Tag Archives: Dining

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.

Alobar

46-42 Vernon Boulevard

LIC, NY 11101

Tel: 718-752-6000

www.AlobarNYC.com

Alobar on Urbanspoon

Home run meal at Strawberry’s Sports Grill


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

The word “comfort” always brings me back to Sunday afternoons at my grandparent’s house watching the New York Mets in the late 80s. My grandfather always had a colorful way of describing his love for the Mets – it was tumultuous, and sometimes a tad vulgar, but memories of our Met-chats always make me smile.

Besides watching Mets games back then, a lot of the Sunday afternoon comfort came from food. Now in Douglaston, those two worlds collide at Strawberry’s Sports Grill, Mets legend Darryl Strawberry’s neighborhood eatery.

Since opening its doors in August 2010, Strawberry’s has served BBQ and comfort food in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Besides the food, Strawberry’s boasts 18 HD TVs and has since become a favorite place for sports fans to watch all of New York’s biggest games.

Sports aside, Strawberry’s gives eaters plenty of reasons to step up to the plate, starting with the appetizers. House favorites include chicken wings, in buffalo or BBQ; pulled pork sliders; crawfish and cheddar hush puppies; Philly cheese steak eggrolls; and Championship Chili, which was voted the best in Queens.

The fried macaroni cheese balls were a standout starter. The crisp exterior gives way to a cheesy-mac center for a comforting taste you’ll want to eat again and again. It’s served with a smoky horseradish sauce, adding a kick to your palate.

Strawberry’s lineup of dinner options is extensive and full of big hits – including dinner salads, burgers and sandwiches, BBQ straight from the smoker, and traditionally comforting entrees.

The grand slam dish without a doubt was Strawberry’s chicken fried chicken chop. The mouthwatering dish featured a panko crusted, thinly-pounded chicken breast with bacon-spiked white gravy, served with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The chicken was pan-fried to perfection – and the gravy was extremely rich and delicious.

Also try the seared fish tacos, the pepper-crusted filet mignon and the pecan-crusted local cod. Strawberry’s also offers an array of beef, lamb or turkey burgers, including the “1986,” which is a lamb burger with feta cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions and tzatiki sauce.

As for BBQ, eaters can get meats seasoned with Strawberry’s Memphis-style spice rub and then slow cooked in a custom smoker with hickory and cherry woods.

For dessert, succumb to the deep fried twinkies. You’ll be glad you indulged, trust me.

Lunch specials and kids meals are also available and Strawberry’s also offers both on and offsite catering.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill
42-15 235th Street, Douglaston
Phone: 718-517-8787
Fax: 718-225-0086
www.strawberrysgrill.com
Kitchen Hours:
Monday – Thursday 12 – 11 p.m.
Friday 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Saturday 11:30 – 12 a.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Full Bar open late
Takeout
Delivery
All major credit cards

Strawberry's Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood & Grill, like eating with family


| vschneps@queenscourier.com

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It’s a pleasure having Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood & Grill as a neighbor, only a few steps from our office.  Not only do we all enjoy their specialties, but even before you enter, the lovely flowering plants in the front are making the block more beautiful.  It’s inviting even before you enter this family-owned place.

Usually a family member greets you warmly. The interior, filled with old family photos, feels like you have entered their home. And based on their hospitality, eating at Maria’s is like eating with family.  Each dish seems to have been lovingly prepared.  They recently added some new creations to their menu so I made a visit to see what Maria had created. She really wowed the four of us who dined together that evening.

We ordered appetizers and began with mouthwatering, large broiled oysters topped with sautéed spinach and Parmigiano cheese in a light cream sauce — delicious.  Then we had Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach, feta cheese and leeks.  Again, a show stopper!

Not to be missed is their new chips and dips which is a large platter filled with fried pita chips and a spread.  It’s easy to get addicted to them.

But we had yet another appetizer, bouyiourdi, a rich, tasty combination of three cheeses melted together with green peppers, tomatoes and seasoned just right with oregano.  It’s not to be missed either.  Now we could have stopped here but we wanted to sample the shrimp Mykonos, large flavorful sautéed shrimp in a tomato sauce topped with melted feta cheese. I’m coming back for more.  We shared a moist, perfectly-cooked Chilean sea bass prepared with a unique sauce of tomato and basil beurre blanc.    Although I’ve eaten here many times I can’t wait to eat here again because it feels like it is my home away from home!

The wait staff is professional and friendly too.

The grand finale was Maria’s lemon pie.  There are several choices for dessert but this dish is her specialty and we all voted it the best lemon pie we ever ate.

Try Maria’s, you’re sure to relish every bite of your meal and love it too. No wonder they won Best Greek restaurant in our “Best of the Boro” competition!

 

Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood & Grill

38 -11 Bell Boulevard Bayside

Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Catering is available for all occasions

718 279-1606 or 718-279-1497 for take-out

Free delivery

Mariasonbell.com

Maria's on Urbanspoon

Bruno’s — Italian done right


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Queens Courier

Competition amongst Italian cuisines on Cross Bay Boulevard is fierce, with an array of long-standing, established eateries lining the main road in Howard Beach.

So when longtime restaurateur Bruno Rinaldi opened up Bruno-Ristorante Italiano on the boulevard — close to seven weeks ago in September — he knew he would have to find a way to stand out above other businesses.

Before Bruno’s, Rinaldi was co-owner of the former Carosello Restaurant, which was also located on Cross Bay Boulevard. Forty-four years of experience gives Rinaldi more than a fighting chance amongst competitors, and the restaurant’s cozy, at-home ambiance, simple yet elegant décor, delectable food and novelty brick oven blow other businesses out of the water.

Rinaldi said he went from managing 9,000-square-feet of space to 2,000, allowing him to better serve his customers. Rinaldi and his attentive wait staff know how to make a visit personal and memorable, whether or not the patron is a loyal fan following him up the boulevard to his new quarters, or a brand new customer.

The experience starts just outside, where Bruno’s entices eaters with the delightful and seductive aroma of fresh, made-to-order brick oven pizza. Offering a wide variety – including margherita, napolitano, campagnola, seafood, vegetarian and more – Bruno’s pies are perfect for individual tastes.

Down to the crust, the Regina Margherita in particular is a superior pizza pie that New Yorkers can be proud of. It comes with a tantalizing blend of fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil and fresh grape tomatoes heaped upon a wood-fired, crispy, hearth-baked crust. It’s also great for anybody on-the-go who isn’t willing to sacrifice taste for time, since it only takes 90 seconds to make from the moment it hits the oven.

As for an appetizer, for anyone who has ever had a bad experience with octopus, try Bruno’s grilled pulpo. Served on a bed of greens, the dish comes with four exceptionally tender and moist pieces of octopi — supple enough to cut with a fork. The reason for its incredible tenderness, Rinaldi said, is the fact that the succulent supply is shipped overseas from Portugal. The hint of lemon over the dish seals the deal.

Entrees include a large selection of pastas, meats and seafood. The Chicken Capricciosa came highly recommend and boasts a blend of diced tomatoes, onions and balsamic vinegar drizzled over two generously-large and thinly-sliced pieces of breaded, pan fried chicken cutlets.

Other best-selling, crowd favorite entrees worth checking out include the Filet of Sole Oreganata and the Veal Sorrentino.

The restaurant received an “A” on its state inspection test right off the bat, and Rinaldi means business. For a delicious meal with personal service in a relaxing atmosphere, try Bruno’s and enjoy Italian cuisine done right.

London Lennie’s staff sips with sommelier


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com


London Lennie’s staff learned how to find the perfect bottle of Bordeaux, which has risen in global popularity as both a high-end and everyday drinking wine.

Stuart Randall, the president and founding partner of Bayfield Importing, Ltd., which specializes in estate-bottled wines and spirits from around the world, recently joined London Lennie’s owner, Leslie Barnes, and wine director, Brad Haskel, for a staff tasting of top Bordeaux wines.

Randall, who is a former Sommelier Society of America instructor, took the staff through the classic grape varietals of Bordeaux, offering tips on how the grapes contribute to the perfect blends.

“Merlot is a fleshy wine, full of flavor and sweetness, while Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be more complex and tannic. Blending these two grapes allows Bordeaux winemakers to create a wine that has vibrant flavor and structure, but is balanced and light, resulting in a blend that is better than the sum of its parts,” said Randall.

According to Randall, 2009 was a great vintage for Bordeaux, when great growing conditions led to juicy and sweet, yet balanced, selections that are ripe for recommending to customers.

“Non-classified chateaux are experimenting with modern winemaking practices in an effort to create ready to drink, lighter wines that are less rustic than they were a decade ago,” said Randall.

While classified Bordeaux wines can be aged for nearly a century and can fetch several thousand dollars per bottle at auctions around the world, they make up only five percent of the regions overall production, and the market for these collector wines has weaned in the last decade.

Today, 95 percent of the wines produced in Bordeaux, all of which are non-classified, are meant to be enjoyed immediately. Randall mentioned the many painstaking tasks and quality checks in place to ensure that no bad grapes make it into a bottle of Bordeaux.

Like other modern winemaking regions of the world, Bordeaux winemakers conduct a “green harvest,” where they will remove nearly half of their grape yields from the vine before they ripen to ensure that the other half will have more concentrated flavor.

“Winemakers are willing to make the investment of creating less wine in order to create better wine,” Randall explained to the staff. “That is because there is a growing demand for great wine that is meant to be enjoyed every day.”

Bordeaux wines can be affordable, with deep flavorful blends starting at just $15 per bottle.

Health Department fines frustrate Queens restaurant owners


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bob Doda

While the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) officials are cleaning up restaurants throughout the city, restaurant owners are claiming their wallets are being cleaned out at the same time.

Starting in July 2010, the DOHMH made it a requirement for restaurant owners to post the letter grade results of their sanitary inspection.

The grading system is intended to bolster aptitude toward being as clean as possible, but many restaurant owners believe that the frequency of inspections and number of fines received are becoming increasingly unfair.

According to the DOHMH web site, when a restaurant improves between initial inspections, the department reviews it less frequently.
“In about a year, they came three times even though we had an ‘A,’” said Dina Amatuccio, manager of Cascarino’s in Bayside. “The codes change and they don’t tell us. It’s aggravating because they come here when it’s really busy and it takes away from being able to pay attention to the customers. It’s annoying.”

Other restaurant owners in Bayside reported similar experiences with inspectors who, according to the DOHMH, are randomly assigned to specific eateries. One owner said that while an inspector may be paying attention to one area of violations, the next will concentrate on something completely different. A DOHMH spokesperson said that fines usually range from $200 to $2,000 based on severity of violations.

“We are just trying to survive here,” said one Bayside owner, also displaying an ‘A’ in his front window.

He said that despite the grade, he has had to pay violations twice over the past six months.

“The way they change the rules, I had to hire a guy just to make sure everything is perfect. I know they are trying to look out for the customer, but they should be more worried about places that have ‘B’ or ‘C’ ratings.”

Inspection cycles are individual to each restaurant, based on its pattern of cleanliness, according to the DOHMH. Some inspections are based on customers’ complaints or re-inspections from prior violations.
“The overarching goal of the restaurant letter grading program is transparency and food safety, not revenue or fines,” said a DOHMH spokesperson. “The Department is now inspecting restaurants that perform at ‘C’ grade levels about three times each year, ‘B’s twice, and ‘A’s, once per year. Each time a restaurant improves its score on its initial inspections, it can reduce the frequency with which it is inspected, and thereby decrease its potential to incur violations and pay fines.”

One Long Island City restaurant owner who received a ‘B’ inspection grade believes that the system is too ambiguous for customers to understand.

“They see a low letter grade and they automatically think the restaurant is dirty,” said the owner. “We have a ‘B’ because we didn’t have the appropriate paperwork on file. Consumers see the grade and they think the worst . . . Personally, I like the grading system. I think restaurants should put out high-quality food that is safe for the public and is held to a certain standard. I thought it was great until I saw the way they were doing it. They come in for an inspection, find something, fine you and then another inspector comes in and doesn’t inspect what the last guy inspected. He just finds something new and fines you for it.”

During the 2011 fiscal year, revenue collected for fines from food service establishments reached $42.5 million dollars, according to the DOHMH. The Health Department anticipates a five percent reduction in fines collected each year for the next two years going forward.

In January, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a fine relief program designed to reward those who got an ‘A’ grade on initial and re-inspections with no fines.

Still, restaurant owners have a different take on inspections.

“I think there’s a lot of miscommunication on the inspector’s end,” said Chris Evans, co-owner of Press 195 in Bayside with an ‘A’ grade. “You’ll get a story that something is wrong and we’ll correct it. Then, another inspector will come and say that’s not how it should be done. You’ll be told to do one thing and they fine you for it the next time.”

“Inspectors are really going rogue at this point,” said the previously-mentioned Long Island City restaurant owner. “I think the bottom line is that the city needs money . . . for us small places, these fines are killing us.”

Restaurant grades throughout the city, including all recorded violations as well as statistics from the first year of grading implementation, can be found by visitingwww.nyc.gov/health.

–With additional reporting by Melissa Chan and Steve Mosco

Edison Place: Good eats in Glendale


| smosco@queenscourier.com

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Edison Place on Urbanspoon

The corner of 71st Place and Cooper Avenue in Glendale has a long history of good food and great beer — now that historic meeting spot is home to a new restaurant looking to carry on that tradition of revelry in the neighborhood.

Edison Place opened this past March with a nod to the past, but an eye to the future. It is the perfect neighborhood spot for a drink at the bar, dinner with family or a special date, and it features an eclectic menu that will please all eaters.

The menu is straightforward and to the point – it is wonderfully stark with just the right amount of appetizers and entrees, and is absent of the sloppy hodgepodge that crowds the menus of other restaurants and gastro-pubs.

All of the starters sound incredible, but definitely don’t miss the Crackling Pork Belly served with granny smith apple and jalapeno compote. The pork belly, unctuous and salty, will turn up the salivary glands while the compote cuts through and provides a balanced flavor. The Edison Place Crab Cakes are another wise decision – full of crab and very little cake, these starters are panko-breaded and served with Savoy cabbage slaw and a flavorful horseradish dill sauce.

Other enticing appetizers include Crispy Mushroom Tart, House Cured Salmon Gravlox and Grilled Duck and Cherry Sausage.

For entrées, each dish is more drool-inducing than the last – with hearty and meaty options just waiting to slow you down and stick to your ribs. The absolute must-eat entrée is without a doubt the Crispy Pork Shank. This monstrous meat dish looks and smells amazing – and it is even acoustically amazing as running a knife through it elicits an audible crackle. The meat is sinfully tender and as the juice runs down your chin, you’ll be awash in appreciation for life itself.

Those looking for something a little lighter should try the Pan Roasted Orange Roughy – a medium-sized fish with a tasty white flesh. It’s prepared with a surprising French finesse and served with julienned spring vegetables, shrimp dumplings and lemon chive beurre blance.

Other entrees include Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, Duck Two Ways and Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon. Also, check out Edison’s daily specials: chicken pot pie on Monday, loin of pork on Tuesday, Yankee pot roast on Wednesday, turkey dinner on Thursday, lobster pot pie on Friday, Beef Wellington on Saturday and prime rib on Sunday.

Make sure you save room for dessert because Edison Place boasts options including Linzertorte pie, black forest cake and homemade apple strudel.

Edison Place is the perfect spot for all occasions. With 20 beers on tap, including local craft brews, and HD TVs, it’s a great hangout spot – but the food sets it apart and makes it a destination for eaters of all ages.

They also feature a dinner and a show once a month – the next one is a Murder Mystery Night on Friday, October 28.

Edison Place

71-28 Cooper Avenue

Glendale, NY 11385

P: 718-821-8401

Email: edisonplace.ny@gmail.com

www.edisonplaceny.com

Lunch Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dinner Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4:30 – 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, 4:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Sunday, 3:30 – 9 p.m.

Sunday Brunch: 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Bar Hours: Monday through Thursday until 2 a.m.

Friday and Saturday, until 4 a.m.

Take Out: Yes

All Major Credit Cards Accepted

Full Bar

Private Parties

Reservations recommended on weekends

Danny’s Szechuan Garden will be back soon


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Howard Beach hot spot — Danny’s Szechuan Garden — will be back in business soon.

The popular Chinese and Japanese fusion restaurant temporarily closed at the end of June this year to relocate and is scheduled to reopen before December.

But fans of the cuisine won’t have to travel much further than usual to get their dosage of fried wontons and hibachi. Danny’s is just moving up the street, to 156-40B Cross Bay Boulevard, a few blocks away from where the former restaurant stood for 33 years.

“It’s very exciting. It’s a new challenge,” said owner Danny Chan, 64.

Chan, a Howard Beach resident himself, hopes the new location will bring him more business, while continuing to keep his old friends and customers happy.

“It’s a better location. My old place was really big and I didn’t get to fully use it. There’s more traffic up the street. It’s a smaller place now and it’s easier to manage,” he said.

He also said he’s been getting a fair share of text messages from loyal customers asking when the restaurant will be open again.

“I’ve been here a long time, so I know a lot of good people and friends here. They’re happy that I’m going to reopen. I’m happy because apparently we did something right.”

With the new location, Chan said there will be a few changes, including a lunch menu and some innovative dishes.

But he said, “It’s a surprise. They have to come here to find out how good the new dishes are.”

Water’s Edge: Stunning setting, fabulous food


| vschneps@queenscourier.com

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Water's Edge on Urbanspoon
Offering the most spectacular views of Manhattan is part of what makes Water’s Edge Restaurant so special. The other part is that the food matches the setting.

After a recent renovation by new owner Singh Hospitality Group, operators of nine restaurants and catering facilities on Long Island, the cherished and respected restaurant has been brought back to its former glamour and quality. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to dine there for lunch or dinner. The menu has been carefully designed by their master chef.

We began our meal with a crunchy crab cake loaded with fish and light bread crumbs served on a bed of corn spuma. The roasted baby beet tower was beautiful to look at and tasty, too. The goat cheese Mousse Brûlée was piled between the beets in a balsamic reduction. Another winner is also the braised short rib timbale served on braised endive with chanterelles in a red wine reduction. Of course there is the perfectly-prepared classic Caesar Salad served with shaved Reggiano cheese, a nice touch. We also sampled the char-broiled baby octopus. The large portion was served with fingerling potatoes, capers and yellow peppers sprinkled with a jalapeno oil.

For our main courses we were impressed with the two steak dishes. Perfectly prepared to our order, both the filet mignon and the grilled New York strip steak are not to be missed. As a salmon lover the Waters Edge’s offering impressed me. It was a baby artichoke crusted salmon served with spaghetti squash, baby turnips – all in a saffron broth and done to my medium rare order.

For vegetarians, one of our party appreciated the stuffed vegetable trio – mushroom cannelloni, a stuffed tomato and squash. It was a delight to the eye and palate.

There is an extensive and impressive wine list that goes from moderate to expensive and the staff can advise you on your selection.

We couldn’t miss the desserts and Water’s Edge has outstanding choices. My husband had his favorite, a warmed apple crisp topped by vanilla ice cream. My friend loved the banana bread pudding served with a caramel sauce. For me, my decadent side was satisfied by the chocolate molten lava cake served with vanilla ice cream. I tried to leave some over out of respect to my figure but this one was irresistible.

Of course, if you are having a party the second floor is perfect with its floor-to-ceiling windows and marvelous food that we sampled in the dining room. They can accommodate up to 350 people.

The attentive staff and superb food make Water’s Edge in Long Island City a destination location wherever you live. There is even a weekend ferry boat that brings guests from Manhattan to their deck on the East River.

Try it, you’ll love it!

Water’s Edge Restaurant

The East River at 44th Drive

Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

Phone 718-482-0033

Fax 718-937-8817

www.watersedgenyc.com

Dinner Monday through Saturday

5:30 to 11 p.m.

Lunch Monday through Friday

noon to 3 p.m.

Free and valet parking on-site.

 

Thai Rock: This place rocks


| jlane@queenscourier.com

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Now there’s another reason to go to the beach – even in the off season.

That’s right folks – Thai food and rock and roll.

Thai Rock on Rockaway Beach, where the food rocks — and so does the music – offers Rock and Roll Friday and Saturday; Jazz Sunday and karaoke Monday.

Come for the paintings alone – they are displayed in their own special space. Geoff Rawling is the artist.

Drive to Far Rockaway – go down Cross Bay Boulevard, past Howard Beach – breeze through Broad Channel, pay the toll, cross the bridge, stay left and you’re there – Thai Rock & Roll – a new compelling place to eat on the water – not to be missed.

You can literally eat outdoors while gazing out on the water, sky, bridge and dock. This is Queens – too good to be true.

The food is amazing — everything you expect and more. We ate appetizers including fried tofu with peanut sauce, crispy spring rolls –carrot, cabbage and bean noodle — Curry Puff (sweet potato, peas and carrots) and vegetable dumplings. All were beyond good. Each dish is homemade and served with ginger, peanut and chili sauces.

Our main courses, recommended by Robert, our host and owner, who with Meeta his partner and wife runs a great establishment, were Big Bowl (steamed shrimp, glass noodle, baby corn, white onion, shitake, ginger, bell pepper and scallion with sesame oil in white wine sauce) and Flying Tiger – a marinated strip steak with sticky rice. Both dishes were exceptional.

The dessert was an awesome way to end to the meal – Bangkok Ice Cream – coconut or green tea ice cream with Lambutan.

The music started at 10 p.m. We sat outside on a large open deck surrounded by water – with drifting clouds – attended to by our wonderful server Joanne. Sometimes life is perfect.

Thai Rock

375 Beach 92nd Street, near Beach Channel Drive,

Rockaway Beach

Phone: 646-455-3991

thairock.us

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m.

Weekends noon to 11 p.m.

Bar open later

Handicap accessible

Private parties

Eat-in/take-out/delivery

All major credit cards accepted

Queens cooks with Emeril


| jlane@queenscourier.com

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Lia LoBello and Amy Hattemer have learned how to “bam” from the best.

The two Queens residents appeared in recent episodes of expert chef Emeril Lagasse’s new cooking show, “Emeril’s Table.”

“I was super pumped up when I found out I was going to be on the show,” said LoBello. “I am a fan of his and I’m trying to get better at cooking, so it was a cool way to kill two birds with one stone.”

The show, which premiered on September 26 at 11 a.m. on the Hallmark Channel, combines an educative cooking experience with the personal touch of a dinner party.

Each episode, Lagasse reserves five seats at his “table” for a select group of diners to join him and experience the nuances of cooking with a particular ingredient. He also fields questions from his guests, allowing viewers at home to learn along with the panel.

LoBello, a food blogger from Astoria, appeared on the Wild Mushrooms episode on September 27 at 11 a.m., during which the culinary craftsman prepared his original wild mushroom ragout over creamy stone ground grits and a porcini risotto with truffle oil.

“I was happy to be on the mushroom show because mushrooms are kind of a mystery to me with regards to how to cook them,” LoBello said. “I think a large part of the show was to take something you’re not familiar with and have Emeril teach you how to make it in an easy way.”

Hattemer, a Sunnyside resident who manages Joe, a coffee shop in Grand Central Station, was a guest during Coffee: Sneaky Flavor Enhancer in Savory Dishes, which aired on September 27 at 11:30 a.m. Among the dishes Lagasse added coffee to were short ribs with parmesan polenta and flank steak with a blood orange and plum salad.

“It was really cool to watch how Emeril used coffee in all these different ways,” said Hattemer. “It’s a great cooking ingredient, and you can definitely taste it. Emeril is just an amazing cook, so anything he put in front of us was going to be delicious. But it was especially interesting that coffee was a part of it.”

The experience on set was equally appreciated by the master and his apprentices.

“I have truly enjoyed filming this special series,” said Lagasse. “Some of my most fulfilling memories have been in the kitchen preparing a meal with my family and friends, and ‘Emeril’s Table’ creates that same kind of connection. Food brings us all a little closer together and I hope that as we’re gathering around my table each day everyone will invite us in to their kitchens and be inspired to cook along.”

Both LoBello and Hattemer believe they left the show as better cooks, and said they were calmed by Lagasse’s fun-loving and friendly nature.

“It was a little nerve-racking at first, but Emeril made it a very nice and comfortable atmosphere,” said LoBello. “We were all encouraged to ask questions while he was cooking, and I got the sense that he really enjoyed being the teacher, because during the breaks he would come and ask if we understood and how things tasted. I think he really wanted us to walk away having learned something.”

Discover Queens Restaurant Week Participants


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Discover Queens Restaurant Week

Discover Queens Restaurant Week now in its eighth year begins on September 19 through the 22nd and September 26 through the 29th. Most restaurants offer to a three-course prix fixe menu for $25. Participating Restaurants in Discover Queens Restaurant Week are:

1. Aegean Cove,20-01 Steinway St, Astoria,11105

2. Alberto’s,69-48 Olcott Street, Forest Hills,11375

3. Anthony’s Restaurants,222-02 Union Turnpike, Oakland Gardens,11364

4. Armondo’s Italian Restaurant,74-27 37th Ave., Jackson Heights,11372

5. Arturo restaurant,246-04 Jericho Tpke, Floral Park,11001

6. Astor Bake Shop,12-23 Astoria Blvd,Astoria,11102

7. Astor Room,34-12 36th Street @ Kaufman Astoria Studios,Astoria,11106

8. Astoria Seafood,37-10 33th Street,Astoria,11102

9. Austin’s Steak And Ale,82-70 Austin Street, Kew Gardens,11415

10. Barosas,62-37 Woodhaven Boulevard, Rego Park,11374

11. Bens Best,96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park,11374

12. Blend,47-04 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City,11101

13. Bourbon Street,40-12 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

14. Brooks 1890,24-28 Jackson Ave., Long Island City,11101

15. Buddy’s Kosher Delicatessen,215-01 73rd Avenue, Bayside,11364

16. Café Ole Restaurant,38-09 36th Ave, Long Island City,11101

17. Café Rustica,200 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck,11021

18. Cascarino’s Brick Oven Pizzeria,39-17 Bell Blvd ,Bayside,11361

19. Christo’s Steak House,41-08 23rd Ave, Astoria,11105

20. Cinco De Mayo,39-32 Bell Blvd., Bayside,11361

21. Cocina Latina Bar & Grill,125-22 Queens Blvd., Kew Garden,11415

22. Conti’s,249-11 Northern Blvd., Flushing,11362

23. Da Gianni Ristorante,21-50 44th Drive, Long Island City,11101

24. danny boy,64-56 Dry Harbor Road, Middle Village,11379

25. Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen,104-02 Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills,11375

26. Dazie’s Restaurant,39-41 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside,11104

27. Deluge Restaurant,135-20 39th Ave, Flushing ,11354

28. Dimaria’s Brick Oven Pizza,248-25 Northern Blvd., Little Neck,11362

29. Donovan’s of Bayside,214-16 41Ave., Bayside,11361

30. Due Ponti,154-11 Powells Cove Blvd,Whitestone,11357

31. Edison Place,71-28 Cooper Ave,Glendale,11385

32. El Coyote,80-18 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights,11372

33. Fino Wine & Tapas,39-13 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

34. Fontana Famous Gyros,200-02 Northern Blvd., Bayside,11361

35. Giardino Restaurant,44-37 Douglaston Parkway, Douglaston,11363

36. Il bacco,253-24 Northern Blvd, Little Neck,11362

37. Il Triangolo,96-01 Corona Ave, Corona,11368

38. Irish Cottage,108-07 72nd Ave., Forest Hills,11375

39. Jade Eatery and Lounge,1 Station Square, Forest Hills,11375

40. Joes Famous Pizzeria,61-09 Springfield Blvd, Bayside,11364

41. Kati-Allo,29-06 172nd Street, Flushing,11358

42. Katsuno Restaurant,103-01 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills,11375

43. Krolewskie Jadlo Restaurant,66-21 Fresh Pond Rd, Flushing,11385

44. La Baraka,255-09 Northern Blvd, Little Neck,11362,718

45. La Bottega,156-28 Crossbay Boulevard, Howard Beach,11414

46. La Fusta,80-32 Baxter Ave., Elmhurst,11373

47. La Gioconda,21 N Station Plaza, Great Neck,11021

48. La Rioja,33-05 Broadway, Astoria,11106

49. La Vigna,100-11 Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills,11375

50. L’Artiste,42-20 31st Ave, Astoria,11103

51. Laterna Restaurant-Catering,47-20 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

52. Lenny’s Clam Bar Inc,161-03 Crossbay Boulevard, Howard Beach,11414

53. Locale Astoria,33-02 34th Ave, Astoria,11106

54. London Lennies,63-88 Woodhaven Blvd, Rego Park,11374

55. Magna Ristorante,35-25 Farrington Street, Flushing,11354

56. Mamma Lina’s Ristorante,78-37 D Springfield Blvd, Bayside,11364

57. Mamma’s Pizza & Restaurant,47-40 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

58. Marbella Restaurant,220-33 Northern Blvd, Bayside,11361

59. Maria’s Greek Fusion Restaurant,38-11 Bell Blvd., Bayside,11361

60. Mekong East,43-13 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

61. Metro Kitchen,61-12 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside,11377

62. Mulan Restaurant, 136-17 39th Ave., 2 Floor, Flushing,11354

63. Pampas Argentinas,105-07 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills,11375

64. Papazzio,39-38 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

65. Pasta Del Giorno,70-49 Austin Street, Forest Hills,11375

66. Pasta Lovers,124-18 Queens Blvd, Kew Gardens,11415

67. Penthouse 808 at Ravel Hotel ,8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City,11101

68. Pier 25 A,215-16 Northern Blvd, Bayside,11361

69. Plum Restaurant,47-39 Bell Blvd., Bayside,11361

70. Pomme Café,37-19 Broadway, Astoria,11103

71. Ponticello Ristorante,46-11 Broadway, Astoria,11103

72. Pop Diner,80-26 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst,11373

73. Red House Asian Fusion,192-03 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows,11366

74. Riverview Restaurant,2-01 50th Avenue, Long Island City,11101

75. Safa Glatt Kosher Restaurant,451- Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck,11023

76. Sage General Store,24-20 Jackson Ave., Long Island City,11101

77. Sapori D’lschia,55-15 37th Ave, Woodside,11377

78. Satyr Grill,1109 Cypress Ave., Ridgewood,11385

79. St. James Bar And Gill,104-08 Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills,11375

80. Tang-Korean Cuisine,196-50 Northern Blvd, Flushing,11358

81. Tanko Asian Fusion & Sushi Bar,38-05 Bell Blvd., Bayside,11361

82. Tasty Grill,14-22 150 th Street, Whitestone,11351

83. Tequila Sunrise,34-37 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11361

84. Testaccio Ristorante,47-30 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City,11101

85. Thai Rock,375 Beach 92nd St, Rockaway Beach,11693

86. The Greek Family Restaurant & Grill,253-22 Union Turnpike, Glen Oaks,11104

87. Tony Roma’s,210-35 26th Ave., Bayside,11360

88. Trattoria Neo,15-01 149th Street, Whitestone,11357

89. Trattoria Thirty Five,213-15-35th Ave, Bayside,11361

90. Tuscan Hills Italian Restaurant,115-20 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills,11375

91. Uncle Peter’s,83-15 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights,11372

92. Valentino’s on the Green,201-10 Cross Island Parkway, Bayside,11360

93. Venezia Ristorante,80-60 Cooper Ave, Glendale,11385

94. Veslo,32-211 Broadway, Astoria,11106

95. Villa Rustica,73-28 Bell Blvd, Bayside,11364

96. Villaggio,150-07 14th Road , Whitestone,11357

97. Water Front Crab House,2-03 Borden Ave, Long Island City,11101

Vote for your favorite Queens bars, restaurants & catering halls


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Best Of The Boro

Over 8,000 votes have already been cast by residents in The Queens Courier’s Best of the Boro Competition.

There is only one way to make sure your favorite bar, restaurant or catering hall wins – vote. You vote, they win.

The cultural diversity in Queens is matched by the array of cuisine served up by the borough’s restaurants. Looking for a good Thai, Greek, Italian, American, Indian, Japanese, Mexican or Latin American restaurant visit the Best of the Boro voting page and see who Queens residents consider the best. Then try a couple in the category and decide who deserves your vote as the very best.

There are 44 categories of food and drink for residents to vote in: ranging from best happy hour and beer selection to best cup of coffee and dessert; from best calamari and bakery to best sports bar and catering hall. Each category will have a winner crowned Best of the Boro.

Keep your eye out for each of 150 eateries with a Best of the Boro poster in the window indicating they’ve been nominated. Restaurants will also have postcards urging customers to vote for them.

Click here to vote for your favorite restaurant or watering hole is easy. There you can vote for your favorite in each of category.

All you need to vote is a valid email and live in the continental United States. One vote per email address per day is allowed. The results are tabulated by a third party company.

To stay up-to-the-minute on the competition like the Best of the Boro page on Facebook and follow @BestOfTheBoro on Twitter.

Discover Queens Restaurant Week Returns


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Discover Queens Restaurant Week

“Maybe in the near future, we will be celebrating Discover Queens restaurant month,” said Borough President Helen Marshall speaking about the past successes of Discover Queens Restaurant Week now in its eighth year. Beginning on September 19 through the 22nd and September 26 through the 29th, close to 100 restaurants from around the borough will participate in specially prepared menus at reasonable prices with the intention of showing off what Queens eateries have to offer. Many of those restaurants participated at the kick-off event in front of Queensborough Hall where passers-by and local employees got a taste of things to come.

“We look forward to restaurant week every year,” said Les Barnes, owner of London Lennies in Rego Park who was serving up hot New England clam chowder to a long line of patrons. “It’s an opportunity for our customers and Queens residents to taste the great cuisine of the borough.”

Most of the growing list of participating restaurants will adhere to a three-course prix fixe menu for $25 like Pop Diner in Elmhurst who took first place at the Queens Economic Development Corporations (QEDC) A Taste of the World event for their plantain wrapped seasoned ground beef earlier this year.

“We will have a new, extensive menu,” said Angel Almonte, general manager. “We are hoping we will see a lot of business in the coming weeks.”

Other dishes served in front of Queensborough Hall included empanadas from El Coyote restaurant in Jackson Heights, penne a la vodka from Uncle Peter’s in Jackson Heights, sliced steak and Sambuca shrimp from Austin’s Steakhouse in Kew Gardens and Asian delicacies from Jade in Flushing. Seth Bornstein, executive director of the QEDC, hopes that this year will be even more successful than last year’s record setting number of participating restaurants.

“The Discover Queens Restaurant Week is the most delicious bargain in New York City,” said Bornstein. “There truly is something for every palate.”

Discover Queens Restaurant Week is sponsored by TD Bank, JetBlue Airlines, The Queens Courier, Restaurant Depot, Il Bacco Ristorante Italiano and Trattoria Thirty Five. For a full list of participating restaurants, visit www.discoverqueens.info.