Brennan and Carr, located in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, has been serving their iconic roast beef sandwiches since 1938. Now owned by the Sullivan family, little has changed on the menu or inside the small Tudor-esque freestanding restaurant located on a busy intersection.
Tho' we were heading eastward towards the beach, I convinced Retro Roadhusband to take a Brooklyn exit for lunch. The stars aligned for us when we were able to find a space in their tiny parking lot.
While there is a takeout window, we needed to check out the place for ourselves and made our way inside the darkened restaurant.
Just past the cashier stand is the dining room that looks bigger from the inside than you would think from the outside. Wood timber pitched roof and wagon wheel lights, wood paneling and framed prints all give the place a vintage vibe.
The menu here is short and sweet - actually savory! You can see it on the wall or check your placemat.
FUNNY STORY: I’m sure we looked like tourists upon entering, in fact I was caught completely off guard by an older gent at the door who gruffly informed me I could not take a photo of the interior stained glass window depicting the restaurant (I literally jumped as he called out to me, hence the blurry photo)
It was only when I turned towards him, blanched with fear, that I realized he was smiling and joking with me. Ah, reminding me so much of the "funny" Irish uncles in our fam :-)
Fearful of the same type of “locals only” attitude in the dining room, I was delighted and relieved to find our white jacketed waiter both friendly and solicitous, helping us figure out how to order the famous roast beef sandwich. I was surprised to see the waiters wearing white jackets, but love when traditions like this live on!
You see, the sandwich itself is only one part of the allure of Brennan & Carr’s roast beef - the other ingredient that makes this a winning combo is their beef broth that you can get your sandwich dunked in (or dunk yourself.)
Depending on the dunking (once or twice) the savory and salty broth allows the flavor of the sandwich to blossom. Be forewarned, eating a dunked sandwich is a messy endeavor - keep napkins at the ready and don’t be ashamed to resort to fork and knife.
Trying to hit all the menu classics during one sitting, I cut a deal with Retro Roadhusband: I would get the roast beef sandwich (with cheese / cheeze) and he would get the Gargiulo burger (burger with roast beef, cheese and onions, “invented” by workers at the Gargiulo Restaurant nearby who would come here after work), we'd get a cup of beef broth so we could taste both dipped and undipped, and share the sandwiches. A win win situation for sure.
We were thoroughly stuffed by the end of it, though I wish had we had tummy room so I could've checked out their pie.
Note: Bud on tap is the only beer, they're open 'til midnight, and you pay at the counter.
This time as you leave, you can smile at the once gruff guy sitting there, knowing you somehow passed the test!