Southern Brooklyn

Brennan & Carr’s Roast Beef Makes List Of City’s Most Iconic Meat Dishes

Source: wallyg/Flickr

Big ups to Brennan & Carr, featured this week in Eater NY’s roundup of New York City’s 21 most iconic meat dishes.

The 3424 Nostrand Avenue business has been serving up hot beef dipped in broth and slapped on a bun for 76 years, and remains a family institution. It’s a frequent competitor for best roast beef in the city and is locked in fierce competition for that title with Roll-N-Roaster. Undisputed, though, is that our area has the city’s best roast beef. Just which of the two locales dishes it up is an internecine battle we’ll watch from the sidelines, thank you very much.

Anyway, Eater, having to explain the quirky, exotic behaviors of native Southern Brooklynites to New York City’s army of transplanted foodies, goes into anthropologist mode:

[Brennan & Carr serves] a roast beef-filled Kaiser bun that’s liberally doused in a thin, salty liquid known as “the broth.” Many customers choose to get this sandwich double dipped, while others order this same sandwich with cheese whiz.

Mhm, yes. And some who order it can even use sign language to demand a banana.

Anyway, Brennan & Carr contends with Nathan’s Famous hot dogs as the cheapest items on the list, which also includes a $145 côte de boeuf and the Peter Luger porterhouse. That’s some fine company.

Now, a question nearly as eternal as which local roast beefery is the best: what neighborhood is Brennan & Carr in? At Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U, it’s solidly Homecrest in my book, which, for lack of any stature as an actual neighborhood, passes as Sheepshead Bay. But Marine Park residents have for years tried to claim it as their own. Eater refers to the restaurant as a “beloved Gravesend institution,” which makes me wonder if they’re using a mid-19th Century map, and others still have called it – gah – Midwood!


[Other Brennan & Carr shout-outs we’ve covered: Eater NY in 2011, Man v Food’s Adam Richman gives some praise, Urban Spoon names it the top neighborhood restaurant in 2011]

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  1. U and Nostrand is still Sheepshead Bay, Sheepshead Bay stretches to Knap Street. Gerritsen Beach doesn’t start till Knapp and Gerritsen intersect. They don’t get to snag a piece of Sheepshead just cause they want too.

    Homecrest is Ave T, Ave U could be considered the Border to Homecrest/Sheepshead/Madison (depending which length we’re on).

  2. I knew you’d have what to say about this. There is no question that you, Arthur Borko, feel passionate about neighborhood borders. 🙂

    Also, maybe it’s my own made up in my mind borders, but I’ve always felt that Marine Park was bound by Nostrand and Flatbush Avenues, starting at Nostrand and U and stretching northward to Kings Highway, and stretching up from Toys ‘R’ Us along Flatbush Avenue to Flatlands Avenue / around Beth Israel Hospital.

  3. I usually refer to that corner as the intersection of Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay. I consider Ave T and Nostrand part of Marine Park, so why not one block up to snag up B&C? 🙂

  4. Considering that it sits almost at the terminus of Gravesend Neck Road, I’d say Gravesend is ok. It’s closer to Marine Park than Sheepshead Bay in any case.

  5. Roll n roaster has good food but when it comes to classic roast beef on a bun. Brennan n Carr is king. Roll n Roaster roast beef is just to dry and lacks the signature beef broth
    Now I made myself hungry. Off to Brennan n Carr lol

  6. I tell my out of town guests that B and C is on the Sheepshead Bay-Marine Park frontier, and since it is on the west side of Nostrand Avenue, it’s in Sheepshead Bay. As for Homecrest, I heard that was a realtor’s made up name, and anyways the original epi-center of Homecrest was that big ugly post office on Avenue U and Ocean Avenue (now Rite Aide). No matter what, B&C whups Roller Rooster like Germany whupped Brazil.

  7. It’s definitely not Homecrest. I think it’s on the border between Sheepshead Bay and Marine Park. I think Marine Park should lay claim, since Sheepshead has Roll N’ Roaster. In either case no matter where it is, Brennan and Carr beats Roll N’ Roaster every day in my book!

  8. Avenue U & Nostrand was the end of the trolley line, the turn around tracks are still under the pavement behind Duane Reade, when it used to be Bohack’s supermarket, and still used saw dust on the floor for the blood from the butcher.

    Every real estate agency seems to have different ideas of the border lines of neighborhoods, as well as civic associations, political districts, school districts, and traditional maps…it’s all so weird. The old storefronts on Ave.U where JP’s bar is the last holdout, are also on a slant that followed the line of Neck Road, probably all the way up to Fillmore Avenue before Marine Park was landfilled in.

  9. Number 1 — It’s Sheepshead Bay. Hell, I didn’t even know that Homecrest existed as a neighborhood until my sister worked at a camp in that area, over 20 years ago (then again, I’m from Canarsie, originally).

    Number 2 — This probably should’ve been #1, but Brennan & Carr DOES NOT USE CHEESE WHIZ, they use American Cheese last I checked. It’s Roll-N-Roaster that uses “Cheez”, per the description on their menu.

  10. Technically, American cheese is not really a “cheese” either. Not in the natural sense of the word “cheese,” at least.

  11. Brennan and Carr is in sheepshead. Marine Park (resident of 36 years) is bordered by Flatbush-Gerritsen aves and Kings Highway to avenue U. No where near B&C. Bread is better at Roll-n-roaster, meat is better at B&C.

  12. After reading this discussion about how B&C is better than R&R, I beg to differ.
    I have been a loyal R&R customer for years. I decided to try B&C today since the RB is what they are famous for. When I ordered my sandwitch, the guy at the counter took “cold” roast beef, dunked it into some hot gravy and then dunked the top bun. I have to say that the sandwitch is sub-par compared to R&R. 1) the roast beef on the inside was still cold, 2) the bread was soggy like it was left out in the rain. Conclusion: im sticking with R&R…..I honestly do not see what people like about B&C RB sandwitches.

  13. I agree. B&C used to be superior YEARS ago – not anymore. I’ll take R&R over B&C any day.

    I grew up a few blocks from B&C. Two of my friend’s fathers were career waiters there (20+ years each). Maybe that was the secret – employees that cared.

  14. It’s not Homecrest. The postal zone extends outside the boundaries of that area. It could be Kings Bay, or borderline Madison.

    But it is also Sheepshead Bay.

  15. if you go by google maps sheepshead bay covers a large chunk of the area up to av p and nostrand. which is not sheepshead bay in my opinion

  16. its like the area mapleton near 60th street where maple lanes was. a tiny little area. most dont know to call it by the actual area

  17. It is Sheepshead Bay end of discussion! The borderline betwween Sheepshead and Marine Park is clearly Gerritsen avenue.

  18. Luane, that is pretty impressive research . I thought the sign on the door said it was the Homecrest Station and that Brooklyn, 35 was the Sheepshead Bay Station whose loading bays are on Avenue Z and E 19 Street,

  19. Trying to refresh my memory. I believe that Homecrest was separated from Sheepshead Bay in either 1952 or 53.

    That they gave the new division the number 29, and changed the number for Sheepshead Bay is a bit confusing.

  20. Homecrest runs down as far as Avenue V. The original Harbor and Suburban development went that far south, though no further east than Ocean Avenue.

    Homecrest was far from being the only development in the area. But the names of others, such as Yale Park, Sheepshead Bay Park, and Kingsboro have been long forgotten

    The map dates from 1911


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