03/25/14 12:30pm

mushroom stroganoff_700

Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email emily@brownstoner.com.

The Spot: Bear Restaurant, 12-14 31st Avenue, Long Island City.

The Deal: Bear Restaurant was opened by siblings Natasha and Sasha Pogrebinsky and serves the Eastern European cuisine of their childhood, with a local twist. Sasha mixes and develops cocktails while Natasha runs the kitchen.

“Traditions and culture are what drives the design of our menu, which changes frequently based on what is fresh and available at the local farmer’s markets,” says Natasha.

The cash-only restaurant has drawn the attention of the New York Times and Michelin Guides.

The Dish: When at Bear, try the as-seen-on-TV dish of mushroom stroganoff. Natasha prepared a variation of the dish when competing on Food Network’s Chopped (Season 16, Episode 14), and it has been a customer favorite since debuting on the menu.

The mushroom stew is made daily and combines stewed mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and finished with sunflower and truffle butter. It’s then served over house-made pasta, which is cut by hand.

“Steeped in tradition, culture and history, Bear tries to transcend time by reinventing this age-old recipe from Eastern Europe and bring it into a more comfortable, modern and relaxed feel of the Bear dining room,” Natasha says.

For a refreshing drink, try Sasha’s St. Dill Martini, a sophisticated twist on the ubiquitous pickleback: a vodka and pickle martini.

03/03/14 2:00pm


The Sunnyside liquor store under construction for quite some time now at 41-26 Greenpoint Avenue is opening soon. Sunnyside Post reports that the store, named Blue Z Liquor, faced holdups after a group of nearby liquor stores tried to convince the SLA not to grant the new business a liquor license. According to the Post, “The owner of Blue Z Liquor was able to get the liquor license by convincing the SLA that the store would not cause undue hardship on its competitors and there was a population that needed to be served.” Blue Z will be a large space — a grand total of 2,400 square feet — and looks close to opening. The shelves are now up in the store and construction has more or less wrapped.

Liquor Store to Open on Greenpoint Avenue, Despite Competitors Trying to Deny it a License [Sunnyside Post]
Liquor Store, Cafe Coming to Sunnyside [Q'Stoner] GMAP

01/17/14 4:00pm


On Wednesday, the folks at 4540 Center Boulevard threw a party for a new piece of artwork displayed in the LIC condo building. It’s called “August Rush Hour/The Grand Central Terminal” and it’s by local artist Elinore Schnurr. Schnurr has displayed artwork at MoMA, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. According to the press release, “Grand Central was chosen as the subject for the painting because of its iconic status, proximity to Long Island City, and place as a vessel of opportunity for the millions of people that pass through it every day.” The art fixture is now permanently displayed in the lobby. Click through to see a photo of the artist with her work, as well as a closeup of the piece.


01/17/14 2:00pm


Here’s the latest on Pink Nori, a unique sushi spot slated for Astoria. The restaurant, located at 36-06 30th Avenue, right next to Antika Pizzeria, is scheduled to open on Monday, January 27th. Pink Nori is the brainchild of Stony Brook University student Jesse Tang, who won the $10,000 Long Island Youth Entrepreneur Challenge with the idea of a make-it-yourself sushi menu. He is opening the restaurant with his family. The name Pink Nori refers to a type of sushi wrapper made from soybeans, not seaweed, that is colored pink.

The photo above was taken over the summertime, we can’t wait to see the final product later this month!

Roll-Your-Own-Sushi Restaurant Plans to Open in Astoria This Summer [Q'Stoner] GMAP

01/14/14 12:30pm

Queens Comfort_700

Welcome to a new Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email emily@brownstoner.com

The Spot: Queens Comfort, 40-09 30th Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: Queens Comfort lives up to its name with the food on its menu. The food served takes the best of American comfort food and adds twists inspired by the most diverse borough and the chef’s family. The cash-only restaurant opened in 2011 and has slowly built a loyal following of customers the owners refer to as “family.”

The Dish: Find the Queens Comfort Signature Dish on its brunch menu. Most restaurants serve a version of an eggs Benedict but few – if any – borrow from BBQ and Ecuadorian family recipes. The South by Southwest Benedict does. A deep-fried and house-made corn tamale is topped with 12-hour-smoked pulled pork, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.

“Our chef, Hernan Heras, uses his mother’s Ecuadorian family recipe to make a corn tamale from fresh corn that is much more like a cornbreak than a traditional Mexican tamale,” says Donnie Dalessio, restaurant owner. “We put our spin on it by deep frying the corn tamale in our extra crispy batter – the same batter we use to fry our chicken – and incorporate good, old American BBQ sauce that we make from scratch.”

The homemade ingredients combined with the classic Benedict ingredients of a poached egg and hollandaise sauce make the South by Southwest Benedict a favorite at Queens Comfort. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

01/10/14 4:00pm


Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blaso swore Queens Borough President Melinda Katz into office — the photo of the event comes from her Twitter account. According to Queens Courier, Mayor de Blasio had some nice words to share about our new borough president: “I have to tell you that Melinda brings so much to this job. She has a real passion for the people she serves. She loves this borough. I can tell you that because I’ve seen her stand up for Queens many times.” Her goals upon entering office include permanent Rockaway ferry service and increased primary and urgent care facilities. Katz succeeds Helen Marshall, who served as borough president since 2001.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz Sworn in by Mayor de Blasio [Queens Courier]

12/24/13 1:15pm

We are taking off early for the holiday today, and will be running on a light schedule until January 2. We’ll publish Daily Links and breaking news, and we won’t publish Christmas or New Year’s Day. We will resume our normal schedule in the new year, on Thursday, January 2. Have a wonderful holiday, Queens!

12/13/13 1:00pm


The Pirogue is a colorful and compelling drama about 30 Senegalese economic migrants who sail to Spain in small boat, facing a treacherous Atlantic Ocean and the possibility of never reaching their destination. Return to Gorée follows Youssou N’Dour as the Senegalese singer traces jazz’s trail from Africa to the U.S. His goal is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire of his own songs to perform a concert in Gorée, the island that symbolizes the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Both movies will screen in Jamaica’s Black Spectrum Theatre on Saturday as part of the African Diaspora Film Festival. Now in its 20th year, the festival features everything from world premieres to classic movies and Q&A to panel discussions. On Sunday, Sunnyside’s Thalia Spanish Theatre will screen six movies: Papa National Oyé, a political satire of African dictators; Kinshasa Mboka Té, a documentary about the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Tula the Revolt, which stars Danny Glover as the leader of a slave uprising on the Dutch-occupied Caribbean island of Curacao in 1795; Amnesty, which depicts a young Kenyan couple living the American dream until an ICE audit reveals a damaging secret; Mother of George, which is about a Nigerian couple in Brooklyn that can’t conceive a child; and Spies of Mississippi, which tells the story of a secret spy agency that seeks to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy in 20th century Mississippi.

Details: December 14th, Return to Gorée, 2 pm, and The Pirogue, 4:30 pm, Black Spectrum Theatre, Baisley Boulevard at 177th Street, Roy Wilkins Park, Jamaica, prices vary.

Details: December 15th, Papa National Oyé and Kinshasa Mboka Té, 1:30 pm; Tula the Revolt, 3:30 pm; Amnesty and Mother of George, 5:30 pm; and Spies of Mississippi, 8 pm, Thalia Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside, prices vary. (more…)

12/09/13 12:00pm

32-56 76th street

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom rental comes from a Jackson Heights home at 32-56 76th Street. Since it is on the top floor, you’ve got plenty of angled ceiling details. Otherwise it looks like a straightforward one bedroom, asking $1,500 a month. The price seems high to us considering it’s a ways away from the main Jackson Heights drag and subway stations. What do you think?

32-56 76th Street [Keller Williams] GMAP

10/29/13 4:00pm


Documentary filmmaker Dan Hendrick is raising funds for his new feature-length film Jamaica Bay Lives!, a documentary highlighting the problems affecting the estuary. He hopes to chronicle the long history of neglect and underinvestment of this wildlife refuge and the recent efforts to transform the bay into a “world class” harbor estuary. He has raised more than $11,000 online and is hosting a fundraiser/house party in Long Island City tomorrow evening with Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. If you’re interested in attending the party, email JamaicaBayLives@gmail.com for more information.

Jamaica Bay Lives [IOBY.org]