Write-ups from the 2017 Survey That Did Not Make the Cut

Not everything that people entered on the survey was a BOAST winner. But we did want to share the write-ups of those places.

Best American Restaurant
Blackbird’s: “Best wings in Astoria! Great selection on tap and super friendly staff.”

Flattopps: “Cool people, great food, fun music.”

The Pomeroy: “The Pomeroy is a cozy, modern American joint with delicious fried chicken, mac and cheese, and all the other amazing food you could want with great drinks.”

Best Bakery
Rose and Joe’s Italian Bakery: “I love their chocolate cigars and their small cakes are moist and delicious no matter the flavor! Pizza is very tasty and if you’re lucky enough you’ll experience the aroma of bread baking from the subway platform.”

Best Brunch
Bowery Bay: “Terrific unlimited drinks option & cheesy grits.”

The Bonnie: “The Bonnie for brunch is a must. Its outdoor area for seating is spectacular. The food and drinks are extremely tasty and mouth-watering offerings. The place is filled with charm.”

Best Budget
BZ Grill: “Very good Greek ‘fast’ food.”

Best Burger
Sunswick 35/35: “This bar has amazing food and an amazing burger. Just the simple bar you always wanted.”

Best Dessert
Bonjour Crepe: “They have wine & sangria in addition to sweet & savory crepes. Laid-back atmosphere too.”

Moonier Cafe: “Have you seen all of their desserts? Whether it’s a milkshake or their cake, cookies…I could go on forever. It’s all tasty!”

Thirsty Koala: “Don’t see it on their menu anymore but enjoyed an amazing dessert involving molten chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and probably some hot fudge. It was to die for!”

Best Diner
Court Square Diner: “Conveniently located near the Court Sq station & very good diner!”

Best Italian Restaurant
Sac’s Place: “The foccacia alone will make your mouth water. The food is fresh and delicious.”

Best Japanese Restaurant
Oishii: “Best sushi! And everyone is so nice!”

Best Mexican Restaurant
Athens Grill Astoria: “Best burritos for tex mex snobs.”

Little Mexico: “AUTHENTIC Mexican Food! Run by the best people.”

Best Pizza
Rose and Joe’s Italian Bakery: “Great when you need a quick bite. Very flavorful.”

Best Cocktails
Butcher Bar: “Decent variety of cocktails at good prices.”

The Ditty: “I want to have every drink on the menu.”

Best Cafe
Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company: “Unbelievably fantastic bagels and good coffee.”

Best Happy Hour
Arepas Cafe: “Addictive sangria.”

Best Date Spot
Jujube Tree: “Meet without meat!”

Best Haircut
Niko and Tasoula: “It’s a little mom and pop place. Nikos is a Greek musician with bazoukis and other instruments on the wall. I’m always happy with the haircut I get there, and the price is very reasonable.”


BOAST Winners 2017: By the Numbers

Total Categories: 43 (19 in EAT, 11 in DRINK, 13 in DO & SEE)

Total Write-in Winners: 13 (5 in EAT, 4 in DRINK, 4 in DO & SEE)

Total Winners: 142 (64 in EAT, 38 in DRINK, 40 in DO & SEE)

Total Unique Winners: 113

Winners in Multiple Categories: 21
5 – Sek’end Sun (1st place – 2, 2nd place – 2, 3rd place – 1)
3 – Martha’s Country Bakery (1st – 2, 2nd – 1)
3 – Museum of the Moving Image (1st – 1, 2nd – 1, 3rd – 1)
3 – Queen’s Room (1st – 1, 2nd – 1, 3rd – 1)
3 – The Letlove Inn (2nd – 2, 3rd – 1)
3 – Vesta Trattoria & Wine Bar (2nd – 2, 3rd – 1)
2 – Jujube Tree: (1st – 2)
2 – Q.E.D. (1st – 2)
2 – Gossip Coffee (1st – 1, 2nd – 1)
2 – Pye Boat Noodle (1st – 1, 2nd – 1)
2 – Queens Comfort (1st – 1, 2nd – 1)
2 – Sunswick 35/35 (1st – 1, 2nd – 1)
2 – Leli’s Bakery & Pastry Shop (1st – 1, 3rd – 1)
2 – Sweet Afton (1st – 1, 3rd – 1)
2 – Oliver’s Astoria (3rd – 2)
2 – The Bonnie (3rd – 2)
2 – Blend Astoria (3rd – 2)
2 – Break Bar and Billards (1st – 1, write-in – 1)
2 – District Saigon (2nd – 1, write-in – 1)
2 – The Ditty (2nd – 1, write-in – 1)
2 – New York City Bagel and Coffee House (3rd – 1, write-in – 1)

Winners by Location
30th Ave (N/W): 32
Broadway (N/W): 24
Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W): 23
Steinway St (M/R): 15
31st Ave: 8
36th Ave (N/W): 7
Astoria Blvd (N/W): 6
Long Island City: 5

Winners with multiple Astoria locations
Astoria Bier & Cheese (2)
Bareburger (2)
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (2)
Create (2)
Key Food (3)
New York City Bagel & Coffee House (2)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2017 Winners

EAT
Best American
1. Sanfords Restaurant
2. Queens Comfort
3. Sugar Freak

Best Bakery
1. Martha’s Country Bakery
2. Parisi Bakery
3. Leli’s Bakery & Pastry Shop

Best Brazilian
1. Pao De Queijo
2. Point Brazil
3. Copacabana

Best Brunch
1. Queens Comfort
2. Vesta Trattoria & Wine Bar
3. Mom’s Kitchen & Bar

Best Budget
1. King of Falafel & Shawarma
2. Pye Boat Noodle
3. Arepas Cafe

Best Burger
1. Bareburger
2. Burger Club
3. Sweet Afton

Best Chinese
1. Jujube Tree
2. Dragon & Phoenix
3. Nuevo Jardín de China

Best Dessert
1. Martha’s Country Bakery
2. Vesta Trattoria & Wine Bar
3. Chip

Best Diner
1. Neptune Diner
2. Bel Aire Diner
3. Mini Star

Best Greek
1. Taverna Kyclades
2. Stamatis
3. Elias Corner

Best Indian
1. Seva
2. Namaste
3. (tie) Kurry Qulture
3. (tie) Saffron

Best Italian
1. Ornella Trattoria Italiana
2. Trattoria L’Incontro
3. Antika

Best Japanese
1. Pink Nori
2. Watawa Sushi
3. Matsu Sushi

Best Mexican
1. De Mole Astoria
2. Mojave
3. Chela & Garnacha

Best New Restaurant
1. PokéWave
2. La Vecina Astoria
3. (tie) Astoria Provisions
3. (tie) Blend Astoria

Best Pizza
1. Milkflower
2. Grand Avenue Pizza
3. Rizzo’s Fine Pizza (more…)


Ha’s Chinese Has Opened

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Ha’s Chinese opened last week in the same location as The Queens Kickshaw, and is run by the same people. We really liked The Queens Kickshaw, and guess what, we really liked Ha’s—a vegetarian Chinese restaurant that serves unique dishes.

The front of the restaurant has been moved in about three feet, so don’t expect any live music. The owners wanted a different vibe than the cafe/bar experience from before, and there are a number of changes. In the back area, where there were stools and high tables before, now there are more comfortable booths. And the long communal table on the other side has been replaced by smaller tables. The decor has also changed, and there is a nice row of hanging plants interspersed with the light fixtures.

We didn’t order any drinks, but there is a long list of beer, wine, cider and cocktails. Some are available by the glass, and there is also the option for bottles.

We did, however, get lots of food. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, and had excellent recommendations. The dishes arrived at our table staggered, as opposed to everything coming at once, so when we finished one, the next one was on its way over. This was a nice way to enjoy the meal.

The first item was the Mung Bean Noodles ($5). This had a nice flavor, and a consistency similar to hard jello. It was unlike anything we ever had before. The Steamed Milk Buns with red fermented tofu butter ($7) came next, and was excellent. Our waitress told us this was the equivalent of bread and butter, but it was a lot more fun, and very tasty. Then we had the Cauliflower ($10), which was phenomenal, and bursting with flavor. Three main dishes came at the end: Flat Noodle ($13), Rice Cake ($13), and ‘Duck’ Fried Rice ($13). We really liked all three, especially the ‘Duck’ Fried Rice, which had a sweet taste, and we enjoyed the imitation duck. We liked the texture of the Flat Noodle, and the sauce, and if you like spicy, you’ll probably enjoy the Rice Cake dish, which includes chilies. The menu gives one plus sign for Spicy, and three plus signs for Extra Spicy, and we thought this dish with the one plus sign could have been two or even three (although we did not try any dishes with three plus signs, so we don’t know how it compares to those). For dessert, we tried the Peanut Mousse ($7), but we were thrown off that it was frozen mousse, and weren’t ready for the spicy peppers in the chocolate pieces.

There are some things we would get again in a heartbeat (like the Cauliflower, the Steamed Milk Buns and the ‘Duck’ Fried Rice) and there are a number of other items that we’re looking forward to trying. Right now Ha’s Chinese is open for dinner, with dim sum, lunch and delivery service coming soon.

40-17 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11103
haha@haschinese.com
(718) 777-0913
haschinese.com


A Trip to the Newly-Opened Astoria Provisions

IMG_9076-wAstoria Provisions is closer to the newly-opened neighborhood ferry stop than it is to any subway station, so that makes it a great excuse to take the ferry either to or from a meal. (It is where Astor Bake Shop used to be.) Once in the neighborhood, people are sure to be drawn into the restaurant’s cozy atmosphere on more than an occasional basis — and bring their friends. Astoria Provisions, which serves the crowd-pleasing American fare diners have come to expect from restaurants like these, opened its doors at the end of July and comes from the same team that brought us Gastroteca Astoria, including chef John Parlatore.

A recent Friday night at the restaurant that seats three dozen or so started off quietly, with customers in their 20s and 30s trickling in as the evening passed. Your most difficult choice will come at the top of the evening when selecting a cocktail; the bar’s impressive handcrafted drink selection is worth studying, with drinks like Cranberry in the Park (Titos Vodka, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, White Cranberry, Champagne) and The High Fashion (Brooklyn Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Marischino, Orange Bitters) making excellent picks. There is also a nice (and inexpensive) beer list.

Starters are hearty, such as salads that could substitute as full meals (Big Steak Salad, $16), soups like the enticing-sounding Roasted Duck Matzo Ball ($9), and Deviled Eggs with a choice of Salmon or Fried Oysters ($10). Friday night’s dinner included a chopped salad that had an enthusiastic amount of cheese underneath a dairy-based dressing, though the Artichoke Kale Dip & Hot Chips hit a more welcome cheesy note.

And speaking of cheese, expect your cup or bowl of mac and cheese to resemble more of a rich, smooth cheese soup with floating doughy noodles. Entrées include dishes such as Honey Fried Chicken ($18), Grilled Shrimp Ranchero ($17), and a burger with onion rings in the middle that has a thick, juicy and flavorful patty. Dessert comes down to how you like your ice cream: in a dish or in a milkshake.

Looking to stop by soon? You’ve got plenty of chances, as Astoria Provisions also serves brunch — and it’s the meal to which the restaurant devotes the most of its Instagram feed.

–Laura

Astoria Provisions
12-23 Astoria Blvd
Long Island City, NY 11102
(917) 396-4002
Open daily 8am–10pm


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2017 Survey is LIVE!

BOAST-2017-survey-urlWe hope you voted today in the New York Election! Also, be sure to fill out the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2017 survey, which will be LIVE until Wednesday, Nov. 29. You decide what’s Best in Astoria, so we would like to hear from you, and from anyone who knows about this great neighborhood. Write your email at the end of the survey for a chance to win a prize! Just go to boast.nyc/survey.


Review: Veil’d

Front from left: Nikhaar Kishnani (Dima) and Christopher Reed Brown (Elliot); Background: Kayla Jackmon (Storyteller/UPS Guy/Speedo, the "Shark")

From left: Nikhaar Kishnani (Dima), Christopher Reed Brown (Elliot), and Kayla Jackmon (Storyteller/UPS Guy/Speedo, the “Shark”). Photo by Michael Dekker

Veil’d, now playing at the Astoria Performing Arts Center, is a show that positively sparkles with life while dealing with some heavy topics: Is the opportunity to be isolated from the problems of the world a blessing or a curse? How does what young women, particularly young Muslim women, choose to wear affect others’ opinions of them and their opinions of themselves?

The play follows Dima (Nikhaar Kishnani) a 16-year-old Afghani-American girl living in Brooklyn with her parents. Six years ago, Dima was diagnosed with a skin condition that forces her to stay inside her apartment twenty-four hours a day, safe from the prying eyes of the world and the painful rays of the sun. As additional protection, Dima also wears a burqa, a full-body covering worn by some Muslim women. Dima’s isolation has become an issue of some contention between her parents, Rhami (Sahar Bibiyan) and Amir (Rajesh Bose). Things become more complicated when Elliot (Christopher Reed Brown), a teenage boy who sells his poems on the street, begins tossing poems into her window. Throw Speedo (Kayla Jackmon), a talking nurse shark, into the mix, and Dima’s life is on a course she never dreamed possible.

Reed Brown brings an electrifying enthusiasm to the stage as teenage poet Elliot. Elliot’s humor and raw, unabashed enthusiasm for life emotionally invests the audience in the story. Jackmon, in a variety of roles including Speedo the shark, adds physical humor and compassion while simultaneously lending the story a semi-mystical quality. Bibiyan and Bose play off each other well, conveying the obvious love between them while also maintaining honesty about the pressures life has placed on them as refugees and parents of a child with a physical disability. Kishnani’s Dima is complex—withdrawn and outgoing, as well as curious and afraid of the world outside.

Special appreciation should be given to Claire DeLiso’s set design, which is literally multi-layered and dynamic, like the story. Christine Schisano’s puppet design perfectly bridges the gap between fantasy and reality. Monet Hurst-Mendoza’s script should be applauded for its loving portrayal of a Muslim family, not as foreign or fetishized, but as an ordinary American family living in extraordinary circumstances.

–Dan Rauchwerk

Veil’d – A World Premiere
Written by Monet Hurst-Mendoza
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Saturdays at 2pm
Through Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

Astoria Performing Arts Center
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church
30-44 Crescent St (at 30th Road), Astoria, NY 11102

Adult Tickets: $18
Student/Senior Tickets: $12
Reserve Tickets Here


What would you like to see on the next BOAST survey?

Hello there!

The next BOAST: Best of Astoria survey will be released soon, and we would like to know if you have any suggestions about which categories you would like to see that are not already on the site. You can take a look at the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages to see what’s there right now. You can comment, write to us using the CONTACT form, or email us at hello@boast.nyc.


The Queens Kickshaw is Closing

TQK-closing

We just saw a message on The Queens Kickshaw website that it will be shutting its doors later this month. There will be a closing party Sunday, 8/27, 6-11pm, and in that space will be a completely different restaurant opening in early October. This is incredibly sad, as The Queens Kickshaw was such a unique and awesome place, and so ASTORIA. Its excellent combination of craft beer, specialty coffee and grilled cheese was terrific, and we were also huge fans of live music on Friday nights. We were also always impressed that the baristas/bartenders and servers were so friendly. To say we will miss The Queens Kickshaw would be a huge understatement, but that’s what we’re saying right now. Astoria is losing another good one.


WJOA Presents: A Songwriter’s Showcase

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This Thursday, 8-11pm, at The Shillelagh Tavern (47-22 30th Ave, Astoria, New York 11103), FREE

Hosted by the Wandering Jews of Astoria, this free event will feature three local singer-songwriters, Sam Kestenbaum, Andrew Weiss, and Dan Rauchwerk, as they play songs that they’ve written and tell the stories behind them.

Lineup:
Andrew Weiss – 8:00
Sam Kestenbaum – 8:50
Dan Rauchwerk (w/ Special Guest Kat Quinn) – 9:40