Bobbi’s Italian Beef
Eating at Bobbi’s Italian Beef in Carroll Gardens feels like riding an antique car through a wormhole and ending up in the 80s. Vintage Vienna Beef posters line the walls, old movies loop on the TV, and the booth seating will remind you of going on pizza dates as a teenager. As the name suggests, Italian Beef is the specialty here, and it’s some of the best you can get in New York.
Bobbi’s isn’t the only midwestern transplant restaurant in NYC, but what makes them unique is just how much Chicago food they’ve brought out east. There’s the Italian beef in both standard and cheesy styles, tavern-style pizza, and Supreme Tamales. They also make great Chicago dogs, prepared according to a strict set of rules laid out in that Vienna Beef diagram on the wall. It’s fun comfort food done well, but the reason to come here goes beyond what shows up on the red plastic tray they’ll bring to your table.
Nostalgia is a main ingredient in everything at Bobbi’s, from the personal pan pizzas that will remind 90s kids of Book It! to the coin-operated machines in the front that dispense tiny prints by local Brooklyn artists. The space is a throwback to slice shops and sandwich joints from decades gone by, with a few modern touches. The posters on the walls are vintage, but the hand-drawn art covering each tabletop feels contemporary. It makes this place equally good for a family dinner after a soccer game or a lowkey date night.
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The Italian Beef sandwich at Bobbi’s is huge, wet, and perfectly messy. If you can manage to eat this without a fork and knife, we salute you. They’ll ask you whether you want hot or sweet peppers. The correct answer is both.
Bobbi's makes a textbook Chicago dog, and whether you've never had one before or have fond memories of eating one in the Windy City, it's worth coming here to get it. The ratios are spot on, which is what this style is all about.
Chili Cheese Dog
The Vienna Beef hot dog has enough snap and flavor to stand up against the massive amounts of chili and hot cheese poured on top. We're not sure what kind of dark magic is used to prevent the bun from getting soggy, but we're thankful for it.
Tavern-style pizza should feel like eating cheese and crackers, but hot. The crust here is a tad thick, but this is a Chicago-style pizza in Brooklyn, so the rules can bend a little. Our favorite way to order this is to get a cheese pie with giardiniera on top.
There are a bunch of pretty good cold Italian-style sandwiches on the menu at Bobbi’s, but this take on the muffeleta is our favorite. The spicy olive tapenade is a nice touch.