RED STAR TOTS & MORE: Don’t get off the “F” Train until Bergen St.


I’ve lived in Manhattan for years and rarely go into Brooklyn. My Dad warned me that anywhere in Brooklyn is considered the jungle… and well, it’s been a decade+ since my Dad has been on the scene, so I’m here to talk about my trip into “the jungle”.

First off, the jungle does not exist. It’s full of hipsters, artisan cheese shops, and wine bars… and I’m not just talking about Williamsburg.

I took the F train to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn… I didn’t have to transfer… or take the L train… or the infamous G. It might’ve taken me +/- 20 minutes on the train from 23rd street to my destination.

I literally got onto the F train from Manhattan and got off at Bergen Street in Brooklyn. I walked 80 feet to my left, admired the cute little Mom & Pop building for a hot second, and then I stepped inside the Red Star Sandwich Shop where I was greeted by a gorgeous sandwich board with a variety of asian-american specials.

And I know what you’re thinking… “you went all the way to Brooklyn just to eat?”… annnndd yeahh, what’s new about that?

When I walked up to the counter, I knew exactly what I wanted to order. “I’ll have one of everything on the specials board and a little of this and a little of that, please.” All menu items are $10.00 or less- sandwiches range from $8.00-10.00 and then they have great specials like a small cup of handmade wontons for $1.00 with sandwich purchase. As I looked at menu prices, I thought to myself… am I in Chinatown? Wait, Chinatown isn’t even this affordable.

So I sat down and waited until my food was delivered to my table. Behold. 

For those of you who don’t know me that well, asian food isn’t my jam. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but curiosity got the best of me and here are my thoughts:

WONTON SOUP. Great broth- it’s not over salted with that MSG garbage and the wonton skins are homemade. I’d totally order a large bowl as a main entree on a cold day or when I’m craving clean comfort food. Soup of the Day is $4.25 // small bowl is $1.00 with any sandwich purchase (apparently, that means I’m not too broke for Brooklyn, woot)!

The MISO BLT could send customers (like myself) straight to heaven. Packed with QUALITY slabs of bacon, a great miso sauce, a perfectly fried egg and some greens for balance… my mind was completely blown. I think this could be renamed: THE PALEO DREAM. It’s $9.50 for the sandwich, the fried egg is 1.00 extra… DO NOT SKIP THE EGG.

UPDATE 3/2015: The Red Star Brothers took my suggestion and are offering the MISO BLT with the Fried Egg for $9.50 – and I quote, “because duhhhh…” ENJOY PRETTIES!

RED STAR TOTS!!!!! Following the sandwich, I ate an entire order of RED STAR TOTS… and it took everything in me to stop myself from ordering another batch. Napoleon Dynamite would literally travel cross-country for these bad boys. At $3.25/bowl, I’d say, “here’s $10.00, I’ll take 3 orders.”

I honestly think this could be the next craze. Everyone will be lining up for these tots like they do for cronuts… except tots are fried potatoes and that makes them even better.

MAC AND CHEESE. I think the most “asian-fusion” dish on the menu is their thick, creamy MAC AND CHEESE with chinese sausage. Adding in the chinese sausage may have been the best decision of my entire day. If they hadn’t suggested the sausage, I would *never, ever had thought to add it in. It’s $4.25 for the bowl, and just $0.50 extra for the sausage.

*FYI, it’s normal to see chinese sausage in Chinese eggs or vegetable dishes, but it just makes SO much sense to add this ingredient to this dish because it gives it texture and salt. Get the sausage, no questions asked.

GRILLED CHEESE. So I wasn’t going to say anything, but this is a great grilled cheese sandwich, like really great. Crispy outside, melty on the inside, sliced apples to compliment the gruyere cheese. Oh, and did I mention it’s only $4.75? CRAVE.

SANDWICHES. I’m not sure if you read the menu but did you know that every single sandwich can be made into a salad?! So freaking accommodating.

CONCEPT: Soooooo, at first glance you look at the board and you’re like, “Ok, I want a Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich and a side of tator tots. And a side of wontons. Wait… I can order tator tots, a bowl of wonton soup, AND grilled cheese?” GENIUS.

ASIAN-AMERICAN COMFORT FOOD: I spoke to Chef Gibson Ho about the Red Star BK concept and he explained that him and his brother Johnson decided to create asian-american comfort food for the public.

“When we were growing up, we’d snack on whatever was in the fridge- so we’d eat a bowl of white rice, and next to our rice was an even bigger bowl of Ore-Ida French Fries as a snack before dinner. The menu reflects stuff we like to eat from our past and present.”

Chef Gibson trained at ICC (formerly known as the French Culinary Institute) and has worked in the Ippudo, Landhaus and Momofuku Noodle Bar kitchens.


OVERALL: I love that RED STAR BK is family owned and operated in Boerum Hill by two smart men. The Red Star Brothers have completely impressed me with their flavor combinations (as well as their affordable menu prices). Boerum Hill is like my new favorite under-the-radar area (with the exception of Stinky Brooklyn). I plan on educating my Dad on the new Brooklyn scene by bringing him to Red Star via F-Train (which could be a hilarious blogpost in itself).

FINAL NOTE: I am a fan of Red Star BK. I even YELP’ed about it. My friends are kinda obsessed too. And I’d like to thank Gibson and Johnson’s parents’ for allowing them to eat Ore-Ida French Fries before dinner because now we have artisanal RED STAR TOTS. Make sure to order the tots twice and thank me later.

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