Tag Archives: Alobar

Queens natives start ‘non-touristy’ food tour of borough

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Richard Mumith

The founders of a new walking food tour, which is making its start in Long Island City, are looking to prove that Queens is the “king of the boroughs.”

Queens natives Richard Mumith and Sergey Kadinsky started the company Locals Finds Queens Food Tours to share their love for the diverse borough and bring tourists across the East River.

“We essentially started up for the tourists but now a lot of natives are becoming part of it too,” Mumith said. “We now want Queens locals to really see what is in their backyard.”

The three-hour tours, which began July 13 and take place every Sunday, look to combine the history, culture and food of the borough in what Mumith calls a “non-touristy ‘off the beaten’ experience.”

Every Sunday eight participants, who are told the meeting point after purchasing tickets, get together and sample food from six local Long Island City establishments, while also being given a tour by Kadinsky, who is a licensed tour guide, on the history and present details on the western Queens neighborhood.

The stops of the tour include Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines Craft Kitchen, Sweetleaf, Alobar, Rockaway Brewing Company and Sage General Store.

Mumith said the tours are starting in Long Island City because it is close to Manhattan and also has an “amazing industrial manufacturing history and artistic presence.”

“We’re really here to create a relationship with the communities,” Mumith said.

However, Mumith hopes to expand the tours into full weekends in Long Island City and later move them further into other Queens neighborhood such as Astoria and Flushing.

“We’re here to stay. We’re here to do all the great borough of Queens and each neighborhood presents something unique,” he said.

The Briarwood resident is even challenging the other four boroughs to try and beat the diversity and distinct cuisines offered in Queens.

“What people don’t know, when it comes to the culinary scene, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” Mumith said.

Tickets for the tours are $56 for adults and $42 for children 12 and under. The price of tickets include the tour, which begins every Sunday at 11 a.m., food tastings and an exclusive brochure featuring a map of the neighborhood, list of attractions, other restaurant recommendations and list of things to do.

For more information visit foodsofqueensny.com or call 800-656-0713.



Burglary spree hits LIC restaurants

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Friday, July 11, 1:05 p.m.

A burglary suspect has broken into five Long Island City restaurants and bars since June, getting away with cash and electronics, cops said.

The crime spree started on June 11 at Andre’s Pizza, located on 40th Avenue. The suspect took $20 from the restaurant’s cash register by breaking through the glass front door police said.

He then allegedly used the same method to break into Manducatis Rustica, on Vernon Boulevard during the early morning hours of June 22. The burglar stole two iPads, two iPad minis and $700 in cash, according to authorities.

The suspect also took a Galaxy 10 electronic tablet and $100 from Woodbines on Vernon Boulevard three days later, and $850 from on June 27 the Seattle Café, on Queens Boulevard, cops said.

During the latest incident, around 4:20 a.m. on July 4, the suspect attempted to burglarize the LIC Bar, on Vernon Boulevard, by entering through a window, but fled before he could take anything, according to police.

Jeff Blath, owner of Alobar, on Vernon Boulevard, believes the same suspect that tried to burglarize LIC Bar may have attempted to break into his restaurant just minutes earlier.

According to the establishment’s security footage and a porter who watches the eatery, around 3:50 a.m. a man, wearing similar clothing, used a glass bottle to hit Alobar’s door several times before stumbling backwards and walking away.

The man damaged the door and was caught on camera heading in the direction of LIC Bar, just two blocks down the street, Blath said.

He reported the incident to police, but said it isn’t considered an attempted burglary, just criminal mischief.

Blath, who opened Alobar three years ago and has lived in Long Island City for seven years, said the recent crime spree is a “very rare occurrence” in the area.

“I do know this neighborhood is becoming known for its restaurants and bars, and it may draw positive and negative attention,” he said.





LIC community struggles with first weekend of No. 7 train suspensions

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, March 12 10:38 a.m.

Warren Linnane, a Long Island City resident, had no idea the No. 7 line would not be working when he went out Saturday night. A subway ride that normally takes 10 to 15 minutes took him and his friend close to three hours.

“We were in the city and couldn’t get home,” he said. “It took us three trains and one cab, that’s more money and more time. It was terrible, I can’t go anywhere. We live here and we can’t get home.”

Linnane — and all of LIC — felt the pinch this past weekend as the community endured the first of more than a dozen weekends of No. 7 train suspensions.

The suspensions were expected to begin February 28, but were cancelled due to expected inclement weather.
Through July 21, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the MTA said, but there are also nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

Business owners, like Jeff Blath of Alobar, noticed a difference on Saturday, March 8, when there were fewer customers than usual and some of his employees struggled to get to work and back home.

“It hurts us, there’s no doubt about it,” Blath said. “They [the MTA] did not come to us and say ‘what works the best for your guys?’ It’s just a multitude of problems and no communication.”

Blath said that some of his employees took hours to get home after work. For the upcoming weekend, he hopes to create some sort of specials at Alobar to bring customers to the neighborhood.

“LIC is always talked about because of how easy it is to get to the city, and what happened? They took it away,” he said. “I’m trying my best to stay positive.”

Rebecca Trent, owner of The Creek and The Cave, also shared the same struggle when she tweeted “The No. 7 Train was down today. Quietest Saturday in ages” after only 10 people showed up for one of the shows that day.

“We put everything we have into our jobs,” Trent said. “If the neighborhood doesn’t have consistent No. 7 train service then the neighborhood is not relevant. The selling point of Long Island City is that we’re one stop from Manhattan.”

Trent said that together with other business owners she will work to raise awareness in the neighborhood and also make sure the issue “stays on the radar” of the local politicians. She will also dedicate street team efforts to inform people taking the other subway lines to come visit LIC.

“LIC is very special, there is no other place like it in New York City and I want to see it thrive very badly and it really seems like the MTA is always getting in the way,” she said.

The latest round of work is expected to modernize and improve the Flushing No. 7 line, according to the MTA. The work will also include tunnel duct reconstruction and replacement and improvements on components damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

The MTA said it is waiting on and working with the Long Island City community to set up a marketing campaign for the neighborhood.

However, business owners say the MTA has told them that they are not being given advertising space, but instead can add images and words to the disclosure notices located on subway cars.

“We’re not quite sure what they are giving us right now,” said Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder and executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater. “We want to do it, we want to make it happen but all sides need to come to the table and work together. Give us the information we need.”

Lewandowski also said the agency is not clear on what they need from them to create the notices and the businesses owners have no idea on how long the notices would stay up.

“The Long Island City community is hurting as a result of the 22 weekends of closures on the No. 7 line. The least that the MTA could do is work actively with the community on the promises that they have made,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Instead, we have seen the MTA add insult to injury by suggesting that the slowness of implementation of a campaign is on someone other than themselves. This simple suggestion is shameful and arrogant.”

Senator Michael Gianaris, who has previously suggested the MTA offer a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city, plans on immediately communicating the community’s needs to the MTA.

“The MTA must stop treating our communities as if they don’t matter,” Gianaris said. “This unresponsive bureaucracy will keep hearing from me until they get it, which they clearly do not at this time.”


Alobar springs into spring

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



Not many small, privately owned restaurants in New York City can survive all of the changes that come along with the replacement of an executive chef, especially when those changes mean you will have to rebrand your entire restaurant concept, hoping to retain the former regulars, while acquiring new ones.

In a city like New York, after all, no excellent chef would be content stepping into the role merely as a replacement, executing the same dishes as his predecessor with the same finesse, enthusiasm and integrity. That requires nothing more than a well-trained parrot.

This dilemma is precisely what faced Alobar in Long Island City last year, when their previous chef left the space he had built as a snout-to-tail porcine sanctuary. What was left was a menu with loads of bacon, guanciale and pig tails with no leader to cure the pork in the basement any longer. This little piggy had gone to the market, with no plans of returning.

Fortune favors the brave, and Alobar found a new leading man just about four months ago. Astoria’s own Greg Profeta is one of the sweetest, most jovial of souls you would ever meet, and his eyes twinkle when he talks about vegetables for the spring menu. He mentions hearts of palm he has flown in from Hawaii that are the best he has ever tasted — and will be a supporting character in his beet salad. Profeta describes the menu he has been developing as ‘whimsical, fun, and cheeky,’ which are probably the three words anyone would use to describe him, as well. And everyone knows what can happen when a chef with some serious skills puts his own charisma into his dishes. It can be real magic.

On the menu that will be unveiled this month, gnocchi becomes a playground for the flavors of a loaded baked potato. Potpie is stuffed into an alabaster ceramic dish, loaded with braised rabbit and bubbling gruyere over a golden pastry crust, almost like a hunter’s French onion soup.

“And I really like to work around the vegetables… they are so delicate,” said Profeta with a smile as he placed the hearts of palm over a meticulously stacked mound of beets and greens. Jeff Blath leaned in and proudly whispered, “He just knows all the right techniques and takes those things and makes something fun.”

Outside of the menu, Blath has been having some of his own fun, creating the largest selection of whiskey in Queens. He has collected a selection of more than 100 whiskies, which can also be enjoyed in flights. There is even a whiskey made with quinoa.

Cocktails showcase some clever mixology that has been registering high marks with the customers. The Vernon Smash features bourbon with blackberries, mint and ginger beer. A mix called the Chauvinist Pig wuzzles scotch with chartreuse, ramazzotti, and eaux de vie.

With all of the changes, one might wonder if anything stayed the same.  “We kept the maple bacon popcorn,” said Blath with a laugh. Of course. They might be rebranding, but they aren’t dumb.

46-42 Vernon Blvd.,  Long Island City



The Avett Brothers’ Joe Kwon talks love of music, food

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mike Valente

As he inspected a near-empty charcuterie plate, cellist Joe Kwon exhaled and said how much he enjoys the dish: toasted bread, Toscano salami, head cheese, chicken liver pate, mustard and red wine-glazed onions.

“I’d eat that every day if my doctor would let me,” he quipped.

While his livelihood is playing the cello for the Avett Brothers, a North Carolina-based hybrid folk band, Kwon has an equal passion for food – both eating and preparing it. Adventures in cooking, Kwon says, are another form of creativity for him. The experience is deeply rooted in his life.

Kwon recently sat down with The Courier at Alobar in Long Island City to discuss music, food, touring and everything in between. He had played the Governor’s Ball on nearby Randall’s Island the night before and was looking forward to going home to North Carolina for a week’s rest.

“I love coming here,” he said. “It’s one of those places where it’s so easy to get caught up in the New York lifestyle of going out, eating amazing food.”

Kwon runs a food blog while he’s on the road, “Taste, on Tour,” in which he’ll normally document his meals, but does not review them.

It’s a personal documentation that he can one day look back on to remember his travels.

The band – comprised of brothers Seth and Scott Avett and bassist Bob Crawford – normally tours on a bus without a kitchen, but that doesn’t stop them from preparing meals on smaller equipment.

“If there had to be one [chef], it would be me,” Kwon said, adding he’ll normally prepare dishes like guacamole as a post-show snack.

Kwon’s love affair with food goes deep into his roots of growing up in a large Korean immigrant family, where every weekend featured a family reunion sized meal. He grew up watching his mother and both grandmothers preparing these mega feasts.

As he went off to boarding school and then college, Kwon’s food budget shrunk, but his impromptu recipes blossomed. He got creative with Ramen noodles, adding easily accessible ingredients like cilantro and lime. Finding easy-to-make but enjoyable recipes has carried over to his tour life.

When he comes to town, wherever that may be, he said he dives where he can find a fair-priced meal that’s surprisingly well made. He recounted recently going to a place in SoHo he heard about that was essentially a hole-in-the-wall. He got a beer and a dozen top-notch oysters for roughly $12.

Other times, he enjoys meals that are so well assembled and so decadent that he’s left with a sense of guilt afterward.

Kwon said he recently ate at Per Se, in Manhattan, and described the experience as hard to categorize compared to other food he’s eaten.

He said he was shocked by the cost and fine quality.

“There was just a lot of thought put into the food,” he said. “You wonder how many people get to eat like this. How many people will ever get to eat like this? A lot of guilt goes into it.”

Kwon holds home-cooked meals near and dear to his heart. Even as he looks forward to his next trip to the beaches of eastern North Carolina, food is the top priority.

“I don’t even think about the beach so much as the seafood I’m going to make,” he said.

Kwon joined the Avett Brothers about six years ago, thanks to what he calls a dumb-luck meeting with Crawford, the bassist. He first recorded with them on the band’s 2007 album “Emotionalism” and was drawn to the energy both Avetts exhibited while performing.

Kwon’s signature feature among fans is his on-stage cello performance standing up, constantly moving and displaying the same amount of energy on stage. Kwon said playing cello while standing has proven to be difficult, citing callouses on his neck and shoulder from resting the cello. But he cannot sit with the band’s energy.

“The first time I ever played a show with the Avetts, I played sitting down for a total of like 20 seconds,” he said. “Then I was like, ‘Yup, there’s way too much energy going on right now. I can’t play sitting down.’”

As he sliced off another piece of head cheese, laid it on one side of the bread and smeared chicken pate on the other, Kwon recounted how he would be home the next morning.

The concept of home is something that runs deep with all the band members, in both their music and lyrics. Kwon, who doesn’t think of himself as famous, mentioned he hopes he never will be as he recounted the things he had to do when he got home.

There are bills to pay and housework, plenty of cooking and quality time with his girlfriend to get in.

“All those things, they’re creature comforts we don’t have on tour,” he said. “There’s something about having a glass of wine, sitting on the couch, watching our shows together. It’s a romanticized view in my head. I can’t wait to get back to it.”

As eager as he is to go home, thinking about being there is something he puts off until he arrives. Kwon said he tries to organize his life based on how many shows he has left. Otherwise he is home before he gets there, and his performing suffers as a result.

“That happens a lot at the end of the year when you’re thinking: two more shows, two more shows. Which is a terrible way to think about it, cause it’s like, ‘Well what if you die tonight?’ You never know,” he said. “Maybe this is the last show. Obviously, that’s a very dark and farfetched way to look at it, it’s just kind of one of those ways of dealing with that. Don’t think about getting home. Just think about what you have to do next. Home will come. It’ll be here soon.”



Board votes down outdoor seating at Alobar

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

Alobar customers will now have to spend the summer indoors after a final vote from Community Board 2 (CB2) denied the restaurant the use of its backyard space.

The popular restaurant at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point must adhere to a stipulation of its liquor license prohibiting outdoor seating.

Owner Jeff Blath met with CB2’s City Service and Public Safety Committee on June 12 to discuss opening his backyard space to customers. He said the board told him it could not make an exception for his restaurant without setting a precedent for other establishments.

“They were really clear that Alobar is an excellent addition to the neighborhood,” said Blath. “The reason was that if they say yes to Alobar, they have to say yes to everyone.”

Blath said he finds the decision “disappointing.” He previously noted the effect on his business, saying he loses dozens of customers who ask for the outdoor seating.

“It’s thousands of dollars a month and it’s enough to put people out of business,” said Bath. “It’s enough to make people lose their jobs.”

CB 2 Chair Joseph Conley previously told The Courier the board has had to deal with establishments whose backyard seating caused disturbances to neighbors and the community. He added that residents in the area have voiced their opposition to the plan.

However, Blath said he gathered nearly 500 signatures for a petition and has spoken with his neighbors that say otherwise.

Before the meeting, Blath built 11-foot-high walls to block out noise and had a sound engineer suggest other changes to make the seating area quieter. He was also trying to work with the board to cut back hours at the backyard from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“I was willing to bend over backwards to make this happen,” said Blath. “When you see another place just a block away from you go out of business, it scares you. My heart is in this business. I can’t help but think what’s going to happen.”

Blath is looking to appeal the board’s decision with the State Liquor Authority.

CB2 did not respond to calls as of press time.



Outdoor seating still in question at LIC’s Alobar

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

It seems Alobar still has to overcome a few more hurdles before getting the chance to use its backyard space this summer.

The popular restaurant, located at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point, has not been allowed to offer customers outdoor seating as a stipulation of its liquor license.

Alobar’s owner Jeff Blath met with Community Board 2’s City Service and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, May 8 to discuss opening the backyard space to customers.

Blath previously told The Courier his business loses thousands of dollars when the weather is nice. He said turning down customers who request an outdoor table pushes them to other establishments.

Committee Chair Patrick O’Brien said it was a good meeting since Blath listened to recommendations and was open to working with the community board.

“He understands the concerns, and we are sensitive to any business,” said O’Brien. “We want to hear both sides of it.”

O’Brien noted that residents have strongly voiced their opposition to opening up Alobar’s backyard seating area because of the noise it would cause.

The committee neither approved nor denied the proposal, but suggested Blath work with sound engineers to see if there is something that could muffle sounds from his backyard. The committee also asked Blath to consider offering only brunch or lunch in the backyard if it ultimately gets approval.

The committee would also have to make sure Alobar can legally use the space for the intended reasons, O’Brien said. The body is scheduled to continue discussions on Alobar’s backyard at a June 12 meeting.

Blath did not respond to multiple phone calls as of press time.



LIC’s Alobar petitions for outdoor seating

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

With summer just around the corner, Alobar in Hunters Point is seeking permission to serve patrons outdoors.

The popular restaurant at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard is not allowed to offer its customers backyard seating as a stipulation of its liquor license.

Alobar’s owner Jeff Blath said when customers see his outdoor seating area, they often request a table there, but he has to turn them down. According to him, the business loses thousands of dollars when the weather is nice.

“I have to tell them no, and customers will usually respond with, ‘We’ll go somewhere else’,” he said.

Community Board 2 granted Alobar its liquor license. CB 2 Chair Joseph Conley said the board has previously had to deal with establishments whose backyard seating caused disturbances to neighbors and the community.

He cited Lounge 47 as an example. After years of neighbors’ complaints about excessive noise during late hours, the establishmen closed. It was located at 47-10 Vernon Boulevard.

“By and large, from past experience, people do not want them because they are a negative impact to the way of life,” said Conley. “It is very clear the community has spoken about this. Residents that live there are opposed to it.”

However, Blath maintains Alobar has been a good neighbor and will stay that way. His petition has gained 438 signatures from neighbors and customers.

“Now that I’ve been around, I’ve proven myself to be a good neighbor. I welcome speaking to neighbors and hearing from them,” Blath said. “I want to be able to go to the community board with a good number of people to show it’s what people want.”

Blath plans to make the case that Alobar is a quiet restaurant. There will be no speakers to play music, he has built 11-foot-high walls and set up an awning to muffle noise.

If CB 2 approves use of Alobar’s backyard space, the restaurant will stay open until 10:30 p.m. Blath considers that a reasonable time compared to some other establishments, which stay open past midnight.

“I’m asking for less than everyone else,” he said.

The next board meeting is on May 2. Conley said he welcomes Blath to come and bring his proposal.

“Based on the facts, there could be something unique,” Conley said. “Each case is looked at individually.”



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 25 with a windchill as low as 3. Windy. Winds from the NNW at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Thursday night: Clear. Low of 12F with a windchill as low as 0. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Beer Pairing Dinner

Come to Alobar in LIC on January 24 for a five course tasting menu and beer pairing courtesy of Brewery Ommegang. $55 for the beer and food. Call 718-752-6000 to make reservations. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Housing prices rise in Astoria and Long Island City

Real estate prices and rents in Long Island City and Astoria are on the rise, especially in the luxury housing market, where there isn’t enough supply to meet demand, a new report shows. Read more: New York Daily News

Woodside merchants say they’re losing business to evening ‘No Parking’ zone on Roosevelt Ave.

Woodside merchants are urging the city to lift a weekday parking restriction on Roosevelt Ave. because they say it’s unnecessary and bad for business. Read more: New York Daily News

Cold weather stretch makes life dangerous for Sandy victims

Looking at the job ahead of him, Alberto Pizarro said he’s taking a break from helping his neighbor, William Farrell rebuild his home this week. The men said they can’t go any further until a new boiler is installed, and one small space heater isn’t cutting it. Read more: NY1

1 dead, 1 critical after being struck in separate Queens car accidents

An elderly man is dead and another is fighting for his life after the two were involved in separate accidents within five minutes of each other in Queens, cops said. Read more: New York Post

Defiant Secretary of State Clinton takes on lawmakers over Benghazi attack

Tempers flared Wednesday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended her actions following the deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya. Read more: CBS New York

Military has to decide which combat jobs for women

The Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men. Read more: AP


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then thunderstorms in the afternoon. High of 81. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 75. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: Alobar’s Tomato Festival

All this week, Long Island City restaurant Alobar is honoring the harvest season with a rotating menu of tomato dishes supporting local farms at $30 per person for two courses and a cocktail or glass of wine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Seven Queens schools slated for closure re-open this week

After months of uncertainty, many teachers at seven Queens high schools previously slated for closure are going back to work. Read more: New York Daily News 

Internet currency exchange biz owner gets jail for tax conviction

The owner of an Internet currency exchange business is going to prison on a tax conviction. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the two-year sentence today for Ilya Boruch of Forest Hills, Queens. Read more: New York Post

 School in Queens to serve “brunch”

he thought of having lunch, or as the principal of IS25 calls it “brunch,” at 9:45 in the morning is not going over well. Come Thursday, many students at the middle school in Auburndale, Queens will feast on roast chicken, rice and pinto beans, just two hours after their day. Read more: ABC New York

Juniper Valley Park plagued by trash, vandalism and under-aged drinking, civic leaders say

Underage boozing, vandalism and mounds of trash have plagued Juniper Valley Park all summer due to lack of Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, civic leaders say. Read more: New York Daily News

With City Council redistricting looming, activists unveil “Unity Map”

Activists are trying to protect the city’s minority groups as the City Council district lines are about to be redrawn. Minority advocate groups unveiled their so-called Unity Map Tuesday. Read more: NY1

Ed Koch being treated for anemia at New York Presbyterian

Former mayor Ed Koch was being treated at New York Presbyterian on the Upper West Side and will remain hospitalized for a few days after undergoing a blood transfusion, officials said Tuesday night. Read more: CBS New York

Airlines to face trial over 9/11

The AMR Corporation’s American Airlines and United Continental Holdings must face a federal trial over negligence claims tied to the hijacking of jetliners used in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Read more: New York Times

Mrs. Obama: Husband knows what struggle means

Democrats are using one of Barack Obama’s strong suits, that voters believe he understands the problems of ordinary people, to trump his weakest suit, the economy. Read more: AP

Alobar opens in Long Island City

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Steve Mosco

Good food takes time.

Great food takes a lot of time.

Excellent food takes about six months.

Alobar opened on Vernon Boulevard after months of the usual batch of roadblocks faced by new restaurants in every corner of the city. During that tenuous time, residents would regularly peek in and examine the fully decorated space – cries of, “when, by God, when?!” could be heard as far as the Gantries.

The LIC community is one that craves originality. Run-of-the-mill joints like Dunkin Donuts or Subway can come in, stake a claim and probably do respectable business. However, such establishments will be ridiculed on blogs, roundly shunned by the majority of neighborhood regulars and criticized by know-it-all journalists.

We know what we want in our lives and in our gaping maws. We want effort, we want succulence, we want innovation – and at Alobar we get what we want.

The restaurant gives eaters something new and creative each and every visit, with quality ingredients that come from less than 200 miles away. The freshness is evident and that fact slaps you in the face the moment the first dish arrives.

Alobar’s Charcuterie comes as either a small or large plate – order the large, you won’t regret it. This appetizer revs the salivary glands with a veritable butcher’s list of choice cuts including spicy and sweet salamis, Virginia prosciutto, guanciale, duck rilette and foie gras with white truffle mousse. A word of caution: the guanciale, a cut from the pig’s cheeks or jowls, will make your knees weak.

Post-cheese plate, check out Alobar’s small plates. Of course “small” is a relative term here, as these dishes are huge in flavor and ingredients. In this section, the wise eater will grab the wild mushroom toast. This dish might become your favorite food – not your favorite item on the menu, but your favorite food, period. The toast is stacked and mingles perfectly with smoked ricotta, roasted garlic, red wine onions and topped with, of all things, a duck egg.

From now on, I propose we top EVERYTHING with a duck egg, as it adds a certain richness and buttery texture to this dish. Oh, and the toast is swimming in a bacon gastrique – it’s like a breakfast Einstein would have come up with.

Other small plates include pumpkin risotto, little neck clams and roasted bone marrow with snail butter – order it and find out.

Before the entrees come out, let’s examine the “Snacks & Sides” section of the menu. When you see the words Amish Pig Tails, you might think bite-sized morsels of chewy pig parts. Wrong. These tails are big, fatty and meaty – slathered in barbecue sauce, they taste like the greatest pork ribs anyway, anytime.

As for those entrees, Alobar’s menu features so many enticing options that choosing one might give you brain freeze. Don’t fret, order the roasted pig and reassure yourself that there will be many more visits. The roasted pig is a delicious cross section of dark and white meat, with a cap of fat and crisp skin. This succulent beauty rests atop cheddar risotto and is accompanied by Kentucky fried apples.

Other dishes to come back for include braised short ribs, braised octopus and oxtail, mac and cheese carbonara, smoked salmon filet, organic roasted chicken and a burger taken to a whole other level.

Alobar’s cocktails should be a constant throughout the meal, as they have something for lightweights to heavyweights and everyone in between. They also have an impressive wine list and a collection of beers that do not cater to the likes of Anheuser-Busch.

The restaurant is also open for lunch and brunch, featuring tweaked versions of dinner options, along with a few exclusive items. I already have plans for a weekend brunch visit.

Alobar is a top shelf restaurant with unforgettable food, wonderful décor and a staff of pleasant and knowledgeable professionals. Listen to this reviewer, follow your stomach and get yourself to Alobar for a meal among friends.


46-42 Vernon Boulevard

LIC, NY 11101

Tel: 718-752-6000


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