Tag Archives: tapas

‘Blend’ to perfection

| editorial1@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Blend LIC

The menu at Blend in Long Island City has something for everyone. Latin fusion cuisine, inventive tapas, and homemade sangria – the list is never-ending. Combine this stellar menu with a chic atmosphere and brilliant location, and you’ve found a true culinary gem. Whether you’re looking for a quick after-work bite or a luxurious Sunday brunch, you won’t be disappointed.

Begin your meal with a glass of the house sangria and some “tapatizers” – Blend’s modern take on classic tapa dishes such as calamari, camarones and empanadas. The maduros con queso combines sweet, yellow plantains with cotija cheese and a heap of sour cream. If you prefer tacos, order the taco trio. Chicken, tender braised beef and fresh pico de gallo, a modern, aesthetic take on classic comfort food. For a taste of the most popular tapas, order the tapatizer sampler – complete with chicharrones, crispy calamari, tender maduros, shrimp and empanadas.

Entrees at Blend utilize classic ingredients, yet delicately infuse aspects of modern Latin cuisine. The churrasco is served with white rice, black beans and mixed salad. The presentation is just as impressive as the quality of the food. The pernil combines tender roasted pork with “blend sauce” served over a bed of yellow rice and black beans. If you prefer seafood, order the paella, with yellow rice, shrimp, calamari, mussels, clams, chorizo and peas. I’m not sure if it was the mix of fresh, quality seafood, the memorable combination of flavor or the stunning presentation, but I am sure I will order this dish again.

Side dishes are reasonably priced and represent staple culinary items such as yucca fries, sweet plantains and tostones. If you’re eating light, Blend offers an abundance of salads including the Queso de Cabra, mixed greens, spicy pecans, crispy goat cheese and sherry vinaigrette- very tasty. All salads are available with avocado, chicken or shrimp for a small fee.

The atmosphere at Blend is truly unforgettable, combining deep, rich mahogany with a rustic brick backdrop. Walls are lined with imaginative, modern paintings and there is a contemporary, sizeable bar. Latin American cuisine, tropical cocktails and a sultry atmosphere all come together to create an enjoyable, memorable dining experience. Make sure to stop by Blend on Vernon Boulevard for a delicious, homemade meal in an atmosphere you won’t forget.


47-04 Vernon Boulevard

Long Island City, NY 11101

Open every day

11 a.m. -10 p.m.

Lunch, brunch and dinner



Wheelchair accessible

All major credit cards accepted


Tapas for everyone

| editorial1@queenscourier.com

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At Saffron, a restaurant/tapas bar in Howard Beach, the menu focuses on traditional Spanish dishes and homemade delicacies while incorporating a surplus of heart-healthy ingredients. Traditional Spanish omlettes, homemade paella, a beautiful assortment of olives and cheeses – this establishment has a little bit of everything.

The menu at Saffron highlights traditional Spanish tapas – including seafood, veggies and meats. Tapas, or small dishes, are a staple of Spanish cuisine often served with aged wines and eaten with family or friends. At Saffron, something for everyone – oysters, sautéed shrimp, cornmeal crusted calamari, bacon wrapped scallops, lamb kabobs, olive tapenade – the list is never ending.

Order a bottle of wine, choose some tapas, and enjoy this authentic culinary experience that will transform the average Joe into a modern-day food connoisseur. If you’re in the mood for seafood, order the bacon wrapped scallions, served with a wild mushroom risotto. In the mood for something less traditional? Try the lamb kabobs served with tzaziki, cucumber and flatbread.

Typical tapas plates are available on the menu, such as the spinach and artichoke dip, quesadillas, and plato de Quesos (a divine assortment of cheeses). The infamous “Plato de Chacuteria” is a customer favorite, which combines meats, marinated olives and toasted crostini.

In addition to the tapas, Saffron offers a “build your own entrée” option – in which customers select one main course, one starch and one sauce. Choose from: steak, baby rack of lamb, lobster, red snapper, pan seared salmon, chicken or fresh cut pork chops. Another option for dinner is the paella – choose from seafood, meat, or vegetarian.

Make sure to order the house sangria which has become the “talk of the town” – choose from the Wildberry Red (a beautiful assortment of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries all immersed in berry vodka and red wine) or the White Peach (Absolut Peach, peach schnapps, white wine, peach nectar, peaches, oranges and apples). An impressive cocktail menu is available in addition to beer, sparkling wines and champagnes.

Saffron is the perfect “after work” spot to grab a bite and have a glass of wine. Classic ambiance, a surplus of culinary options and an impressive drink menu prove for an unrivaled dining experience. Management at Saffron offers half price bottles of wine Sunday to Thursday, and a killer lunch menu. Try the parpadelle pasta with braised short ribs, pepper crusted pork loin or chimichurri steak. The prix fixe lunch menu offers restaurant-goers a four course meal for under $30 – complete with salad, tapas, entrée and dessert.

If you’ve been searching for an innovative dining experience, Saffron is the answer. Good food, helpful staff and homemade infused cocktails – Saffron in Howard Beach has stepped outside the box and created a dining experience that will transform “first-timers” into regulars.

Saffron Restaurant and Tapas Bar
161-50 Cross Bay Boulevard
Howard Beach, NY 11414
Phone: 347-392-4152
Email: saffronrest@aol.com


Mondays: CLOSED
Sunday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.


A feast just off Bell Boulevard

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Steve Mosco
There are plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry on Bell Boulevard – but for a comfortably elegant setting, turn your attention just off of Bayside’s main strip.

Bentley’s Off Bell (213-41 39th Avenue), a newly opened restaurant featuring delectable international fare, entices patrons the moment the doors swing open. The restaurant is spacious and classy, with a bar/lounge area up front and a gorgeously cozy dining room in the back. Even before the food comes out, Bentley’s gives itself up as an ideal destination for a date or a group of friends.

But Bentley’s is more than just dinner – a staircase leads up to a private catering space. It’s the perfect spot for just about any catered affair, including afternoon business meetings, as the restaurant will open for such occasions. If requested, Bentley’s will provide both floors to private functions.

On the eating occasion, the focus rests squarely on the food. Bentley’s boasts a tempting tapas menu for eaters who want a little bit of everything. Options include mussels in a white wine pepper sauce, crispy fried formaggio, hot spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, portabello stuffed ravioli and sirloin sliders.

For entrees, be sure to try the braised beef short ribs. These mouthwatering gems are simmered in Burgandy wine for hours until succulently tender – flawlessly cooked, the meat easily cuts from the bone and is loaded with beefy sumptuousness. Another can’t-miss-dish is the almond crusted tilapia, coated with almonds and sautéed with lemon butter. The fish is moist and flakey. Both dishes are served with choice of potato and the vegetable of the day – I recommend the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a crisp vegetable medley.

Bentley’s also offers some great burgers too. Besides the standard burger, they also have a stuffed burger, which is both stuffed and topped with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon; and a béchamel cheese burger, a cheese lover’s dream smothered with béchamel cheddar cheese sauce.

And this elegant food is available for neighborhood prices. The owners believe that a touch of class shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg – the food is for everyone’s purse.

Specialty nights include Wine & Dine Wednesdays, where patrons can get half off their bottle of fine wine; Tequila Tuesdays, featuring $5 margaritas; Girls Night Out Thursdays, with $3 well drinks and $5 martinis; Taps and Tapas Mondays, featuring $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beers and half-price appetizers; as well as a Tavern Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, with half-price appetizers, $3 well drinks, $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beer and $5 house wine.

If you’re looking for a place to party for New Years Eve, Bentley’s will feature a special ala carte menu along with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.