A few days ago the folks at Mu Ramen posted Facebook photos of its brick and mortar restaurant now under construction. The owners, who were serving ramen out of Bricktown Bagel in Long Island City, decided to open a restaurant after growing popularity. The permanent location, also in Long Island City, is at 12-09 Jackson Avenue between 48th Avenue and 47th Road. (That’s the former Malu ice cream shop.) From the photos the space looks small but charming. Last we heard they were hoping to open up this summer. You can check out the menu for the popup location here.
The Deal: Looking through lists of New York City’s oldest bars, there is often a glaring omission: Neir’s Tavern. The Woodhaven pub has been in continuous operation (barring that time called Prohibition) and in the same location since 1829. That’s 25 years longer than McSorley’s, if you’re counting.
Although Neir’s may not always get the recognition it deserves, the pub has played host to a remarkable number of bold-face names. “Neir’s is known as the tavern where Mae West first performed, where actors such as W.C. Fields and businessmen like Fred Trump (Donald’s father) would gather for a drink,” says owner Loycent Gordon.
The Woodhaven mainstay has also been the backdrop to the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas and the Ben Stiller flick Tower Heist.
The Dish: Like any quality, low-key pub that prides itself on its cold beer, the signature dish at Neir’s Tavern is the burger. The Goodfella burger, named – obviously – after the film, is a half-pound burger topped with sautéed onions, grilled tomatoes, pepperjack cheese, and a chipotle-honey mayo—for just a hint of a kick.
The menu includes other dishes named in homage to the pub’s star-studded past, including the Tower Heist steak sandwich and the Mae West burger. Perhaps you could come out and see them sometime?
Now under construction in Long Island City: The Mill, a coffee shop at 44-61 11th Street, on the corner of 44th Road. We Heart LIC spotted the above photo on the Long Island City Facebook page. We Heart LIC reports: “They’re in the midst of renovations, including installing bathroom and kitchen fixtures into their 600 square foot space, and removing old partitions and adding new ones. The paperwork was all scanned in March, so it’s possible they’ll be open this summer.” GMAP
A Q’Stoner reader sent the above photo of The POP BAR, a restaurant and bar under construction at 12-21 Astoria Boulevard, on the northwest corner of 14th Street and Astoria Boulevard. As We Heart Astoria previously reported, this is the former Hell Gate Tiki location.
The roll-down gate is painted by Shiro One, a female graffiti artist from Japan. POP BAR will have murals from 5 Pointz artists gracing the interior, as well as a backyard space. The menu includes tiki tots, a bacon-wrapped hot dog, cheeses and charcuterie. And the bar will serve cans and bottles, cocktails, wines and drafts. The plan is to open up this month. GMAP
According to Bushwick Daily, popular Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s is officially serving pizza in the Rockaways. The pizza stand is located at Beach 96th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, right near Rockaway Taco. It’ll be open every weekend this summer, on Fridays from 12:30 to 6:30 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm. We haven’t seen a menu yet, but we assume they’re strictly serving up a selection of their popular pies.
The Deal: Crescent Grill opened last summer and, during our long, brutal winter, endeared itself to local residents by offering a free shuttle service to the restaurant. The menu features modern American cuisine that highlights the best of local ingredients, and the décor highlights the works of local artists and doubles as an art gallery.
The restaurant has developed a long-standing relationship with Upstate Farms, which delivers 90 percent of the restaurant’s vegetables. Originally, Crescent Grill opened as a partnership between two brothers, Shaun and Dan Dougherty, until Milton Enriquez, a winner on Chopped, joined the team last November as executive chef. The team has taken full advantage of these partnerships.
“My inspiration [for the menu] is that everything comes from the farm,” Enriquez says.
The Dish: The signature dish at Crescent Grill is no exception. Enriquez can trace the route each ingredient has taken to become part of the Magret Duck on a bed of fricasseed vegetables which include baby turnips, spring garlic, fiddlehead ferns and strawberry paint in a natural jus. Strawberry paint is simply a natural reduction of pure strawberry juice – “With no added sugar,” the chef emphasizes.
“Personally, I love duck and like to have it on the menu,” Enriquez says. “I leave as much fat on the skin as possible so the skin becomes crispy like bacon.
As the seasons and in-season vegetables change, the underlying bed of spring vegetables can rotate to include shiitake mushrooms or baby carrots.
“Everything possible comes from the farm,” says Enriquez. “When I call in the order, they cut the vegetables.”
The preparation of the menu’s duck will change in line with the seasons but whatever the preparation, guests of Crescent Grill can expect the freshest local ingredients to be included in its preparation.
Tonight, the Italian restaurant Via Vai opens up in Astoria, at 31-09 23 Avenue. We Heart Astoria reports that they will serve only dinner through this Saturday, and plan to open for lunch on Sunday. Next week, Via Vai will be open for both lunch and dinner. The restaurant’s website says this about the food: “VIA VAI’s goal is to offer our customers a fresh, contemporary take on traditional Italian food, in a friendly, comfortable environment.” There will be house-made pasta and sauces, paninis on fresh focaccia, salads, brick oven Roman-style pizza and a selection of deserts — the online menu isn’t up just yet. Above, a shot of the restaurant while it was still under construction.
The Deal: The eight-month-old New York Dog House is the vision of a father-and-son duo. What began as a “whim,” according to the son, has turned into one of Astoria’s most niche restaurants after four years of fortuitous meetings. During dinner at a relaxed restaurant in Delaware, Vlad Stern and his father, Sam Stern, wanted to recreate the vibe at their own restaurant.
“It’s still fresh. It’s still new. And we plan to keep it fresh and new with an evolving menu. We’re just taking it day by day,” he says.
They’ve been aided by the neighborhood as they strive to find the perfect blend of gourmet dogs and drinks as well as a larger menu including salads and entrees to feed the area. Vlad says that comment cards in every check have yielded a positive response and plenty of constructive criticism. “People are digging it and we like that they’re digging it” he says.
The Dish: The Far East Dog is the brain child of chef Jeffrey White. The Asian-seasoned pork sausage is topped with a generous amount of pickled daikon, scallions, peanuts and the chef’s secret chili paste sauce. “It’s very popular and very unique” Vlad says. “The Far East Dog definitely grabs our guests’ attention and gives you a sense of the attitude and creativity we have in our establishment.”
White joined the restaurant after replying to a sign in the window two months before the restaurants opening and Vlad cites the partnership as one of the fortuitous meetings “Jeffrey is very good and has plenty of room to play with the menu.”
With a chef willing to use bold flavors and a back patio perfect to dine in, Astoria residents may have found their new summer haunt.
This really might be the greatest thing since the invention of sliced bread… and bungeoppang,gobi paratha, naan, roti andtiropita. The newly opened League of Kitchens offers cooking workshops that combine culinary adventure, cultural enrichment, great food, and even a bit of interior design. The instructors hail from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Greece, India, Korea and Lebanon. Most reside in Queens, and they all offer their classes in their homes. Participants help cook meals, contribute their own ideas and personal stories, and help clean up afterwards. Then, they go home with recipes for all the dishes and a starter kit that includes spices and specialty ingredients.
It’s coming, and it’s coming soon. The 9th Annual food and drink festival, the Taste of LIC, is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 3rd. The event begins at 5:30 pm and takes place in Gantry State Park. There will be more than 50 local restaurants serving up food and drinks — you can check out the full lineup, which includes M. Wells, The Creek & The Cave, Sweetleaf and Woodbines, here. LIC Post reports that the organizers, the Chocolate Factory Theater, expect a crowd as big as 1,400 people.
The proceeds from this foodie extravaganza, which also includes a raffle and auction, go toward The Chocolate Factory’s 2014-15 season. Ticket prices range from $60 to $400. Presale ticket sales end at midnight on May 31st, but there also should be some tickets for sale the day of the event.