New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells wrote an excellent guide for Korean food in Queens, which can be found beyond the last stop on the 7 train “in Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside and beyond, serving famous Korean dishes and obscure ones.” Here’s a taste of what’s there: “Beef barbecue and blood sausage; wheat noodles in deep steaming bowls and arrowroot noodles in broth chilled with ice crystals; tofu casseroles and live octopus; Korean-Chinese restaurants and Korean-French bakeries; beery pubs and studious espresso bars; chicken fried in a shattering crust of rice flour and chicken boiled whole with ginseng.” Wells believes that the so-called “Queens kimchi belt” is one of the least explored and celebrated ethnic food districts in the city.
He lists 12 of his favorite spots, many of which are located in Murray Hill and Auburndale. And he offers some dining tips, as well: “I followed the lead of the locals. Rather than taking the full measure of a menu, as a restaurant critic normally would, I zeroed in on one or two specialties. I compared them with other competing versions nearby. I would taste all the claimants on the same day when I could, although I had to break my fried-chicken safari into two trips.”
Topos Bookstore is located at 788 Woodward Avenue, between Putnam Avenue and Madison Street. We hear there’s a good selection of books, including children’s books. Ridgewood Beat noted that there was an open house Sunday night, with an official grand opening coming soon. Then there’s Buttah Bakery, under construction at 377 Onderdonk Avenue between Stanhope and Stockholm Streets. The owners, two sisters from Williamsburg, gave Ridgewood Social some more details on the coming opening: “Buttah is an American bakery committed to using the freshest and highest quality ingredients. All of our items are freshly baked daily from scratch on premise. Our menu includes many sweet and savory American and Italian-American classic treats with a twist. We don’t have a Grand Opening date yet but we’re hoping for before the holidays.” Two very nice additions to the nabe!
This Friday the 19th, The Beast Next Door will open at 42-51 27th Street in Long Island City. The bar and cafe, located off Queens Plaza North, will offer coffee, sandwiches, salads, meats and cheeses, wine and draft beer (including local brews). The hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 2 am and Monday from 11 am to 7 pm. We Heart LIC checked out the soft opening and reports back on the 1,000-square-foot space:
It’s really quite nice—an open space with lots of tables, chairs, and benches; a cooler case and bar on the left (with lights hanging down above it, attached to a horizontally suspended ladder); and the beautiful Turkish-inspired carved art on the back wall. The place felt really cozy and warm, and I think this will be a wonderful option for local folks especially.
The bar’s grand opening will take place from 11 am to 2 am and include live music. At the back of the bar there’s a raised platform intended for bands and other performers.
First an indie coffee shop, now a “tiki bar–cum–cocktail club” for Forest Hills. Edge of the City pointed us to this Time Out article published in late November about End of the Century Bar, now open at 104-08 Metropolitan Avenue between 71st Drive and 72nd Avenue. It is the work of bartenders who have done stints at Pegu Club, PKNY and Maison Premiere. Here, they came up with a menu of classic cocktails with some twists — scorpion bowls, moscow mules, a rum-absinthe-lime punch, and more. And the decor sounds cool, too: “Inspired by the trio’s own homes, the walls are dotted with Indonesian masks, maracas from Cuba, vintage Russian cameras and linens from Japan,” says Time Out.
Soon after the cocktail bar Onderdonk & Sons opened on Onderdonk Avenue, we got word of a Belgian beer bar slated to open on Fresh Pond Road. Called The Monk, the bar specializes primarily in Belgian beers and will have a strict “no TV” policy. According to Bedford and Bowery, “The name of the bar is an homage to the Trappist Monks who famously brew their own beer, considered among the best in the world.” There will be eight rotating beers on tap, a unique selection of bottled beers, and a backyard to drink in when the weather’s warm.
The grand opening is tomorrow, Saturday, from 5 pm to 2 am. Regular hours will be Monday through Thursday, 5 pm to midnight, Friday from 5 pm to 2 am, Saturday from 2 pm to 2 am, and Sunday from 2 pm to midnight. The Monk is located at 68-67 Fresh Pond Road, just north of Myrtle Avenue. GMAP
Last Friday, the bar Onderdonk & Sons opened in Ridgewood at 566 Onderdonk Avenue, between Bleecker and Menahan Streets. They are open everyday from 4 pm, with a happy hour from 4 to 7 pm (draughts for $4 and all cocktails for $5). Cocktails, which normally cost $7, include a Moscow Mule, a “Poor Man’s Sangria” and a Fall Harvest, served with apple shrub and sweet vermouth. There’s also a modest selection of canned beers and wine.
The spot looks beautiful, with exposed brick, leather booths and tin ceilings. Onderdonk & Sons also plans to start serving burgers and brunch soon. GMAP
What’s up at Julia’s, the beer and wine bar under construction at 818 Woodward Avenue in Ridgewood? The owners of the space, who also operate the local cafe Norma’s, planned to open in late September, but that date has come and gone. According to Julia’s Facebook, the opening date became murky while waiting for approvals from the Department of Buildings. But their latest update seems promising: “As you guys know, we have been at a standstill for a while now, waiting on the approval from the Department of Buildings. We finally have an inspection date! This Tuesday [today] the DOB will be coming to Julia’s and we’ll finally get an idea of when we can open. Wish us luck, we’ll keep you posted.” Good luck, guys!
Once open, the bar will serve a variety of New York craft beers (featuring Finback, Bridge and Tunnel and Transmitter Breweries) alongside a menu of charcuterie and cheese plates.
Today, Mu Ramen opens at 12-09 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. It’s a highly anticipated opening ever since the owners received tons of praise for their ramen, which they originally served out of Bricktown Bagel in LIC. They’ve been at work building out a brick and mortar restaurant since this summer. The New York Times said this about the new space: “The new Mu Ramen, brick-walled with smart dark-wood finishes, has an open kitchen and 22 seats at the counter and a communal table. The cooks double as waiters.”
You can see the sample menu here, which includes a selection of steamed buns, mussels, deep fried chicken wings, spicy miso and different ramen bowls with custom-tailored noodles. At first, Mu will only be open for dinner with plans to open for lunch in a few weeks.
This month, the Aperitif Bistro Lounge Wine Bar opened at 213-41 39th Avenue, in Bayside. (It’s the former location of Bentley’s Off Bell, which is predictably located right off Bell Bouelvard.) This is the second location of the restaurant; the first is located in Long Island. The menu focuses on “French cuisine infused with a Mediterranean and Asian flair,” with dishes like tuna and steak tartare, scallops and shrimp with sautéed leeks, steak frites and a seared duck breast. Here’s the menu for the Long Island location, where entrees run from $21 to $34.
The two-floor restaurant seats 148 and includes a bar and lounge area. Right now, Aperitif serves dinner daily and will start serving lunch and brunch in the next few weeks. The current hours are Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 pm.
Check out two more interior shots after the jump — the space looks great. GMAP
The latest book obsession over at Q’Stoner is Queens: A Culinary Passport by Astoria-based food writer Andrea Lynn. The book is an awesome guide to eating in Queens, highlighting more than 40 diverse restaurants and food stands throughout the borough. There are also recipes inspired by Queens dishes, interviews with chefs and local foodies, and suggestions for under-the-radar grocery stores, markets and delis.
We spoke to Andrea about her experience writing the book, tips on navigating unfamiliar dining scenes, her top restaurant recommendations and more. You can purchase her book online on Amazon or in person at Astoria Bookshop.
Brownstoner Queens: What neighborhood do you live in and how did you end up there?
Andrea Lynn: I live in Astoria. My story for arriving into the neighborhood isn’t super original: I already knew a handful of people in Astoria, plus it was close to Manhattan for an easy work commute.
BQ: Where did the idea for a Queens-based food book originate?
AL: Well, I think Brooklyn gets a lot of hype for its trendy food scene, as does Manhattan, of course. Queens has such a fabulously diverse food culture which doesn’t get the merit it deserves. While specific Queens restaurants certainly get a bit of buzz, I felt the borough as whole doesn’t get the culinary love it deserves. So I had the idea to showcase the irresistible, ethnic food of Queens.
BQ: How would you describe the food scene in Queens right now? What was most important for you to capture in your book?
AL: I live off of 30th Avenue in Astoria, and it kind of blows my mind the amount of trendy restaurants and fancy cocktails in Astoria versus when I first moved here seven years ago. Same for Long Island City. But as far as the book, I wanted to capture a slice of the ethnic variety. A Culinary Passport isn’t just a catchy title but in Queens, you really feel like you’re traveling and experiencing so many other cultures.