Eating Shopsin’s Menu One Item at a Time: Treif, Moe II & Feather-Fried Potato Shreds w/ Jack & Hatch Chile

Date June 29, 2009

DISCLAIMER: There’s nothing like eating at Shopsin’s General Store and that’s because most people feel awkward, uncomfortable and offended upon merely entering the vicinity of the place. One thing that holds true is that if you don’t feel any of those three undesireable emotions upon arrival, or at any point during your meal, then you know you belong.  And then you’re in for one hell of a meal.  In the end, Kenny Shopsin is a great dude; if he feels like being one.  If not, well then be polite, know what you want to eat ahead of time, and if Kenny curses at you, feel free to curse back.  If you go to Shopsin’s and you’re not prepared for this, please don’t mention you found out about it from me.  Read this article by Calvin Trillin to understand what I’m talking about.


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Awesome and awe-inspiring.  Both words describe the two defining characteristics of Shopsin’s General Store:  its menu and its owner/chef, the inimitable Kenny Shopsin.  And with a constantly changing menu (the massive Mexican skillet combo is already gone) and equally unpredictable maker, every trip to Shopsin’s provides a new opportunity for edible adventure.

This post features three dishes:

  • Treif: 3 Jewboy (brisket, onions, jack, Swiss) Egg Sliders ($17)
  • Moe II: Maple bacon French toast sandwich, eggs on top ($14)
  • Fried Potato Shreds with melted Jack and Hatch chile ($11)

Treif: 3 Jewboy (brisket, onions, jack, Swiss) Egg Sliders ($17)

If you’ve never considered combining brisket with eggs and cheese, this is a great place to start. Shopsin’s brisket is tender and meaty but the real key are the sautéed onions, the greasy flavor bridge between the brisket and scrambled eggs. The airy, slightly steamed buns add a little sweetness but tend to disintegrate under the juiciness of the other ingredients.

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Moe II: Maple bacon French toast sandwich, eggs on top ($14)

“Exactly what I wanted to it be. No more, no less,” said my friend Veronica, a satisfied smile slowly appearing across her face. For something that looks so decadent, this is actually one of the plainer offerings on Shopsin’s menu. It’s nothing you couldn’t get elsewhere but there’s something special about having it the way it’s served here, sandwiched all together. Crispy, syrup-covered bacon wedged between two slices of fluffy egg-crusted French toast, all crowned by two eggs, sunny side up. Simple yet sumptuous.

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Fried Potato Shreds with melted Jack and Hatch Chile ($11)

Fried potato, a mountain of melted Jack cheese and spicy Hatch Chile from New Mexico; how could you possibly go wrong? Well, you can’t, but the fried potato “shreds” were a little too thin and deep fried to provide any substance.


I try to get something different every time I go to Shopsin’s, but if I ordered these again I’d go for the hash brown potatoes (deep fried chunks like in the now defunct Mexican skillet combo). With any sweet or savory main course, you may want to consider ordering a potato side with Hatch Chile and cheese. It’s a welcome addition.  If you’re as excited about this food as NYC Food Guy is, you can buy Kenny’s book: “Eat Me: The Food & Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin” by clicking here.

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26 Responses to “Eating Shopsin’s Menu One Item at a Time: Treif, Moe II & Feather-Fried Potato Shreds w/ Jack & Hatch Chile”

  1. Daniel Delaney said:

    Wow! Ha – it’s 7:10 AM, I just got up to move my car, and found an email linking to this post. I’m salivating. Why are you doing this to me Lawrence!

  2. Amy said:

    I live nearby this place, but I’m nervous to go since it’s so small. How long do you have to wait and when is the best time to go?

  3. Mrs. Bunnykins said:

    MMMMmmmmm Shopsins!

    I love this place, Kenny, Minda and Zach! He is overlooked and is one hell of a cook too. Like father like son.

    Some other amazing things to try here are:

    Macaroni and cheese pancakes, eat them with hot sauce and maple syrup. Trust Me.

    Cheeseburger & Fries soup…It is basically a beef broth, with the usual veggies, carrots, peas, onions, but then placed on top are the shoestring fries, which settle in once the 3 cheese sliders are placed on top. Hangover food to the maxxx.

    One of my favorite breakfast dishes to get here is the JoJo or the Junior depending on which menu you get, it is GA bbq pork, with a side of mac n cheese and eggs with toast,

    The Poutine is amazing, they use fresh cheese curds from their neighbors Saxelby Cheesemongers, so it is always really fresh, and the hot gravy makes it all melted and crazy yummy. If you are adventurous, you could order youself a Diego, which is Poutine with 3 poached eggs on top…This makes it “breakfast” meaning you don’t have to share 🙂

    They make fresh donuts, they are so warm and fluffy, these are a great dessert.

    The Castles are really great if you want a filling breakfast that won’t weigh you down. Kenny makes the best sliders I have had and he is also a master at preparing eggs.

    Sunny’s, fried, Poached, scrambled, omelets, and deep fried (yes deep fried eggs, as in the Poly Poly which is chicken fried eggs with a mushroom cream and toast)

    I could really go on and on about the menu as I have had like 40 items from this place, all are worthy of their own post. As for the “best time to go” it is when you are hungry and determined enough to stand in line, that or take a day off work and go at opening, because otherwise you WILL wait.

  4. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Mrs. Bunnykins is right, there’s always a chance you’ll have to wait but I’ve never waited very long. There’s no real “best time” to go. If you do go, let us know how it went and what you ate. Thanks for the comment.

    Mrs Bunnykins,
    Great comment! You really know you’re stuff. I think we’re going to have to combine efforts on a little Shopsin’s outing, how do you feel about that?

  5. ScottV said:

    I haven’t had a chance to eat at Shopsin’s yet but I highly reccomend the documentary “I like killing flies” which is all about Kenny Shopsin and the restaurant.

  6. Profile in Courage: Blogger To Eat (and Photograph?) All of Shopsin’s Menu : The Feedbag said:

    […] NYC Food Guy: Eating Shopsin’s Menu One Item at a Time: Treif, Moe II & Feather-Fried Pota… […]

  7. shoppy said:

    wow this place seems kinda crazy (and a heart attack waaiting to happen!). definitely gonna have to hit it up at some point.

    food guy, what is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten?

  8. Adam said:

    Heh. A few months ago, I asked for feather shreds with hatch chilis. Zack made them for me but got upset and said that it screwed up the fryer or something. And now they seem to be on the menu (plus cheese). Yay!

  9. Before Sunrise said:

    That French toast looks great! I have to say I don’t think I could deal with him kicking me out if he doesn’t like me or whatever…

  10. wriskit said:

    I agree with shoppy that the 3 combinations seem crazy and much heavier in fat, grease, oil, sugar and other carbs than necessary for good taste, enjoyment and a life span beyond thirty-five. These dishes represent the kind of excessive portions that often lead to obesity, gross obesity, and finally morbid obesity. I have never been to Shopsins. I had never heard of Shopsins until now. I will be unlikely to ever eat anything cooked in Shopsins. Finally, these dishes a re a testament to the laziness of those who applaud these dishes. None of them require advanced cooking skills. These can all be cooked at home at a fraction of the price ($17 for briskit, sauteed onions, and melted jack cheese on a soft sweet bun…OMG…. how helpless are these NYCers???) I’m off to Ben’s Best for a $12 world-class pastrami sandwich … something I can’t do myself.

  11. Ummmm said:

    Wriskit- thanks for that gospel on why we should eat healthy…i’m now off to grab an overpriced 8 dollar bacon egg cheese and home fries on a roll from the bake shop in the lobby of my building…and i’m going to enjoy every delicous second of it

    Us helpless NYCers love Food Guy and his recommendations, grease gluttony heaven or not

  12. Mes. Bunnykins said:

    Before Sunrise- They would not kick you out unless you are an as*hole. Really, this is some crazy myth or it was spread by people who go into Shopsin’s thinking they are the customer and therefore always right. This is not is “Denny’s”, it’s a family that works really hard at making good food and providing good service without having to hold your hand while you eat. Dig??

    Wriskit- you are the kind of person they would kick out…it is best that you do not go.
    The food is not meant to be consumed daily, in fact NO restaurant food is meant for that, I mean it is good to go here as an experience, but any intelligent person knows you would not eat here daily. But if you want to go crazy and eat something you would never usually try, this is the place for you. I mean, the doughnuts are prepared fresh per serving, as well as several other items. And when you get your plate, you see why the cost is that high, this is the only meal you will eat that day, so in the long run it is worth it. But, I don’t need to convince you, since you will never go…thankfully.

  13. Mes. Bunnykins said:

    Oh! And NYC Food Guy, I’m still waiting to grab hotdogs with you at Old Town…
    I also go by E.Chabrains. 🙂

  14. Pay What You Wish said:

    For once I’m glad I can no longer think about affording $14 for a sandwich. That French toast-bacon thing with the egg on top would develop into a compulsion and probably end up clogging up my heart and killing me.

    But I feel like Oliver Twist or something looking at that delicious picture.

  15. stevenp said:

    Lawrence, PLEASE let me know when you’re going back to Shopsins! (Not that I know what to order–TOO MANY options.) Or when you want to head out for a wing follow-up.

    Wriskit–just go away. Nobody wants you around, and Kenny is 10x (or more) the cook that you or I will ever be. And I am a decent cook, but nowhere near his league.

  16. HowfreshEats said:

    Was here for the first time recently. True story, that menu freaked me out- shit is LONG. Didn’t order the mac and cheese pancakes, but tried them- and I will definitely be getting those next time. The kasha varnishkes could have used a little more schmaltz.

    Looking forward to the next visit.

  17. Wally Ford said:

    I ate at Shopsin’s once. Owned by legendary asshole Kenny Shopsin, this is a place where if you go in and you aren’t a regular, you’ll be lucky to get served. How does anyone get to be a regular? They get unlucky, I suppose. What’s funny is that New York is a place I have always loved. Living here for over twenty years, one of the best characteristics of the city is the lack of small town provincialism. I am from the midwest and I have always hated traveling to small towns where you walk into the local diner and if they don’t know you, they stare holes through you and treat you like a leper. If you’re looking for that type experience in New York, by all means go to Shopsins! If you want to savor the experience, watch “I like killing flies” and you can watch Kenny Shopsin treating people like shit and also get some of his moronic homespun philosophy.


  18. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Wally Ford,
    Dude you have to eat there to understand it. The whole idea of Kenny’s philosophy is nothing like the “small town provincialism” you talk about. If you’re new to Shopsin’s you’re more like to be made a big deal of rather than minimalized and not treated well. The whole point is to just be yourself, that’s what Kenny’s trying to create. Try it before you knock it.

  19. Matty said:

    Food is great and ecclectic. ESP when one considers the size of the kitchen. He is a royal asshole, while I was there a lady as old as my grandma asked for water and he told her to hit the bricks!

  20. The NYC Food Guy said:

    I would love to hear the direct quotes from that conversation. I don’t consider Kenny an asshole at all. I consider him an individual. If you went there and left with that feeling than you’re completely missing the point of Kenny’s philosophy: his restaurant is a place where people can come to be themselves, for better or worse. Kenny probably had nothing against that lady but if he happened to be in a bad mood, so be it. If that lady was feeling anger at Kenny for saying “hit the bricks” then she had the freedom to give it right back to him. Don’t go if you’re not prepared for this.

  21. Jocuri tari said:

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  22. Diana said:

    my husband and i love shopsin’s. we are a little afraid of doing something that gets us kicked out, but so far so good! i just purchased and read kenny’s cookbook and i really enjoyed it. to me he’s kind of an unsung hero. he says what he thinks and it offends people sometimes, but deep down it’s how we all wish we could be. i don’t consider him an asshole. i consider him to be honest and real. read his cookbook and you will understand more about him. kenny, if you are reading this, my husband and i want to thank you for sharing your recipes. we live in west virginia and don’t make it to nyc as much as we like. it’s nice to be able to make slutty cakes at home.

  23. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Thanks for the comment. Could not agree more with your comments. What have you eaten at the restaurant that stands out in your mind?

  24. Diana said:

    hi again. to answer your question, everything stands out in our minds. this is special food. you know it’s something special the moment you see it, but even better is the moment it hits the taste buds. we have been to shopsin’s twice. the first time, i got blisters on my sisters (excellent) and my husband, the sweet eater, got bread pudding french toast and cheese grits (he was sold). the second time, we both ordered combos or happy trays that i believe it was maybe zack who commented on how long they took to cook, ha. sorry zack. mine had gumbo blisters, blueberry pancakes, and jewboy fries that were to die for! my husband’s had slutty cakes, guac tacos, and little maple donut holes. we of course loved our meals. after becoming somewhat obsessed with the food there, we researched shopsin’s found that kenny had put out a cookbook. we read the entire cookbook and really enjoyed it. it really made me wish i had grown up in nyc on that very block. it all sounded so fun. thanks to the cookbook, we make slutty cakes at home now. they aren’t quite kenny’s but those flavors are there. i have also made his chicken tortilla avocado soup and would love to try it at shopsin’s. my question to you is this: do you think kenny would mind signing my cookbook for me the next time we are able to go?

  25. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Hm. That is a great question. I have no idea how he would react to that request, but my thought is that if it wasn’t too busy and he was sitting outside the kitchen taking a break, that would be your only chance.

  26. Diana said:

    well, we went to shopsin’s twice this past week and i chickened out about the cookbook. the waiter (metal loving guy, wish i knew his name) said he didn’t think kenny would do it so i didn’t even try. but we did talk to kenny as he passed by about how much we love shopsin’s, how we read his cookbook, how we tried making slutty cakes at home. he was very nice explaining to us the key is a great thick griddle. anyway, also while we were there, a cute little girl was eating breakfast there with her dad. kenny and zack talked to them most of the time and before they left, kenny gave her a little car. it reminded me of something my own dad would do. the guy is not an asshole. now on to the food. the first day i had a happy tray that consisted of iran slutty cakes, s’mores pancakes, and mac’n cheese pancakes. i loved it all but especially the mac’n cheese pancakes with the ga hot sauce and syrup. my husband got way too full on cheese grits and a full order of egypt slutty cakes (he so should have ordered a half order, he learned a lesson there). the second visit, i got the brigette chicken salad sandwich. having read about how successful his chicken salad was in the store, i had to try it. it did not disappoint. my husband got the iran slutty cakes (his new favorite) and we also got an order of banana ebelskivers. thanks to kenny and zack for cooking all of that food. we had been dying to try those ebelskivers. wish we could be regulars! this is our favorite place to eat in the city.

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