Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Times Square, NY

Review by SuSu

In the Damon Runyan story which became Guys and Dolls, the gamblers congregate in Mindy's, an eatery fitted with booths, which serves cheesecake and strudel (Nathan Detroit tried to bet Sky Masterson which dessert was more popular on a given day) and other Jewish delicatessen/restaurant specialities. Mindy's is modeled on Leo Lindy's, a Broadway/Times Square/Great White Way mainstay where stars -- both major and minor -- are rumored to still congregate. The legend of the cranky, but funny, Jewish waiter is perpetuated here. These are the types of men (and women) who wait tables as a life-long career. They offer huge sandwiches named for entertainers and politicians (the Jackie Gleason, the Charlie Chaplin, the Ed Koch, etc.) and any meal, any time of day. But we normally go for the cheesecake.

There are actually many styles of cheesecake, the most famous being gelatine-based refrigerator pies or ricotta-based Italian-style baked doorstops. New York's is a Jewish style, dense, sweet, creamy, cream-cheese based cake with a baked, rather than cracker- or cookie-crumbed base. Lindy's makes a superlative one. And, what's better, the "fruit toppings" are not placed on the cake until it's ordered -- you order a slice, the pie-filling type topping is spooned on like a sauce, so you don't get that nasty coloring leaching into your perfect slice of cheesecake.

They do make good strudel, and the crust is not phyllo pastry. Though the Greek-origin pastry is perfectly adequate (and better and MUCH EASIER than from scratch) for most home cooking efforts, it's not really the same thing. Real strudel dough is very thin, stretchy and frangible, rather than shatteringly brittle. Lindy's uses real strudel dough, and though I pity the person who makes it, I'm eternally grateful for their efforts!

By the way, they do make decent burgers, sandwiches, etc. Their fries, I suspect, are cooked in beef fat, or some other high-molecular weight lipid, maybe Crisco. They are awesomely good and crispy. Also great blintzes -- they are properly pan-fried and smallish (two bites each). They aren't deep-fried like many other blintzes, and can be savory, to be eaten as a meal, or sweet.

By the way, Nathan Detroit (played by Frank Sinatra in the movie version), couldn't get Sky Masterson (played by Marlon Brando) to take that bet, in any case. Go have a slice of cheesecake, then go rent the DVD to figure out which bet Masterson DID take.

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