Archive for August 2012

Astoria’s 5-star reviews: 8/18-8/25

This week in Astoria’s best Yelp reviews… Bagel Nosh‘s muffins get praised to high heaven, The Queens Kickshaw gets credit for serving a Chicago reviewer the best grilled cheese he’s ever had, and Via Trenta Osteria is recommended as an excellent date spot (if not the best place to bring a stroller). Oh, and if you’re in the market for a Brazilian, apparently we have one of the best, right here in Astoria….

And now to the reviews: The first one is for Sac’s Place, and it’s getting top slot because I MISSED several of their 5-star reviews this month. (My 5-star radar needs work.) So here’s a little round-up of what I missed, starting with a random beauty shot of their Facebook page:

A dramatic summer storm brewing AND a mouthwatering coal-fired pie: A random screenshot of Sac’s Place Restaurant’s Facebook page from earlier in July. Sac’s gets high marks in my book for updating frequently with both finished-dish photography and daily specials.

FOUR 5-star reviews in August (so far) Sac’s Place 8/5, 8/11, 8/18, 8/23/12 (filtered)

“This is probably the best Italian and pizza you’ll find in Astoria…”—Jane R., Brooklyn, NY

Oh, wait, that’s not from a 5-star review… that’s from their most recent 4-star review (which reads a lot like a 5-star review). Here are some quotes from their recent 5-stars: “Our family has been enjoying Sac’s since it started as a fabulous pizza place…” “A very good dinner, indeed–and we’re Italian and are used to tasty Italian food…” “Mama’s Old Fashioned pie is simply delightful…” And this, the review that got filtered for reasons we’ll never know: “Love this place!!!”

8/17 and 8/18/12 El Rey Del Taco Truck 33-01 30th Ave

“We got one chorizo burrito which was delicious but its a meal, not just a snack. Lots of rice and beans with a little chorizo. Their chorizo is freaking delicious. The best I’ve ever had. Definitely order chorizo. Definitely. But make sure you’re hungry.”—Alex H., Flushing, NY

8/18/12 Matrix Fitness Club 43-60 Ditmars Blvd

“I have been coming here on and off for years because of my job so I usually do month to month membership and I love this place… I still have yet to see another gym with trap bars, astro-turf for sled pushing and sprinting, kettlebells, trx straps, free-motion machines, classes, I mean I could keep going for hours. Very reasonably priced also, unlike other gyms in the area.”—Jeff S., Long Island City, NY

8/18/12 Organics for All 30-50 Steinway

8/21/12 Via Trenta Osteria & Wine Bar 36-19 30th Ave

“I would recommend it as a great date spot because the lighting is just right, the wine selection and cocktail selection is great, the seating and layout of the restaurant is extremely comfy and stylish…  I wouldn’t tell parents with baby strollers to go here but couples or friends looking for a great place to eat and drink and be served by great waiters, this is the place.”—Reza B., Bronx, NY

FOUR 5-star reviews: 8/17, 8/18 and (2) 8/23 /12 Brazilian Waxing Center 37-11 35th Ave

“Best. brazilian wax. ever… They are at a new location next to Starbucks now so its less intimidating than the old secret waxing lair that Corina used to be located in.”

8/19/12 Taina Salon 24-01 29th St

8/20/12 Mama Frozen Yogurt 35-04 30th Ave

Octopus mug from SITE’s Facebook page.

8/19/12 SITE 35-11 34th Ave

“This is my go to spot for gifts in Astoria. The owner is a good egg, there’s always something in my price range, and the items are unique. A not-to-be missed part of Astoria.”—Ingrid a., ASTORIA, NY

8/21/12 Bagel Nosh 32-07 Broadway

“THEIR MUFFINS ARE AMAZING!!!!! So freakin moist and tasty and just the right amount of berries… My coworkers and I couldn’t stop eating them all day, Muffins so good, we don’t mind the muffin tops were gonna get soon! Oh and for $2, their muffins are HUGE!”—Judy C., Long Island City, NY

8/22/12 GiGi Salon Styling Studio 34-17 30th Ave

8/22/12 Parrot Coffee 34-17 30th Ave 3112 Ditmars Blvd

8/22 and 8/24 Century 21 Alexiou Realty 31-23 23rd Ave

“I highly recommend working with Peter Mouzakitis at Century 21 Alexiou Realty… He made the apartment search process a lot more pleasant that it usually is… If you need a broker in Astoria, go with him.”—Meg H., Manhattan, NY

8/24 Val’s Barbershop 31-16 23rd Ave

“These guys are great. Always a quality haircut from Val. These guys know exactly what they’re doing and do it well. And they really are friendly guys… a total “neighborhood” place.”—Stephen M., Queens, NY

8/24/12 The Queens Kickshaw 40-17 Broadway: “The best grilled cheese I’ve ever had.”—Kyle W., Chicago, IL [Photo from Bradley H., via Yelp]

Astoria’s 5-star reviews: 8/11-8/18

This week in Astoria’s best Yelp reviews… A “very, very handsome man” at Flo Cafe charms an out-of-towner… A regular salutes “the greatest dude ever” at Mad Donkey… and a Memphis native sings the praises of Queens Comfort. PLUS: Where to find gluten-free menu choices, the “best coffee in New York,” and the hostess that can tame a “screaming 3-year-old” within minutes (“absolutely amazing and thank you God”).

8/15/12 THYMARI 32-07 34th Ave
“I came in for dinner on a Friday evening and had one of the best Greek meals in my life.”—M.H., San Francisco, CA

8/10/12 Copacabana 31-13 36th Ave

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/10 and 8/12/12 Kumo Restaurant & Lounge 47-11 Northern Blvd

“I used to only eat sushi from Brooklyn due to the fact that I could not find good sushi in Queens, but this place is better than any other sushi I have ever had.”—E.E., New York, NY (8/12)

8/11/12 Egyptian Coffee Shop 25-09 Steinway

8/11/12 Sissy McGinty’s 25-67 Steinway

“An Irish bar that stands out in the rest of the block is exactly how it felt – but more that the place itself was welcoming and friendly. The bartenders are awesome and there is room in the back for parties. I also like the gay-friendly atmosphere and the fact that the drinks were the right price and the right taste. Many of my friends practically live here, so I will most definitely be going back soon.”—La H., Bellrose, NY

“Best Grandma pizza ever…”—Sarah M., Astoria, NY. Photo via AntikaPizzeria.com

THREE 5-star reviews: 8/11, 812, and 8/13/12 Antika Pizzeria 36-08 30th Ave

“Walked into the place with my wife and my screaming 3 year old daughter. The hostess somehow managed to distract and calm down my daughter within 5 minutes… absolutely amazing and thank you God… The food was very good, The Pizza was cooked just right and our pasta dishes were excellent. We plan to come again and thank you for a great lunch.”—T.C., Manhasset, NY

One of our favorite “mobile cuisine” guys is HUGE on Twitter.. and Facebook. As @tastoriaqueens might say, “Give ’em a follow, Astoria!”

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/11/12 King of Falafel & Shawarma 30th St & Broadway

“Try the extraordinarily crispy falafel, of course, but don’t miss the perfectly seasoned chicken of rice (and say “yes” to the salad of pickled veggies on the side). On days when I am super hungry, I go for the “Freddy’s Junior,” chicken and kefta doused in tahini (hot sauce optional, but recommended by the King). 

Don’t miss this place, Astoria.”—Sue Y., New York, NY

8/11/12 Mad Donkey 32-07 36th Ave

“This bar is located down the block from my job so it was nothing new for me… Same great food, same great staff, same great atmosphere…..The [Yelp] deal definitely came in handy. Paddy is the greatest dude ever!!!”—Michael T., Astoria, Queens, NY

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/11 and 8/13/12 Via Trenta Osteria & Wine Bar 36-19 30th Ave

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/11 and 8/12/12 Sanford’s 30-13 Broadway

“I am so delighted to find not only wonderfully tasting and perfectly prepared food right here in Astoria, but also to be able to find more Gluten-Free menu choices. The owners at Sanfords are going out of their way to accommodate their customers’ requests and they are doing a fabulous job of it!!!”—Ellin J., NY

8/12/12 Astoria Realty 35-23 30th Ave

“Astoria Realty was the first place we went during our apartment search that didn’t bullsh*t. We were clear about what we wanted and Stratos gave us the straight and narrow. He was a normal guy, no disgusting sales tactics, and no hassle. Among the 10+ agencies we dealt with, there was only one other as pleasant.”—Victoria K., Astoria, Queens, NY

I know we’ve all seen this picture before. But it’s a damn good photo: Queens Comfort’s pulled pork sandwich by Bradley Hawks via Yelp.

8/12/12 Queens Comfort 40-09 30th Ave

“I’m from Memphis, Tennessee and I’m southern to the core so I’d like to think I know good southern cuisine… Their tender pulled pork, homemade slaw, and amazing homemade BBQ sauce would match up w any Memphis joint. Keep in mind, I’ve had them all!”—Christopher C., Memphis, TN

8/13/12 Flo Café 37-20 30th Ave

“After the meal we were chatting and was approached by a very, very handsome man. He was either the owner or manager. He had a bottle of red wine in hand and asked if we would have a taste because he was thinking of adding it to his Brunch menu and wanted our opinion. It was delish! Overall I was impressed and will be back.”—Jewels P., Manhattan, NY

8/12/12 Havana Express Café & Bakery 21-37 31st St

“I come everyday from Whitestone for the best coffee in New York. The owner Carlos brings the taste of his homeland Cuba. The great food is surpassed by his lovely Brazilian wife Rosie whose charm warms your heart. Great cafe. A New York treasure.”— Vinny Terranova, BEECHHURST, NY

From Ornella Trattoria Italia’s Facebook page: “Tonight Pork Ossobuco, a different way to eat white meat.”

TWO 5-star reviews 8/12 and 8/13/12 Ornella Trattoria Italiana 29-17 23rd Ave

“White tablecloth without the pretense… I also love that they’ve caught on to the benefits of using social media to promote their business. They’ll post photos of special menu items on Twitter and Facebook, which was partly why I tried them in the first place…”—Abby W., ASTORIA, NY (8/13)

THREE 5-star reviews: 8/12, 8/14, and 8/17 The Queens Kickshaw 40-17 Broadway

8/14/12 The Quays Pub 45-02 30th Ave

“Love how this bar can pretty much be anything you want to make it… Also, their (ALL THE TIME!!!) 3rd drink buyback policy is STELLAR and the bar staff are really cool—they’ll even let you order food or bring it in from anywhere (since they’re kitchen-less). If I lived closer to this place I would totally be a regular!”—Stephanie P., Manhattan, NY

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/15 and 8/16 Bugatti Café 31-05 34th St

8/15/12 Beauty Palace 29-11 Broadway

8/15/12 Blossom in Astoria 22-04A 31st St

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/16 and 8/17/12 Sweet Afton 30-09 34th St

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/15 and 8/18/12 BabyNOIR 26-16 23rd Ave
Pictured: A wall of backpacks from the shop. Via Yelp

8/17/12 That’s a Wrap 38-01 30th Ave

8/17/12 Creative Vibrations Yoga Studio & Ayurvedic Spa 22-55 31st St, Ste 200

Astoria’s 5-star reviews: 8/4-8/11

Congratulations to all of the local businesses who received 5-star reviews on Yelp this week.

The weather might have been a bitch, but there seem to be more positive reviews than usual. Some are from places that seem to get 5-stars pretty regularly—Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company scored a trifecta, one from each of their three locations—and Il Bambino and DiWine are mentioned again.

Also nice to see a few you don’t see all that often. There’s a glowing review about Tippin Inn’s trivia night, praise for Mini Star Restaurant‘s cheap breakfasts, and a happy first-timer has good words for Supernova Tattoos on 23rd Ave. Read on for the full list…

JJ’s Astoria Roll. Via Yelp

8/4/12 JJ’s 37-05 31st Ave

“When I moved to New York, I feared that the Sushi might not be up to par with LA standards, and while that’s often the case, JJ’s is a pleasant surprise and a must-go-to for sushi fans! I have been to JJ’s possibly more than any other single place in NYC, and I keep wanting to go back.” —Myke F., Astoria, NY

8/4/12 Astoria Veterinary Group 23-54 Steinway

“Dr. Smith … did an excellent job of explaining to me the hows and whys of both the problem and potential solutions (fifth star!). When I mentioned that I was concerned because of my budget, she brought back a break down of everything she wanted to do so that I could make an informed decision and didn’t pressure me at all (sixth star!)”—Mandi O., Astoria, NY

8/4/12 Franklin Tailor Shop 31-87 Steinway

8/4/12 Locale 33-02 34th Ave “LOVE LOVE LOVE LOCALE and I cannot wait to go back!” —A.C., Manhattan, NY. Photo via Yelp

FOUR 5-star reviews: (8/1), 8/5, 8/9 (2) Vanilla Sky 33-18 Broadway

8/5/12 Point Brazil 38-01 31st Ave

“You get a high quality meal and get a great deal. My very heavy plate full of heaps of veggies, pasta, and rice and beans, along with my steak, cost me just $15. … I will certainly be back next time I’m in Astoria, and I highly recommend this restaurant to everyone!”—Pegah Y., New York, NY

8/5/12 Sweet Afton 30-09 34th St. “An awesome, relaxing, and laid back bar to go to on any day of the week.” Review by Eric S., Brooklyn, NY. Photo via SweetAftonBar.com

8/5/12 Omonia Café 32-20 Broadway

Reviewer Chris F. of Astoria raises an excellent question about Bareburger’s burgers… Photo via Yelp

8/6/12 Bareburger 23-01 31st St

“Seriously one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life…
A few people on here are bitching that the burgers are too expensive. 
Rather than ask why Bareburger is so expensive ask why most fast food burgers are so cheap…”—Chris F., Astoria, NY

8/6/12 Central Restaurant Lounge & Bar 20-30 Steinway

“I am the owner of a cirque entertainment company and we were hired by Central to provide entertainment for their past few private events (Sweet 16s, Birthday Parties, etc). The event staff at Central is really amazing. They are professional, provide a beautiful venue, and are really helpful when it comes to planning your event.”—Julia R., Astoria, NY

8/6/12 Il Bambino 34-08 31st Ave

“Delicious, carefully-prepared food in inventive combinations. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before but now I plan to come often. … I had the chorizo panini and the green bean salad and I have leftovers. That rarely happens…”—jill f., Astoria, NY

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/3 and 8/7/12 Donato’s Italian Bistro 34-02 Broadway

8/5/12 Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company 35-09 Ditmars

Stuffed Fillet with Crabmeat at Taverna Kyclades. Photo via Yelp

TWO 5-star reviews: 8/6 and 8/10/12 Taverna Kyclades 33-07 Ditmars

“Off the wall good!!! … Full plate of olive oil soaked warm toasty bread accompanied with a full bowl of lemon wedges. Ordered the calamari appetizer and crab stuffed filet. The calamari was delicious and such a huge portion that I could barely eat the entree. The filet was delicious, what i could eat of it, and the lemon potato side soooo YUMMY! will definitely go back to try the other dishes!!!” —Cheryl C., Forest Hills, NY

8/7/12 DiWine 41-15 31st Ave

8/7/12 Latin Cabana 34-44 Steinway

8/7/12 Mini Star Restaurant 30-02 Steinway

“Man—what’s up with all these hate here? One simple rule—if you can serve a nice breakfast with coffee under $7, you get automatic five star.” —Dan B. New York NY

FOUR 5-star reviews: 8/7 and 8/8/12 (plus 2 more 5-star reviews we missed last week, both 8/2/12) Seva 30-07 34th St

FIVE?!! 5-star reviews: (8/1), 8/7 (3), 8/11 Val’s Dog Walk 21-02 24th Ave

8/8/12 De Mole 4220 30th Ave

8/8/12/ TA PC Repair 31-06 38th St

8/8/12 Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden 29-19 24th Ave

8/8/12 Vitality & Health Natural Market 46-03 Broadway

8/8/12 NYC Pet Services Inc 27-15 24th Ave. [This is not official, but I’m adding several stars of my own for “Website Includes Many Photos of Dogs.”] Photo via NYCPetServices.org

8/9/12 Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company35-05 Broadway

8/9/12 Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company 36-14 30th Ave

8/9/12 TM&T Service Station 41-15 Northern Blvd

8/9/12 Tiffany Driving School 25-59 31st St

8/9/12 Whiz French Dry Cleaning 32-10 30th Ave

8/10/12 Burger Club 32-02 30th Ave

Examples of some of Supernova’s “wicked detailing.” Photo via SupernovaTattoo.com

8/10 Supernova Tattoos 38-01 23rd Ave

“Leo (bulldog)… was super professional and really kept me at ease…  I’m more than happy with how it came out and would totally recommend these guys to anyone looking for some ink, first timers or otherwise. Clean space, professional work and wicked detailing makes this place top notch in my book.”—Brae P., New York, NY

8/10 Tippin Inn 34-13 Broadway

“They hold a lighthearted trivia game every other Thursday…  Remember to bring your friends… the more random the better. You’d be surprised how much a scattered selection of buddies can tap into cumulative knowledge about board games, geography, music, cartoon characters, current events, and more.  Plus, people are too juiced up on knowledge and free shots to get into ‘douchey-trivia mode.’ It’s all good fun, with good hosts, and good people.”—Lynn F., New York, NY

Updated: Recent 5-star reviews from previous weeks

8/3/12 L’Artiste 42-20 31st Ave

7/28 and 8/1 Bareburger 33-21 31st Ave.

“Dayyyyyummnnnnnn. Brunch is no joke here… This place puts all of Hartford’s “gourmet burger joints” to shame. SHAME! Grassfed meats including ostrich burgers, lamb, elk, bison, wild boar…fabulous cheeses, awesome dipping sauces and just delightful customer service – you get the point.”—Emily C., Hartford, CT

Astoria’s 5-star reviews: 7/28-8/4

The outdoor seating area at Il Bambino. Via IlBambinoNYC.com

THREE 5-star reviews: 7/27, 8/1, and 8/2/12 Il Bambino 34-08 31st Ave

“I order take out and dine in and am never disappointed. This is the place I take my Manhattan and Brooklyn biased friends. The service is always on point–super friendly and helpful. Recently one of our servers informed me that I was ordering two very similar crostinis and offered alternative suggestions. That is what gives Il Bambino the 5 star rating.”

7/27/12 Sanford’s Restaurant 30-13 Broadway. Photo via sanfordsnyc.com

7/27/12 Sampan Chinese Restaurant 28-48 Steinway

7/28/12 The Quays Pub 45-02 30th Ave

7/28/12 Mundo Café & Restaurant 31-18 Broadway

7/28/12 The Chicken Shack 35-02 30th Ave

7/29/12 Butcher Bar 37-08 30th Ave by Roje G. of Astoria
“The Mac n Cheese.. DELICIOUS, the Mashed Potatoes…DELICIOUS, my 50/50 sandwich…DE-LI-CIOUS. Their homemade sodas/root beer with cane sugar is also (in case you haven’t guessed by now) VERY ENJOYABLE…haha I bet you thought I was going to say delicious…” Photo via Yelp

7/29/12 Studio 31 32-07 31st Ave

7/29/12 DejaVu 33-22 28th Ave

7/29/12 Famous Hamburger 30-94 Steinway

“Huge fan of this place. The service is great—fast, friendly, and present… Agree with previous yelpers, hands down the best halal burger in nyc.”

TWO 5-star reviews: 7/30 and 8/1/12 MexiBBQ 37-11 30th Ave
“We totally over-indulged but it was sooooo gooood … Look at the picture I posted of round 1 and tell me you don’t want to lick your computer screen!” Bill T., via Yelp

7/30/12 Taverna Kyclades 33-07 Ditmars

“There’s a long wait and a high demand for outdoor seating here, but it’s worth the time. Taverna Kyclades focuses on the food, the wine, and the air, and leaves all the gimmicks aside.”

7/30/12 Crave 28-55 36th St

7/31/12 5 Napkin Burger 35-01 36th St

7/31/12 Astoria Fashion Fabrics 33-17 30th Ave

TWO 5-star reviews: 7/31 and 8/1/12 Ovelia 34-01 30th Ave

8/1/12 Organics For All 30-50 Steinway
“This place is awesome! I am gluten, dairy, yeast, and sugar free (fun I know :-/ ) but this place saves me! ” Photo via Yelp

TWO 5-star reviews: 7/27 and 8/3/12 Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden 29-19 24th Ave

“Everything you could ask for in a beer garden, the food is authentic and reminds me of my trip to Prague and the outdoor space has lots of room to spread out with a big group of friends.”

TWO 5-star reviews: 7/26 and 8/3/12 Butterfly Nail Salon 24-20 Ditmars

8/3/12 Pachanga Patterson 33-17 31st Ave
“My sisters and I wanted to sit in the backyard but it was packed. The waiters there were nice enough to move 2 tables outside for us. The outside space they have is pretty small but adorable, with a sheer canopy and stringed lights to make it fancy.”

8/3 Shade Bar Organic Spa & Salon 36-05 Ditmars

A note about Astoria Social Media’s “5-star reviews” column:

Sorry to say, the system is not infallible. Not Yelp’s, and not mine. My sources are helpful, but not all-inclusive; there are plenty of 5-star reviews that I don’t hear about.

If you get one, please shoot me an email—tinfield@hotmail.com—if you’d like to see it listed here.

In the meantime, any recent reviews I’ve missed (and subsequently discovered) will go in the space below.

MANY 5-star reviews: 7/1, 7/9, 7/15 (2), 7/19 Famous Hamburger 30-94 Steinway

“Okay as a Muslim and living in New York City it’s very difficult to get some decent halal unless ur mommy is making it. Like many Americans I crave french fries, burgers and shakes. This place is amazing :) good food and it’s halal ;)”

7/22 Agnanti 19-06 Ditmars

“The octopus, in particular, was tender and succulent, and the dolmades were as good as my aunt Sophia’s… Being at Agnanti gave us the illusion of being in Greece for a couple of hours—we’ll definitely be back.”

7/23 Sanfords 30-13 Broadway

“Really good experience. So few good places are open 24 hours and this one is perfect at all times.”


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