Best Place to Get a Whiskey, Up, With No Bullshit

The Thin Man

The Thin Man
Danielle Lirette
Here's the straight skinny: When you arrive at the Thin Man, you may have this narrow bar to yourself. But sit awhile, and other people are bound to show up. We've found ourselves sharing the bar with bikers and think-tank types, drunken poets, the young and the restless, the old and the restless, and at least one professional bounty hunter on the mend. The one thing all these disparate characters had in common: a serious interest in just drinking. No one goes here for a fashion show; it's not a meat market, and no one cares what you just had pierced. But if you want to kill a couple of hours (and a few of those weaker brain cells) with some long-pour highballs and a little adult conversation, the Thin Man is where it's at.
We know: The world can be a scary place sometimes. And whether you're eating to

dull the pain of a broken heart, your vanishing 401K or just the sorry state of the world in general, Sam's No. 3 is sure to have something in the kitchen that'll fill you up right. The menu is the size of a dimestore romance novel, and it's filled with comforting chow from places as disparate as Coney Island and the Baja Strait. Sam's does chili dogs, breakfast burritos, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, sloppy burgers, root beer floats and Mile-Hi banana splits -- all cheap and deeply satisfying. Plus, they whip up a thick caramel milkshake so good you should be able to charge it to your health insurance as a form of therapy.

Sam's No. 3
Courtesy of Sam's No. 3
We know: The world can be a scary place sometimes. And whether you're eating to

dull the pain of a broken heart, your vanishing 401K or just the sorry state of the world in general, Sam's No. 3 is sure to have something in the kitchen that'll fill you up right. The menu is the size of a dimestore romance novel, and it's filled with comforting chow from places as disparate as Coney Island and the Baja Strait. Sam's does chili dogs, breakfast burritos, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, sloppy burgers, root beer floats and Mile-Hi banana splits -- all cheap and deeply satisfying. Plus, they whip up a thick caramel milkshake so good you should be able to charge it to your health insurance as a form of therapy.

From its little outpost in Five Points, Tom's serves up the most comforting lunches in town. Mom-style meatloaf, Dixie-fried catfish and thick slabs of various meats are accessorized with wholesome sides; the choice extras include jalapeño corn bread, banana pudding and sweet-potato pie. Tom's wonders draw loyal diners of every demographic, proof that down-home cooking is one of society's great cultural unifiers.


From its little outpost in Five Points, Tom's serves up the most comforting lunches in town. Mom-style meatloaf, Dixie-fried catfish and thick slabs of various meats are accessorized with wholesome sides; the choice extras include jalapeo corn bread, banana pudding and sweet-potato pie. Tom's wonders draw loyal diners of every demographic, proof that down-home cooking is one of society's great cultural unifiers.
These days it seems like everyone's trying to remake the classics, and while there's nothing wrong with adding the occasional hip twist to a perennial favorite, sometimes you just want good, old-fashioned mac 'n' cheese. And when you do, Cracker Barrel still makes the best. No Gruyère, no truffles, no bell-pepper brunoise or anything else weird: This simple, savory side dish consists of nothing trickier than a gooey yellow cheese sauce over soft elbows. Sure, Cracker Barrel is a chain, but it's a chain that does nothing but try to cook like grandma used to - so it's bound to get something right once in a while.


Cracker Barrel
These days it seems like everyone's trying to remake the classics, and while there's nothing wrong with adding the occasional hip twist to a perennial favorite, sometimes you just want good, old-fashioned mac 'n' cheese. And when you do, Cracker Barrel still makes the best. No Gruyère, no truffles, no bell-pepper brunoise or anything else weird: This simple, savory side dish consists of nothing trickier than a gooey yellow cheese sauce over soft elbows. Sure, Cracker Barrel is a chain, but it's a chain that does nothing but try to cook like grandma used to - so it's bound to get something right once in a while.
We don't even want to know how many grams of fat might be in Bob's Favorite, a gigantic, creamy-cheesy-buttery mess of a culinary masterpiece, but with a taste this good, who cares? The thick cream sauce (made with American, real mozzarella and shaved parmesan cheese) is the kind you want to mop up with your fingers before they take away your plate. If it makes you feel better, pretend you ordered Bob's Favorite for the two chicken breasts and asparagus spears that happen to come with the sauce. But whatever you do, don't let those despicable dietetic dictators keep you from enjoying this dish. Eat well and be happy...like Bob.


Cafe Jordano
We don't even want to know how many grams of fat might be in Bob's Favorite, a gigantic, creamy-cheesy-buttery mess of a culinary masterpiece, but with a taste this good, who cares? The thick cream sauce (made with American, real mozzarella and shaved parmesan cheese) is the kind you want to mop up with your fingers before they take away your plate. If it makes you feel better, pretend you ordered Bob's Favorite for the two chicken breasts and asparagus spears that happen to come with the sauce. But whatever you do, don't let those despicable dietetic dictators keep you from enjoying this dish. Eat well and be happy...like Bob.
There are only two ways to do mashed potatoes: the right way and the wrong way. Most people think theirs are done the right way, and -- sorry to say -- most people are wrong. Potatoes, butter, cream and salt: These are the only necessary elements in making proper mashers, and at Astoria Restaurant -- an unbelievably authentic Eastern Russian joint -- proper mashers are what's being served on nearly every plate of good, solid Russian comfort food. There may be a place for Maytag bleu, chives and bacon, but a mound of spuds sitting beside a simple rack of lamb or thick, meaty stroganoff is not that place. So in praise of simple pleasures, this year the Oscar goes to Astoria for its uncomplicated 'taters: thick, lumpy, warm and filling, folded in with cold butter and nothing else.

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