Tag Archives: Queens Comfort

Eat your veggies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BRADLEY HAWKS

If I had a dollar for every time my mother told me to eat my vegetables before I could have dessert, I would be a wealthy man. If I had simply eaten the vegetables and forgone the dessert altogether, well, I can only imagine… But the truth of the matter is that vegetables aren’t just good for you. They can be just plain good. Even fantastic. So this month I thought I would share some of my favorite vegetarian dishes I have been enjoying recently. Two of them may have eggs on them, but a few them are even vegan. My hope is that even those who do not identify as a vegetarian or vegan personally might find one or two things to consider ordering.

Beet Tartare with Mustard Seeds at M. Wells Dinette

Nothing is ever what it seems at M. Wells, in a most deliciously playful way. Golden beets are minced and tossed with a hint of horseradish and mustard seeds, then topped with a poached egg. It is a tartare that won’t raise your cholesterol or drain your pocketbook either.

22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City

Seaweed Salad with Sesame Dressing at Oyster Café of New York

Many Japanese restaurants boast a seaweed salad, but most renditions are swimming in sugar. At this new Oyster parlor, the ocean greens are also blue and red, tossed in a light sesame dressing that allows the ocean and earth to sing together.

25-07 Broadway, Astoria

Vegan Fried Chicken at Soulkofa at the LIC Flea

There is nothing remotely fowl about this mock chicken. The chef at Soulkofa has mastered a vegan fried version of the most tender, juicy chicken around that makes everything else taste like it is for the birds.

Vegetarian Meatloaf Sandwich at Queens Comfort

Who knows how the chef gets things so right at this Astoria hotspot every single time. This meatloaf tastes just like the name, and comes with a smear of sundried tomato ketchup, a blanket of melted cheddar, and a crispy crown of battered onion rings.

40-09 30th Ave., Astoria

Oeuf Gamin at Francis Café 

This dish is like a golden benedict plucked directly from the spring garden. A warm bed of ratatouille is flawlessly tender and tangy, topped with a triangle of goat cheese hash that could be eaten by the pieful. When that bright yellow yolk bursts over all of it, it gets pretty serious.

35-01 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria

Buckwheat Pasta with Potatoes and Fontina at Ornella Trattoria

His father ran a flour mill, so Giuseppe Viterale knows how to make a killer homemade pasta with unique flours, like this buckwheat tagliatelle topped with tender spuds and braised cabbage, all brought together with rich fontina cheese.

29-17 23rd Ave., Astoria

 

Guy Fieri’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ stops by Queens Comfort


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Donnie D’Alessio/Queens Comfort

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” drove into the borough to film an episode at Astoria‘s Queens Comfort.

The Food Network show, hosted by colorful television personality, cookbook author and restaurateur Guy Fieri, follows him as he visits “classic ‘greasy spoon’ spots” around North America.

Queens Comfort owner Donnie D’Alessio, already a fan of the program, was “honored” when “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” contacted him a couple of months ago for an initial interview.

“For us to pop up in their research, it was so rewarding,” said D’Alessio.

“A lot of the food they showcase is very unique and it’s something that we pride ourselves on here,” he said about the 30th Avenue restaurant.

After making the cut, the show came to shoot at Queens Comfort for two days last week.

Though the filming took a lot of work, including shutting down the restaurant, preparing eight dishes, and remaking some of the food several times over, it was well worth it, said D’Alessio.

“I got along with him really well. He was fun to hang out with,” he said about meeting Fieri.

D’Alessio does not know when the episode featuring Queens Comfort will air yet, but no matter what exposure it may lead to, the experience is what was the most important.

“It all felt like a dream. I felt like Dorothy for two days,” he said.

Queens Comfort isn’t the only eatery in the borough “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” recently visited.

The show also filmed at Bun-Ker Vietnamese, located at 46-63 Metropolitan Ave. in Ridgewood, according to the restaurant.

 

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Local food photographer debuts exhibit at 2nd Annual Astoria Art Festival


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Bradley Hawks

Looking at the 16 photos hanging on the wall of what he calls one of his favorite restaurants “in the whole world,” Bradley Hawks can remember the story behind each shot.

Celebrating the opening reception of his food photography exhibit on October 1 at Queens Comfort, located at 40-09 30th Avenue in Astoria, Hawks debuted 16 photographs of distinct plates from local restaurants he has visited throughout the years. The exhibit was part of the 2nd Annual Astoria Art Festival, which ran from September 27 to October 6.

 

“I’m still wrapping my head around it,” said the BORO Magazine editor-in-chief.

This is the first time his photographs have ever been displayed in frames and on a wall. The majority of his shots are displayed in BORO Magazine, LIC Courier and The Queens Courier with his weekly dining reviews and interviews.

Yet after he was approached by Lizabeth Nieves, founder and organizer of the art festival, he was given the opportunity to see his shots like never before.

“It’s exciting to see them as art for the first time,” he said.

Hawks had to choose 16 of his favorite shots for the festival from a digital library of close to 30,000 photographs. Some of the Astoria restaurants include Astor Bake Shop, Tufino Pizzeria and The Queens Kickshaw.

After moving to New York to be a teacher, Hawks took a break and was told by friends to launch a food blog because they always turned to him for restaurant recommendations.
With no experience or education in photography, he began his blog three to four years ago with what he called “shaky” photos. He got the opportunity to watch and learn about lighting and angling from renowned photographer Richard Avedon.

Since then, Hawks has been visiting local restaurants and capturing the story behind each plate. Hawks said he does not change anything about the plates because he wants his readers to see the same food they get when visiting the restaurants.

“I really like these images to help tell my stories,” he said. “It’s like my diary and it tells of my experiences.”

THE COURIER/Photos By Angy Altamirano

 

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Cap’n Crunch and Fritos get gourmet treatment at Queens Comfort


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

On any given Sunday in Astoria, upwards of 50 guests huddle in the entryway to Queens Comfort near the Big Chief smoker, or perch on swivel stools at the former diner counter. They’re waiting to jigsaw their party into the long communal table, reminiscing while Hulk Hogan battles on WWF reruns, gawking at a young loin-clothed Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Conan the Destroyer,” or quoting the dialogue to “Weird Science”… all projected onto a screen at the back of the dining room.

But far more than just memory-evoking TV and tchotchkes (and morsels), some serious love goes into the cooking and service; it is the sort of place where the whole family pitches in on the recipes and operations.

Owner and cook Donnie D’Alessio opened Queens Comfort almost two years ago, and the menu has been perpetually evolving. “Our style is contrast,” he said. “We like to layer, and we take a lot of care into how people register flavors.”

Recent additions have featured a touch of lighter fare, including the Boomer Burger—a crunchy parmesan-crusted vegetarian mushroom patty with herbed aioli. A crispy fried tofu sandwich arrives glistening with siu hau sauce and a haystack of Asian slaw, next to a roasted beet and goat cheese terrine over mixed greens and white raisins.

The most popular mouthwatering layering of flavors are the signature Cap’n Crunch chicken fingers—substantially plump and juicy tenders dusted with the crushed sweet peanut butter cereal, accompanied by a ramekin of thick caramel sauce studded with bits of smoked bacon and red pepper flakes. The red peppers are home-dried by D’Alessio’s father, a tradition passed down from his grandmother—which are used as a seasoning in several of the dishes and soups.

A rotating “Burger Stand” showcases a stellar take on In-N-Out’s Animal Burger with a dead-ringer of the special sauce and caramelized onions, only on a much thicker and juicier patty; a PB&J Burger with a slab of smoked bacon; and a behemoth Ring of Fire Burger stacked with a fiery inferno of battered bell pepper rings stuffed with fried jalapenos, melted cheddar, and sriracha mayo. Another comes blanketed in dijonnaise, cheddar, and crunchy fried pickle coins. Daily specials range from ancho-chili loaded Frito pies to exotic hot dogs, smoked BBQ and beer cheese soups.

In a neighborhood where brunch is the busiest meal of the week, the BYOB policy creates a vibe of communal party, with store-bought bottles of bubbly and pitchers of orange juice on nearly every table, accompanying the menu offerings of Stumptown coffee, Harney & Sons teas, and seasonal pressed juices, ciders, and berry lemonades.  Benedicts abound in every ingredient combination, and omelettes come laced with confits and vintage cheeses.  Fried chicken sandwiched between homemade waffles gets doused in hot sauce, syrup, and butter.

Desserts are often the handiwork of D’Alessio’s mom and sister, with sweet concoctions like red velvet bread pudding or double-glazed Trix donuts. So be sure to arrive with a hearty appetite, and perhaps be willing to wait a few minutes for that table, especially on the weekend. Because when it does come, the food is hug-your-ribs comforting, and the kind of stuff worth bragging about to friends for weeks to come.

Queens Comfort
40-09 30th Ave (one-half block east of Steinway), Astoria
718-728-2350

Daily menu posted at queenscomfort.blogspot.com
BYOB

Hours:
Closed Mondays
Tue-Fri Lunch 12-4
Tues-Fri Dinner 6-9:30
Sat & Sun Brunch 10-4
Saturday Dinner 6-10
Closed Sunday Dinner

 

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