One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. It would seem this applies to Brooklyn restaurants too, after a column published on Eater’s New York City page generated a fierce disagreement about what is authentic, what is pretentious, and how food may or may not factor into a distinction between the two.
It started innocently enough in Brooks of Sheffield’s column “who goes there?” that examines establishments that have perhaps “mysteriously” survived the eras from which they were born and specifically, what fuels an unlikely longevity.
This time Brooks had chosen to write about Two Toms, at 255 Third ave in Gowanus, which reportedly still serves the same dishes, in the same location, with the same décor, going on 62 years now. The original Two Toms are “long gone,” but descendents continue to carry the torch.
The review seemed fair, rather than glowing or disparaging. Several dishes, the pork chops and the baked clams, are reportedly “delicious” but otherwise, the pasta was overcooked and the bread burnt.
Some locals are fiercely loyal all the same, one commenting jokingly on the site that Brooks “is going to get whacked” if he continues to expose all of “these favorite borough Italian joints.”
Other comments seem to wonder about the “mysterious” popularity of the place, along with Brooks.
But everyone does seem to agree on a few points: Two Toms is a relic of an age past being kept alive, and possibly thriving, by the loyalty of neighborhood patrons.
Whether or not it is authentic seems to depend on which side of the split hair one falls, but to be sure, TT is not pretentious and they aren’t overly concerned with what everybody else thinks.
Which, obviously, has worked for them. At least for the past 62 years.