Suzanne Corso is the author of two feature film screenplays, has produced two documentaries and written one children’s book. Her first novel, Brooklyn Story, is available from Simon & Schuster. She currently lives in New York City.
Many of the Bensonhurst locations mentioned in my book have long since gone out of business, and the old Italian neighborhood has changed over the years. It is now home to many cultures, and you can smell and taste and the different flavors as you walk the streets. Even the local barber shops are not Italian-owned any longer, but you can still catch a glimpse of an old Italian lady dressed in black.
The five boroughs may be filled with wannabees, but one thing that remains real is the good food.
7001 18th Avenue
New York, NY 11204
What remains an all-time favorite, especially for the old timers, is hanging out at the local pastry and coffee shops. Back when I was growing up there, you could smell the espresso being brewed from blocks away. If you were pretty, you would get a free coffee and a small Neapolitan pastry. Today, the greatest cream-filled cannoli you can imagine can still be found at Villabate Alba, which has been around for over 80 years and is conveniently located on 18th Avenue and 70th Street, up the block from where I used to live.
2725 86th St
(between 10th St & 11th St)
Brooklyn, NY 11223
My favorite place for pizza in Brooklyn is L&B Spumoni Gardens, located in the heart of Bensonhurst, where my novel Brooklyn Story is set. The pizza has a thick chewy crust with crispy ends and is never overcooked. The sauce is so tangy and full of zest that you want to eat the entire pie – right out of the oven.
19 Old Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Another of my local favorites is Grimaldi’s Pizza, conveniently located right under the Brooklyn Bridge, with a magical view of the bridge.
Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Looking for mob atmosphere? Hungry for a juicy steak? The Brooklyn Peter Luger location is tough to beat when it comes to best steakhouses in the city.
210 East 46th Street
New York, NY 10017-2903
One place that can surpass Peter Luger’s is Spark’s steakhouse, which is “over the bridge” in Manhattan. Spark’s even had a shooting outside its doors, but, hey, everyone has to eat – even hit men. A delicious steak for two comes with creamed spinach and crispy hash browns, and of course their impeccable wine list, like heaven with grapes.
455 East 114th St.
New York, NY 10029
If you want to see what Wall Streeters and mobsters have in common, see if you can get a reservation at Rao’s in East Harlem. Still a prime spot for powerful people, RAO’s has a fabulous atmosphere and is actually quite intimate. The owners are gracious and the magical dishes, made year after year, explode in your mouth with such flavor, especially the lemon chicken and pasta dishes!