RIP Ion’s Corner Cafe Romanian Food in Long Island City

Posted on October 12, 2008. Filed under: Fine Dining, LIC, Romanian |

 The corner restaurant that is no longer- Sadly, another Queens casualty.

Ion’s Corner Cafe (36-01 Vernon Blvd 718-786-3236) is a one-of-a-kind restaurant in the area, specializing in traditional Romanian fare at reasonable prices. Although there has been little buzz about this place- the menu looked so exotically tantalizing I had to try it. I was not disappointed.  Starting off with the Buck’s Fizz cocktail-the original mimosa from 1921. It is made from orange juice, champagne and grenadine and named after a bar in London. This drink is a favorite at Ion’s and rightfully so- it’s sweet and delicious. The cirnaciori ol tenesti is one of the several choices of appetizers. It’s a dish of small sausages from the southern Romanian region of Oltania. They taste like a cross between Grey’s Papaya hot-dogs and kielbasa- in other words they are mouthwateringly delightful. The ends of the sausages are sliced in fours creating a three dimensional star-like shape that is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The mushroom stew with polenta is a vegan dish of country fare prepared in generous proportions.  This main course contains savory mushrooms in a tomato and olive oil based sauce with mountains of polenta and sour-cream on the side. Aside from a decent vegan menu, they also offer fish, chicken, pork and steak entrees like grilled pork tenderloin sauteed in port-wine sauce and grilled chicken with peasant potatoes. You will want to save room for dessert of papanasi- cheese filled donuts with jam or the salami de biscuiti- a chocolate cake like sweet. Curiously- this treat is cut into three round slices, with bits of nuts and white cake, looking oddly similar to slices of chocolate salami- if there was such a thing. They offer conventional turkish coffee with the fine dark grounds swimming delicately among the bottom of the mug. Service is exceptionally friendly and attentive. Ion’s Cafe has a full bar, extensive pris-fix ($14) brunch menu and free wi-fi. Delivery is available only in immediately surrounding areas. Ambiance is pleasant and immaculate- not overly trendy but slightly refined. This cafe sits at the mouth of the Roosevelt Island Bridge – making it a destination for islanders as well as Astoria and Dutchkills LIC residents. Although not entirely convenient by subway- from N/W 36th ave and F 21st it’s about 10-15 minute walk, you can get there by bus- Q102 & 103 and easily by biking it or hailing a cab.

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