Ever heard of Greenpoint’s Provost Street? Here’s where it intersects with Greenpoint Avenue, on the way to Newtown Creek and the Queens frontier.
Sometimes it’s fun nosing out eateries not for the food, but for other features such as history, uniqueness, or — in this case — obscurity. I’d passed and re-passed the Pointview Deli and Restaurant on my bike and in cars at least a hundred times, but always on the way to somewhere else.
If you like to dine in the quiet, Pointview is the place.
I was with a friend a couple of days ago and I spotted it again: the tattered awning flapping in the wind, the less-than-inviting squatness and decrepitude, the general sense that the place was very old, but had either closed or was on the verge of closing.
The location of Pointview (255 Greenpoint Avenue, 718-389-3460) helped reinforce this feeling. It was across the street from a sewage treatment plant, down the road from a Con Ed facility that looked like a pair of shiny nuclear reactor towers, in the midst of one of the city’s more hardscrabble industrial areas.
“Is that place even open,” my riding companion wondered. “Gee, I’m not sure. I’m a little afraid to go in there.”
“Oh, c’mon,” she coaxed. A minute later we were inside, surveying the yellowing, backlit menu board, the endless glass cases fogged with grease or steam, and a line of rudimentary tables by the shrunken windows, which produced a view grim enough to make you put a gun to your head, but maybe not fire.
At the register was a Chinese woman, the current owner, seeming a little sheepish about the kingdom spread before her. A trio of Mexican guys milled around behind the counter. We were the only customers.
Burger deluxe and soup at Pointview will set you back far less than $10.
What’ll it be? The Wonder Woman or the Paisano?
It was clear from the menu that it was mainly a breakfast place that catered to factory workers and random people dashing in for coffee. Most of the commerce was carryout. The menu board listed way more things than the kitchen could probably make at this point. The Wonder Woman breakfast, for example: two eggs, sausage, cheese, butter, and jelly on a bagel. One of the lures on a sign outside had been the Farmer Boy Breakfast (and boy, you couldn’t get more un-farm-like than the landscape around here): two pancakes, one french toast, two slices of ham, sausage, one egg. (Don’t go wild with the eggs, now!)
To make a long story short, we sorted out our myriad options, and ordered. The food was quite good, in a diner sort of way. The hamburger deluxe ($4.95) spilled out of its seeded bun, with plenty of foliage to accompany it, and a generous dogpile of perfectly indifferent french fries. (Grab the ketchup.)
My friend enjoyed a nice chicken-quarter roasted with barbecue sauce, and then poached in steamtable steam, so it was so tender a toothless old man could enjoy it. She had a wonderful (and I’m not kidding) mélange of fresh vegetables nicely salted and maybe cooked with a little broth, which must have remained from some health-food era in the remote past. We shared a minestrone soup, one so impoverished that its only vegetables were celery and carrot, with elbow macaroni. Quite good, in a cold-day sort of way.
We finished up well satisfied, climbed on our bikes, and continued looking for the Polish restaurant we’d been searching for.
The chicken and mixed vegetables was the highlight of our meal.
Step inside, Farmer Boy!