Mike W. asks: I’ve got a craving for a bloomin’ onion. Neither a brainstorm nor a Google search led me to where in NYC I can get one. The only results I found were at bad Times Square chain restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, which I try to avoid. There’s gotta be a bloomin’ onion served somewhere, perhaps at a bar (and if there’s not, there should be!) Please help me quench this craving.
Dear Mike W.: There are indeed a few bloomin’ onions scattered around the culinary landscape, some of them marginally better than the one at Outback Steakhouse, which has served as the prototype for many years. (In fact, “bloomin’ onion” is their copyrighted term.) I haven’t tasted all of these, though, so I can’t testify that it’s worth going any distance to get them.
Jay & Lloyd’s Kosher Deli (2718 Avenue U, Homecrest, Brooklyn, 718-891-5298) is a splendid, old-style Brooklyn deli with high-quality pastrami and corned beef, and the bloomin’ onion ($5.95) is one of their many odd noshes.
Salty Dog (7509 Third Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, 718-238-0030) is an institution that offers the onion ($7.50) among its apps, on an overambitious menu.
Dallas BBQ (261 Eighth Avenue, 212-462-0001, other locations) offers a “loaf” of onion rings ($5.99), which is basically a solid brick of allium you have to pick apart just as methodically as the bloomin’ onion. The flavor and texture is similar.
To me, good onion rings — if you can find them, and they’re very rare — can be better than a bloomin’ onion, and easier to eat. My favorite place to get them is Burger Heaven (291 Madison Avenue, 212-685-6250, other locations).
Thanks for your question!