like real pea soup, not that jazzed up stuff that is available in most diners. It has a rough texture that comes when you make real pea soup. It was fine stuff.

The cheeseburger platter, which incidentally cost less than $8 and included large slices of tomato, lettuce, and fries, was fabulous. The meat literally melts in your mouth and is cooked to order. The fries were of the cottage variety, but very well done without even a hint of grease. The service was very attentive and pleasant. A very memorable place to eat. Andrew is the fellow in charge.


2 Responses to “Finding comfort food in Brooklyn”

  1. Grandpa
    March 19th, 2009 @

    In my day, we walked both hills upways in the snow backward for a licorice whip that cost a penny. But we didn’t call it a penny back then, but rather a Bryant. It was a joke about the Cross of Gold.

    Anyway, like I was saying, hamburgers hadn’t even been invented yet. But a friend of mine, Louis, said he heard from this other fellow, Louis, that they were doing this crazy stuff with ground meat and bread. Well, Louis not being one to take anything Louis said with anything by skeptism, put us all into the horseless carriage for a ride to the train depot, where we got into an overnight sleeper car headed for St. Louis. That’s where you had to go back in those days for a decent piece of meat….

  2. Matt Friedlander
    March 20th, 2009 @

    More reviews of the restaurant can be found here:

    Good review Dad, well done =)

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