1. Peter Lugar
178 Broadway between Bedford and Driggs Avenues
Williamsburg’s Peter Lugar’s has specialized in cured steaks for over a century, since opening in 1887. It is one of New York’s esteemed steak houses, ranked highly — often as New York's best steak house — by every New York restaurant guide. Specialties include melt-in-the-mouth steaks, aged on the premises, and served on plates so hot the meat keeps cooking at your table. Reservations must be made weeks in advance. The decor is informal, but meals are expensive, and cash only is accepted.
2. Farrell’s Bar (in Windsor Terrace)
215 Prospect Park West, at 16th Street
A classic Irish bar in Windsor Terrace, Farrell’s is old enough to have re-opened after Prohibition. (Some say it never quite closed.) Once a haven for firemen and the local working class Irish people who settled this neighborhood, it’s been used as a movie set on occasion. And, today it still draws a wonderfully mixed crowd.
3. DeFonte's of Brooklyn
(in Red Hook)
379 Columbia Street at Luquer Street
Dating back to 1922 from when they started making sandwiches to fuel Brooklyn waterfront dockworkers, DeFonte’s still builds, rather than makes, its classic Italian hero sandwiches. Off the beaten track in Red Hook, it remains a popular stop. While there's DeFonte's in Manhattan, now, too, somehow the food just isn't the same.
(in Downtown Brooklyn)
386 Flatbush Avenue at the corner of De Kalb Avenue
Still the quintessential brassy Brooklyn restaurant, Junior's in downtown Brooklyn often causes traffic jams on Flatbush Avenue, as people double-park to run inside and grab a sandwich and cheesecake. It opened in 1929, survived the Great Depression, and still draws an eclectic and diverse crowd, from cabbies to artists fresh from a performance at the nearby Brooklyn Academy of Music. Check out their huge sandwiches, great pickles, and, of course, classic cheesecakes.
And if you just can’t get there in person, you can order a cheesecake (but, alas, not a corned beef sandwich on rye with a side of pickles) for UPS delivery.
5. Nathan’s Famous Restaurant
(in Coney Island)
Surf Avenue near Stillwell Avenue,
Franchise, shmanchise. This is THE original Nathan’s. Brooklyn mavins contend that the fries, hot dogs, and corn on the cob here are just plain tastier than anything you might munch at some Nathan’s in a Midwest airport or mall. So breath the Coney Island air, and enjoy a dog. Meanwhile, you might imagine that very beach back in the days when it was jammed with throngs of people wearing old-fashioned long bathing suits, and joy-riders shrieking with fun on the Thunderbolt, the Mile Sky Chaser, and the Loop-o-Plane.