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 And the long communal table on the other side has been replaced by smaller tables.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.
Astoria 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.
Astoria Provisions 12-23 Astoria Blvd Long Island City, NY 11102 (917) 396-4002
Open daily 8am–10pm
We 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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
WHO? Astoria Performing Arts Center, “Adventurous theater in Astoria,” The New York Times says about the award-winning Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), a not-for-profit organization founded in 2001. APAC’s mission is to bring high-quality theater to Astoria, Queens, and to support local youth and senior citizens through community programs at schools, senior centers and our performance venue.
WHAT? Astoria Performing Arts Center Summer Stars Program; the organization’s 15 year-old summer program welcomes Queens residents ages 8 –13 to learn the basics of musical theater, theater jargon, team building skills and best of all perform on stage in front of their family and friends at the end of the program – all for FREE!
APAC host a one day audition for Queens, NY based children. The audition is first come, first served. Children are encouraged to perform a song (non-musical is fine) of their choice.
Summer Stars takes place August 14 – 25; Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm; parents must provide their children with their lunch/snack for the day.
The big performance takes place Saturday, August 26 for all family and friends to see their little theater star!
WHERE? Audition, program and final performance will take place at: Good Shepherd United Methodist Church 30-44 Crescent Avenue (enter at 30th Road) Astoria, NY
WHEN? Summer Stars 2017 Audition: Saturday, July 29th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Summer Stars 2017 performance: Saturday, August 26th
To promote its Spring/Summer menu, Kurry Qulture is offering six “Dinner For Two” gift certificates as part of a contest. Here is the link. You can enter until June 30, 2017, so get on it soon, and good luck! (If you haven’t been, it’s worth the trip, even if you don’t win.)