Oktoberfest in Queens

Posted on September 23, 2009. Filed under: Astoria, BBQ, Cheap Dining, Free, Outdoor Seating/Patio | Tags: , , |

Celebrate Oktoberfest this weekend at the old standby- the Bohemian Beer Garden, drink beer in rain or shine!

“Doors open at 12 noon, rain or shine, under our huge outdoor tents. Enjoy your favorite beer and plenty of food. Live entertainment. Free – no admission charge.”


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BBQ Chicken in Astoria- best and worst- Choo Choo, Samba and Chicken Festival (Pollos a la Brasa)

Posted on October 10, 2008. Filed under: Astoria, BBQ, Cheap Dining, Mexican/South American |

WORST–The word buffet can either be positive or negative. Unfortunately I discovered the negative. After passing Choo Choo Chicken (718-932-6060 22-49 31st St Astoria- formerly Chirping Chicken) a few times while descending the Ditmars platform, I became curious for three reasons- they serve bbq chicken and crepes and sell $10 t-shirts stating “I love Juicy Birds”. Investigating the place a little further- seems they have several good reviews, so I dove head first with enthusiasm into- what should have been a juicy bird. The taste of the chicken was satisfactory, but the preparation was mediocre and dry. The bbq and sweet sauce were the bird’s saving graces- adding flavor and moisture to what was stale and parched. Get this bird some grease before it dies of dehydration! The sides- fries and lemon potatoes were also sub-par. They claim to bake the sides (served in a buffet-like fashion) fresh- daily- it seems they are in-fact baked daily- but just once- early in the morning and left to sit all day… evening … and night until they fill your styrofoam tray. The chicken was ok- edible. The food collision they call crepes, however were barely identifiable- as if they were in a bad accident and had to be scooped up and put back together in an emergency to save the restaurant from itself. The crepes are the catch, but don’t get sucked in. They were doughy, and had the consistency similar to that of chewing a tire. A tire stuffed with pineapple and ham (jerk crepe) and strawberries and chocolate . How could such a tasty and fun idea go so drastically wrong? At least prices are cheap, they offer delivery and are open late.

BETTER– Samba Grill (29-17 23rd Ave) 718-777-9477) The sparse decor doesn’t do this Brazilian Grill restaurant any favors. The buffet is served Rodizio style- all you can eat meat. The menu serves an extensive variety of unique tastes. However, a few of them leave room for improvement. There is a medley of different choices for chicken, pork, beef and sides served hot and cold. Unfortunately, many of the choices are mediocre and somewhat pricey for the lack of freshness -$4.99-$7.99 per pound. The price is seemingly reasonable, but meats and potatoes actually weigh quite a bit and before you realize, a full meal will go up to about $10 or more. Depending on when and you go and what you get- the food can range from good to gross. One mistake is offering french and yucca fries in the buffet. Fries get stale and soggy if left uneaten for more than an hour. The spare ribs and grilled chicken are definitely edible, but second-rate, as are the beans and rice. The salpicao-Brazilian cold chicken salad is sweet and savory, with raisins, carrots, and fresh white chicken meat, but this is not a dish they consistently carry. The meat and cheese patties are hot and tasty. With a substantial filling that melts in your mouth enveloped in a rich buttery and crispy crust for just $1.50.  These pastries are a pre-made delight and heavy enough for a light meal. Good to stop here for the buffet if you are super hungry and in a rush, the sit down meals offer slightly fresher cuisine.

BEST— Chicken Festival (Pollos a la Brasa) (718-728-9696 29-19 Ditmars blvd) This is some of the best rotisserie chicken in Astoria. The food is fresh, hot, juicy and cheap. A 1/4 rotisserie chicken and a side of crispy yucca fries will rob your pockets of a mere $6. A hearty meal for these economically challenged times. The barren walls and sterile interior offer an extreme lack of character and ambiance. If you’re concerned about the dining experience, you’re better off getting take-out- great for a picnic in Astoria Park or a meal at home on your couch. Chicken Festival also offers pasta and lo mein entrees, but sticking to what they do best- simple and succulent chicken is the smartest choice. Delivery now available through “the pick-up kings” at 718-898-7747, open noon-9pm catering for special occasions available comidas espciales para toda ocasion.

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Lucky Mojo LIC BBQ Ribs & Sushi in one place

Posted on April 23, 2008. Filed under: Bar-Hopping in Queens, BBQ, Entertainment, Japanese, LIC, Off the beaten path, Outdoor Seating/Patio, RIP |

RIP– Closing soon…

Lucky Mojo(5-14 51st Ave btwn Vernon blvd & 5th Long Island City 718-786-7427 delivery available

Finally a restaurant that offers the best of both worlds. Lucky Mojo Brings high brow and low brow together in LIC…how appropriate. It’s easy to find good sushi in the city- but finding good  bbq proves to be a challenge. This rustic two story eatery serves bbq ribs, fries, catfish, chili, pulled pork, chicken, burgers and that’s just the downstairs area. Upstairs- there is a full sushi bar offering a variety of fresh sashimi, rolls, and tempura. The food here is good but slightly inconsistent. Although there is a variety of tasty fare hailing from the southern region, they are missing the quintessential pan cornbread that goes with every plate of ribs. The blackened catfish has just the right amount of spice that doesn’t over power the taste. The ribs didn’t fall of the bone, but they are tender and juicy enough to come back for more. There is a variety of traditional side dishes, but the best are collared greens and mashed potatoes. The creamed corn is a bit chewy and the baked beans with rice are bland and fall short of that southern taste. There is outdoor seating on the rooftop deck. If you enjoy sports- every other booth has its own tv mounted on the wall so you can keep track of the score while you scarf down your brisket. The service is friendly but a bit too robust- reminiscent of that super chain called…Fridays. The pastoral wooden interior resembles that of a shanty town diner somewhere in the deep south. Walls are adorned with old concert posters and eclectic artwork. The porch beams are stamped with hundreds of colorful bottle caps. Prices are reasonable and the selection is like no other in the area. Look for their hard-hat specials, 2 for 1 drink happy hour 3-5. The live blues and soul music on Saturday nights is a great addition to the southern-esque atmosphere.

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Posted on February 13, 2008. Filed under: Bar-Hopping in Queens, BBQ, Entertainment, LIC, Outdoor Seating/Patio |

LIC Bar (45-58 vernon Blvd) is sure to please just about everyone. From the comfortable surroundings to the up-beat crowd to the down-to-earth bartenders, it’s all around a great place to go, rain or shine. It resembles an old fashioned watering hole with slightly southern features. The exposed brick and rustic wooden tables fit right in with the classic motown music and the throw-back picture booth. Although there is no juke box, this place feels more like a juke joint than a regular pub or bar. There is a patio out back with BBQ and live music in the warmer months. If you’re looking to throw your own private soiree, there is a back room adjacent to the patio. Whatever the occasion may be this place draws a great crowd with reasonably priced draft beer and hard liquor.

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