Here's how you eat a Binghamton spiedie: grab the end of a skewer in one hand, grab the meat with a slice of bread in the other, and pull. Be careful; they'll stick at first, but once they free up you may send the meat cubes flying across the room if you yank too forcefully. Now you've got a fistful of bread and meat. What do you dress it with? Nothing! Spiedies are best eaten undressed. The long-marinated, grilled cubes of pork (or chicken, if you're a wuss) are perfect as is. Though we'll let you in on a little secret: we do dip an occasional bite in the pool of margarine that comes with our pierogi or salt potatoes. That's just between us, OK? It'd be very embarrassing if it got out.
Salt potatoes are a Central New York passion, as billyboy can attest to. They are small boiling potatoes cooked in heavily salted water, served in a pool of melted butter or margarine. They are not salty. We went with the starch daily double,
also ordering a dozen boiled pierogi filled with more potatoes, dressed with onions and more melted margarine (in the world of Triple Cities bar food, onions are considered a fresh vegetable).
We absolutely adore everything about Sharkey's (see the Roadfood.com review), beyond all reason or explanation. It's not any one thing, although we quite enjoy the electronic shuffle bowling game,
the pitchers of cheap beer,
the old, dark wooden booths with the long-disconnected waiter call buttons,
and the ramshackle rear entrance.
Perhaps what we most love is the frozen-in-time aspect to Sharkey's. In the four decades that we've been visiting this corner bar, traces of old Binghamton around town are ever harder to find. Yet, from the menu specials, to the decor, to the cheap beer, to the family tavern clientele, to the food itself, nothing has changed at Sharkey's. We recognize that, if any folks actually pay them a first-time visit on our say-so, many will emerge from the darkness of Sharkey's and wonder, "We came all this way for THAT?" So be it. That's how the game is played. For us, at least, Sharkey's is just right.