Friendship BBQ

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“Queens borough be the back drop,” flushing in particular. A neighborhood teeming with restaurants who draw from the far east. This is where you can find Friendship BBQ. Spice is front and center here and plenty of it. We came here on a Sunday, so I wasn’t in a rush to grab a beer. However, I did have one, as the cuisine (from Beijing I believe) is hot, and suds pair well.

The menu is expansive, variations on the theme of chili flakes. We ordered a ton of stuff, guided by my friends who grew up overseas in China’s mainland. Skewers are a must have, lamb in particular, and they come in different sizes. We got both large and small. My two favorites were the lamb with tendon, and a raw beef skewer we tried that you dip in, if I my memory serves me correctly, a soy based sauce.

We got a hot pot type skewer dish as well, that had different vegetables and meats. Every skewer was submerged in the a spicy hotpotesque broth. I’d skip this, as some of the skewers fell flat, though others were ineresting (like the mushroom one) the price is a good reason to think twice.

One of the stand out dishes, and my pick for the number one or number two spot was a simple dish of cucumbers dressed with garlic and chili flakes. This dish really shines, with bright crisp notes from the cucumbers, that make a great contrast to the chili flakes that heavily garnish the dish. This is a definite must have.

Beyond that we tried the conch, which was ok but also quite pricey. I would stick to the basics here, skewers, vegetables with chili flakes, and a beer for good measure. They also have some interesting dishes I’d yet to see, so feel free to order the chicken skeleton, let us know how it is.

Thái Son

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I live about 100 yards from this Thai Son location, needless to say its a pretty good neighborhood spot. I most recently ordered takeout from here during the cold snap we just experienced, the pho with beef brisket really hit the spot.

One way to gauge the merit of any restaurant, I feel, is if the the local police are patrons. This, of course, is because they walk they’re beat here each day. And wouldn’t you know, when I was leaving with my take out order the other day, two cops just happened to be walking in.

There are a ton of dishes and variations here, so no problem with choice. Beyond the Pho, which it seems many people like, they have a bunch of summer roll type dishes. Rice paper, fresh vegetables, shrimp, pork, hot sauce, peanut sauce… I’m in. Until I came here for dinner one time, rice paper was always a mystery to me…no longer, our waiter taught us how it works, as some of the dishes require your full engagement.

I suggest going here with an appetite, its filling and tasty. Its also very reasonable.

Tikka Indian Grill Astoria

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Its Sunday, I drank too much last night. It’s Sunday, and its 2pm. I’m in a world of pain and thirst, I should probably smoke. I need water, I need… food. On days like this I’m quick to pick up Seamless and order american chinese cuisine. Its quick, it’s inexpensive and its plentiful. But,
you know, I live in Queens and there a plethora of places I can turn to at such a time.

Tikka Indian Grill is one of those places, the food is comforting and delicious, warm and abundant. I like this place, and it has some dishes that you just won’t get at other Indian joints.
You probably paused, thought, “Indian food, hungover?” but though you can order more mainstream dishes at this local, that isn’t what we’re going for. Its also probably a good time to mention you don’t just have to stop here when you’ve had to much to drink.

Tikka indian Grill offer some interesting tasty dishes that are worth stopping in, or ordering out for. My staple dish here is called the Chicken Chop. Marinated in yogurt and spices, these are whole pieces of chicken and they don’t disappoint. The marinade makes the chicken nice and tender, succulent.

I also typically order the Aloo Gobi Samosa. This a broken up samosa pieces smothered in raita sauce, mixed with some crunchy bits. I would say if this sounds foreign to you, and don’t think you’ve tried something similar, definitely get this.

Another dish I like quite a bit is Hariyali Chicken Kabab. Marinated and grilled, a sure crowd pleaser. Pickled onions and their signature chutneys really are great touch, and really round the meals out nicely.

JoJu

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Stellar banh mi, well deserving of the high marks its received. I’ve tried a few sandwiches, and one or two of the apps (appetizers not essential here). They have traditional bahn mi, but it’s my opinion that where they excel is their originals. Specifically the Kakuni Pork Belly bahn mi is a must, I’m not sure what crack is like, but the experience must be similar (“Got that cr’nack, yeah, I got cr’nack” 2 Chainz). On every visit I’m always amazed at how delicious this sandwich is, the union of fresh vegetable and marinated pork belly is a real win. Extra points for good value, the sandwich comes in at just $5.25.

Worth the hype, and the trip if you don’t live in queens!

Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries

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Al Sham comes fresh with the fillo dough, offering up some of the best sweets you’ll find anywhere. Located in what is often referred to as the Little Egypt section of Astoria, and serving traditional Lebanese confections. What you’ll find here are an array of cookies and baklava coated in syrup or honey, overflowing with cashews, pecans and almonds. The majority of the offerings are very rich, but take it from someone who isn’t a huge fan of rich desserts, they’re outstanding. beyond the large selection of baklava and cookies there, you’ll find some interesting pastries, which are typically on the milder side. Kanafeh, for example, a really tasty cheese pastry, soaked in syrup and sprinkled with pecans.

As many on the internet have stated “EVERYTHING” here “is good.” I’ve been here dozens upon dozens of times and have yet to sample something I didn’t like. Prices are reasonable and the staff is nice as well.

I brought a platter of different items to a New Years Party and it was a big hit. If you do grab a large platter, I would recommend having it weighed out on there regular plates, as opposed to the prepackages they put together on the fancier plastic dish. It will save you about eight bucks.

Sac’s Place

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Sac’s is your classic pizza parlor/restaurant and they really got this combo down. I’ve been going here for some time just for the pie, which you can just grab a slice and sit. You can often gauge the quality of a restaurants offerings if you catch the neighborhood cops dropping in for a bite, and I’ve seen them frequent Sac’s often. The pizza is real good.

People have always told me I should check out the restaurant side, and for a while I put it off. Well, having been twice in the past six months I have to recommend checking it out for yourself. The food is really spectacular, and I rarely use this adjective unless I’m referencing Spiderman (The Spectacular Spider-man title from Marvel). Really everything I’ve had here has been great, and I would check out the specials menu for sure. Anything with a cream sauce is the way to go.

I would definitely say that you should take a note from the B-52’s and Rock Lobster. The lobster and crab ravioli with shrimp and brandy cream sauce is truly a delight. I think the shrimp they serve is soaked in butter, I’ll leave it at that.

Photo by Jessa Bahr via Instagram

Point Brazil

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Typically you can find me running the other direction from a buffet place, but Point Brazil is one of the rare buffet places thats actually good. The food is Authentic Brazilian fare (This was confirmed by a Brazilian friend who I took once) and is made fresh daily. Lots of vegetables, yams, plantains, salad, black beans, rice. They have chicken and fish as well in the buffet area, and dishes change each day with your main staples always available.

Once you’ve finished with the assortment of items here, head over to the carving station. You’ll be able to pick from 7 or 8 different roasting meats, all spinning on a spit. They have beef, pork, chicken wrapped in bacon, and some not so run of the mill items like chicken hearts.

When you finish, your food is weighed, and I have always found it to be really fair value. It should ring up to between eight and ten dollars. Beyond this there is plenty of seating, and even outdoor seating in the warm months. This is a really dope spot.

Tip, grab the green hot sauce from the buffet station and apply as needed .

Chivito De Oro

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I’ve lived near this Uruguayan restaurant for about two years, and have been on several occasions. I have to say this place is what its all about. Traditional fair, at a reasonable price, and did I mention its scrumptious. If you’re wondering what Uruguayan food might be like, it might be apt to compare it to directly to Argentine food. If you aren’t familiar with either, simply put, its grilled meat, and who doesn’t like that. Skirt stake, chorizo sausage, short rib, blood sausage, and the list goes on.

They have many combo platter that you can share so don’t be concerned that you’ll miss out. Also each combo comes with your choice of sides. I’ve had a bunch of them and they’ve all been good. Last time and I had sauteed spinach, just to mix it up a bit, but you might want to go with the plantains or fried yuca.

I like to start with the potato croquet, the rice one is good, but the potato is the dopeness. I would suggest not going on Sunday evening, which I’ve done twice, its most likely the busiest day. If you near by, eat here.

Duzan

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I’ve been going to Duzan for a while now, back before they closed down and remodeled. I’ve been going since then and I keep heading back. Now this is partly due to its proximity to my apartment, in the interest of full disclosure. I mean, there is only one restaurant closer, a halal pizza place, and I’m all for fusion concept food, but I digress.

Duzan is always crazy busy and with good reason. They have great food, reasonably priced, and excellent platter choices. They make shawarma, beef and chicken, and marinated kebabs. What I think really sets them apart though is the fact that they make fresh pita bread on premises, and for this reason I usually opt for the a sandwich in lieu of a platter. I get mine with everything, hummus, pickles, radicchio… the pickled radish ads a nice accent. For some reason the the beef is only available durring dinner service, so if you go for lunch, be warned you’ll have to get a kebab to order, or get the chicken. For sides they have two types of fries to choose from, hand cut or frozen, which is pretty cool, being able to choose for quality. I usually go with the felafel though. Three for a dollar, so for two buck you can get six. Make sure to ask for tahini and the house hot sauce and your “redta” go.

Queens Comfort

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Tried to go here several times over the past couple of years but it was always at max capacity, so we ended up going elsewhere. After revisiting QC here on Yelp I decided it was time to go. The pictures looked so good, and a picture is often worth a thousand words after all.

We went around eight and had the good fortune to be seated right away. Most of the time you’ll have to wait due to this venues popularity, as was the case for the people who came in after us. The vibe is chill, casual, and unpretentious.

After looking at all the great photos, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to order. The menu is pretty comprehensive, and most of the time that worries me, but here I think it works. There are definitely some unique items, and this place would surely be a place they would visit on dinner driveins and dives (Update, since I wrote this they have been here). I was expecting Guy Fiori to pop up any minute, thank the good lord he never materialized.

We ordered the fried mac and cheese balls with siracha and ranch to start. Pretty good, but I would go another route next time. For the main course we split the Pig Mac and the chicken and waffles. expect large portions, and expect to leave full. The Pic mac is a pork cutlet with pickles chipotle mayo. Really I wanted a similar sandwich, but with pork belly, I had seen some people post photos of, but it was missing from the menu. Add a little Texas Pete and your good to go. Finally, my fav was the Chicken and waffles, tabasco glazed fried boneless chicken, over a Belgian waffle. Tasty, and I liked the fact the chicken was boneless.

Overall a good experience, and will go back because the brunch menu looks awesome. It would be really great if this place was open 24 hours.

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