Photo by myself, of Junior's on Flatbush Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
When people mention Junior's, it's usually about the cheesecake. I've never eaten there, but Mark has, and he says the cheesecake is the only good thing on the menu.
Certain places are known for certain things. Junior's is remarkable because it's been known for years, despite being outside Manhattan.
There's also Sylvia's in the Harlem (Soul Food), Peter Luger's in Williamsburg (steak and their trademark steak sauce) and Dominic's in the Bronx (Italian). Then there are whole neighborhoods that are known for their fare, such as Flushing, Queens (Korean and Chinese), and Astoria (Greek).
It used to be that people rarely got out of Manhattan for anything. Host a party in Brooklyn and you'd only get Brooklynites. People would talk about Brooklyn or Long Island City as if they were faraway lands. I know what it's like; I was the Manhattanite for a long time.
It's different now, or maybe it's been changing and I only just noticed, or maybe it's because I moved to the other side of the line. So many people now live outside 'the City', that it's questionable where the boundary lies. A lot has to do with affordability - few people can afford to live in Manhattan, without parental subsidies or roommates.
A lot has to do with the status of the outer boroughs now, which are much less homogeneously 'ethnic'. There are nice neighborhoods, great restaurants and stores, no crowds, affordable apartments (although prices keep rising), and all the comforts of Manhattan (neighborhood bars, 24 hour delis, gourmet markets, etc).
Perhaps I'll eat my words someday, when Brooklyn becomes so distilled that it has no character at all. Til then, I will enjoy myself.