5-Star Reviews: Yelp

This category contains 43 posts

Astoria Stars & Slams: 3/24/14

In this edition: Clarification on how to pronounce “bao,” an Astoria brick-oven place gets (favorably) compared to the original Patsy’s in East Harlem, and why you haven’t seen much from Club 21 on Twitter. —Tracy Infield

The Bao Shoppe (30-66 Steinway) opened Saturday and the Yelp reviews are in. (Yes, already.) For some reason Yelp has two pages for them—one with a single 3-star review from Phil L. (Astoria) and another with four 5-stars. My favorite (by far) was from Stephanie P, who sprinkles her review with phrases like “HUZZAH!!! *throws glitter*” and “Colonel Sanders totally got schooled.” As the other reviewers noted, there may be a few service kinks to work out, but Stephanie’s not worried: “I’m confident that in 2 weeks they will be kicking bao ass and taking names.”

See also tastoriaqueens review: “Welcome to the neighborhood: The Bao Shoppe

The Bao Shoppe is on Facebook: The Bao Shoppe, Twitter: The Bao Shoppe, and foursquare: The Bao Shoppe

PS: In case you were wondering, it rhymes with “now” (not “mayo”).

Note to The Bao Shoppe owners: If you have a choice, unlock the one on the right!

Note to The Bao Shoppe owners: If you have a choice, unlock the one on the right!

Leli’s Bakery (35-14 30th Ave) got some love this month from Chelsea J. (NY, NY) and Astorian Katherine F. Chelsea, who gave it 4 stars, says it’s “probably up there with La Guli’s and Martha’s for the best bakery in Astoria,” while Katherine (5 stars!) says it’s “way better.”

See also: 30thAve.org’s interview with Manager Mohamed Khalil of Leli’s Bakery

Leli’s is on Facebook: Leli’s Bakery & Cafe and foursquare: Leli’s Bakery and Pastry Shop

Here's Chef Leli with one of his works of art. (Photo via their FB page from Easter 2013)

Here’s Chef Leli with one of his works of art. (Photo via their FB page from Easter 2013)

Basil Brick Oven Pizza (28-17 Astoria Blvd) has also had an excellent March, scoring a place on We Heart Astoria’s list of “Top 10 Pizzas in Astoria,” a 5-star review from Astorian Ryan K., and the highest possible praise from Joe R. from East Harlem, who wrote, “This has to be one of the best gourmet style brick-oven pizzeries in the city. It rivals that of Patsy’s (the original Patsy’s on 1st Ave in East Harlem), Grimaldi’s and Totonnos, which I think are the best pizza places in the city.”

Come to think of it, Basil also had a pretty good February. If Basil is reading their Yelp reviews, this one from Chris V. of Astoria probably kept them warm all through this chilly March: “Overall this is hands-down the best ‘brick-oven’ pizza place in the area… the kind of place that I don’t want everyone to know it’s here because it would be busy all the time because of price and quality BUT I’d rather it be busy then kept a secret and close.” There’s more (much more), but if Basil Brick Oven were my restaurant, I’d print up the whole review and tape it to the big fridge in the back.

Astoria Social Media Twitter Feed Spring Cleaning Alert:

club 21

Feel free to unfollow Club 21Astoria (30-09 21st St); it’s closed. I’ve never been, although I’ve always liked their Twitter bio (“Eat like a Czech, drink like a Slovak and party like there is no tomorrow!”) In its place is The Barn—where I suspect you can also eat like a Czech and drink like a Slovak. Photo history on The Barn’s Facebook page shows Club 21 stuff, so I’m guessing it’s the same owners/management.


Astoria Stars & Slams: 2/20/14

In this edition: Astorians on Front Toward Enemy, Luludi Living Frames, and a good brunch place that’s “quaint without being too hipstery.” —Tracy Infield

Congratulations to all who received 5-star reviews on Yelp in the past few weeks:

Located in the old Canz-a-Citi space, Front Toward Enemy  (40-11 30th Ave) had a soft open 2/12 for friends and family and opened on Thursday, 2/13. If you’ll recall, conditions outdoors that evening were nasty. (Snow, rain, and crazy-deep crosswalk puddling…) But between the advance buzz and Astorians’ love of a good “handcrafted cocktail,” turnout was impressive—as have been most of the reviews on Yelp since then: seven 5-stars, 2 4-stars, and a single 2-star review. Three M. from LIC was there on opening night: “I knew it was going to be good when the manager asked me in out of the cold—before they had officially opened.” Opinions range on its ambiance, from “Folksy atmosphere with great relaxed music and a spectacular vibe” (Drew N., Manhattan) to “I’ll turn my front towards someplace less pretentious” (Elle H., Astoria). Three M thought it “hit a sweet spot between industrial, hip, and polished.”

Opinions also varied on Astorians.com. Philo-Junius, geowrld, and hikaruhana recommend it. HarrisB, confirming the ownership of FTE and Canz are one and the same, doesn’t seem to be buying it:  “The owners wanted to keep with the trend of outrageously priced Manhattan and Brooklyn-style hipsterdom. $12 cocktails, stupid name, pretentious in every way imaginable.”

See also: The We Heart Astoria review and a great background piece by Jeanmarie Evelly on DNAinfo, “Canz Gets New Life as Bar With Handcrafted Cocktails, Live Music.

Front Toward Enemy is on Facebook, Twitter, foursquare, and Instagram / INK361.

Front Toward Enemy: Cozy? Or pretentious? Your call. Photo via INK361

Front Toward Enemy: Cozy? Or pretentious? Your call. Photo via INK361

Owner Dominic Stiller stopped by the C.B. 1 meeting this past Tuesday night to get the go-ahead for outdoor seating at Dutch Kills Centraal (38-40 29th St). This will come as good news to one February Yelper who loved the food and service, but felt the ventilation could use an upgrade. Another recent Yelper gave them a solid 4 stars: “The owners have a great feel for the neighborhood. The menu is always changing and keeps getting better… the perfect fit for the location.” Let’s ignore the 1-star review from the malcontent from L.A. He doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy you’d want share a communal table with, anyway.

Luludi Living Frames: (23-07 24th Ave) gets nothing but praise from Jaime B. of Astoria, who says they have “some of the prettiest floral arrangements I’ve ever seen” including “moss purses with flowers, tiny terrariums with small plants, bigger terrariums with bigger plants, and just all kinds of other cool arrangements.” (Bonus points for these items being “surprisingly easy to care for—even for renowned plant killers like me and my husband.”) Jaime also recommends “a terrarium class if you’re looking for a fun activity that lets you be creative and have something to take home.”

Lockwood: Lauren M. loves this "local gem." Photo via Lockwood's FB page

Lockwood: Lauren M. loves this “local gem.” Photo via Lockwood’s FB page

And yet more 5-stars… for Lockwood (32-15 33rd St) from Astorian Lauren M., who suggests checking it out monthly because “they change inventory and always have something new” … Enthaice Thai Kitchen (33-20 31st Ave) racked up eight 5-star reviews so far this month, and high praise from Anthony F. of Astoria: “This is it. Best Thai in NYC. And I’ve worked on 9th Ave And 45th Street”  … Enthaice’s neighbor, Milkflower (34-12 31st Ave) also had a good month, with five 5-star reviews and a nice 4-star from Professor T. of Astoria: “I love the simplicity of this place” … And another Astorian, Clayton M. recommends William Hallet (36-10 30th Ave) for brunch: “The place wasn’t crowded, our waitress was attentive, and the mimosa and coffee kept on coming and were delicious.” He also liked the atmosphere: “Quaint without being too hipstery.”


Astoria 5-star reviews: 1/20/14

In this edition: New-ish eateries Marketa and The Burger Bistro get mixed reviews… Sunswick (an oldie but a goodie) had a good month on Yelp… and Simply Cycle Astoria is looking like a good place to get your spin on. —Tracy Infield

Congratulations to all who received 5-star reviews on Yelp in the past few weeks:

City Vape (31-88 37th St) just opened this week and has gotten three 5-star reviews from two guys from Flushing and this one from Manny O. of Astoria: “It’s nice to finally have a Vape store in the area.” Manny also gave 5 stars to Buon Appetit Deli & Caterers  (36-12 Ditmars) for their Astoria Park hero—“the most delicious sandwich I’ve had in my entire life.” (!!)

Good luck trying to figure out whether Marketa Astoria is worth your hard-earned money. The new dining spot on the corner of 30th Ave and 28th St (37-17 30th Ave) opened around the holidays to mixed reviews. Of 22 posted by 1/20/14, 12 are 4 & 5 stars; five are 3-stars; and five are 1 & 2 stars. Raina W., a bartender from LIC, was appalled by a $14 Jameson; Jesse N. (Elite ’14 from Astoria) gives it 4 stars and says “prices aren’t unreasonable considering the type of food they offer.”

via Twitter: Marketa Astoria @MarketaAstoria Dec 19 Come in and taste our chicken lollipops!

via Twitter: Marketa Astoria @MarketaAstoria Dec 19 “Come in and taste our chicken lollipops!” Photo by Bradley Hawks

Sunswick (35-02 35th Street) is getting reviews that will be music to your ears if you want to actually, like, converse with your friends at a bar. Ka Chun N. of Brookyn gives it 4 stars and says it’s “the go-to bar for a non-crowded, low-key conversation.” Kevin C. from Astoria calls it “the platonic ideal of a great neighborhood bar” and gives it 5 stars: “The occasional live music on weekend evenings is always at a reasonable level… it’s not a place like you feel like you should be watching the performer instead of talking with your friends.”

Lisa Eskenazi, owner of the new Simply Cycle Astoria (30-69 Steinway) got a nice profile on We Heart Astoria this week and the studio’s first two Yelp reviews are perfect 5-stars. Bonus: these reviews are not from sketchy beings with “0 friends and 1 review;” they’re Astorians with solid Yelp creds.

The Astoria outpost of The Burger Bistro (37-03 31st Ave) is still pretty new (first review 12/9/13), and should get bravery points for situating itself three short blocks from the very popular Bareburger on 34th Street. Like Marketa, their reviews are mixed: 15 total; nine 4 & 5 stars. They’re mentioned on ThinkAstoria’s January listing of local Groupon deals, so if you want to give it a try yourself, now might be a good time to do it.

Astoria 5-star reviews: 5/23-6/10/13

In this edition: Yelpers opine on where to go for hot yoga, quality meats, a stress-free haircut, and your next tattoo.Tracy Infield

Congratulations to all who received 5-star reviews on Yelp in the past few weeks:

The kitchen’s not open at Oliver’s (37-19 Broadway) yet but Elite ’13 Yelper Clayton M. of Astoria was happy with what he saw: “It had a fairly cool ambiance that was close to becoming too trendy but still maintained that coziness. They had long tables that allowed you to rub shoulders with other customers much to the chagrin of some and benefit of others. They also had one hell of a beer list… A thing to note is that they do play music here but they do not play it incredibly loud as Raven’s Head does … The music is there, it’s present, but you don’t need to strain your vocal chords shouting over it.” (6/10)

Deliciousness from Igloo Cafe's Facebook page. (They're on Twitter, too.)

Click through for more deliciousness from Igloo Cafe’s Facebook page. (They’re on Twitter, too.)

Two 5-stars for Igloo Ice Cream Cafe (22-26 31st St): “Love this place. People are friendly, menu is LARGE, prices are low, wifi is free, seating is ample.”—ali d., Chicago (6/9)

International Meat Market (36-12 30th Ave) “A bit more expensive than some of the other local butchers and certainly more expensive than the neighbor grocery stores/supermarkets, BUT the place is worth it.”—Neal S., Astoria

Bikram Yoga Astoria (32-03 Steinway St) “I was looking for a very clean welcoming studio where I felt at home with nice people, good instructors in an inclusive but not cliquey atmosphere and this yoga studio meets all those needs for me! … I came to this studio after a very very hard time in my life (and months off of yoga), new to Queens and now I feel more relaxed, happy, can sleep better, lost weight and increased my muscle tone and flexibility … Hope this helps people looking to try Bikram in Queens!” —MC D., Jackson Heights

Click thru for Via Trenta's Facebook page

Click thru for Via Trenta’s Facebook page

Via Trenta Osteria and Wine Bar (36-19 30th Ave) “A fantastic restaurant. It remains consistent and solidly delicious time after time.” —E.S., LIC

Studio 34 (42-18 34th Ave) “I’ve always hated getting my hair cut, even as a child. Not at Studio 34.” —Evan E., Elite ’13, LIC

Two 5-stars for Mezze Place (31-18 Broadway) “We are so spoiled in Astoria having so many places but Mezze brings something new and different.” —astoria e., Woodside (6/4) and “One of the best restaurants in Astoria”—Dana E., Astoria (6/7)

Three 5-stars for Supernova Tattoo & Piercing 5/18, 5/21, & 5/25 (38-01 23rd Ave): “No need to go to Manhattan for a quality tattoo.”—Kristina C., Astoria

Lots of great ideas on their Facebook page—and not just for meat dishes. (See: grilled pineapple, cucumber salad, and more recent snaps.)

Lots of great ideas on their Facebook page—and not just for meat dishes. (See: grilled pineapple, cucumber salad, and more recent snaps.)

A lovely 4-star: Muncan Food Corp (43-09 Broadway) “Look up, look down, every which way you look you see a variety of smoked meat.  It’s all made in house and it is delicious.  The kielbasa is some of the best I’ve had.  Staff is friendly and willing to answer questions and explain what things are, as well as offer you a taste.  It’s not cheap, but you pay for the homemade quality….which is damn good.”—Krista M., Elite ’13, Kew Gardens (5/23). And this 5-star from 5/13: “No foodie visit to Astoria should skip this place.”

Three 5 stars (5/26, 5/27 & 6/8) for Sugar Freak (36-18 30th Ave) including a really nice one from Ken J., of Jamaica “You can’t get food like this in New York on every corner so it’s worth the trip…”

Two 5-stars for Break Bar and Billiards (32-04 Broadway): “My GO TO bar in Astoria!” —JC, NYC (6/4) “Weekdays are fun… the place is all yours technically. Try the bacon cheese burger! Yum! :)”—Carola N., Queens

More 5-star reviews: Antika Pizzeria (36-08 30th Ave) 6/4 & 6/5 • SingleCut Beersmiths (19-33 37th St) 6/7 • The Queens Kickshaw (40-17 Broadway) 6/6 • The Shady Lady (34-19 30th Ave) 5/30 (2)


Astoria 5-star reviews: 5/13-5/31/13

In this edition: Veslo goes local—very local!—for its herbs … Redken Saloon Salon’s “killer colorist” (for redheads) is revealed … And the perfect bartender is discovered at William Hallet; “he is called ‘Alex'”. Apparently Alex will not give you hell if you order a pain in the ass drink, such as an Old Fashioned. If you don’t exactly recall what’s involved in the making, don’t bother Googling it, as I had to. There’s a great definition and how-to right here.—Tracy Infield

Congratulations to all who received 5-star reviews on Yelp in the past few weeks:

It’s just too hot to count all the 5-star reviews Arepas Cafe (33-07 36th Ave) has received in the last few weeks. Let’s just say there were quite a few. (Oh, OK—9 since 5/13.) Normally I’d question such a glut, but only one is (my definition of) a “sketchy Yelper”—0 friends, less than 5 reviews. [Digital air kisses to Juan D. of New York, NY for this: “The trip from Manhattan to Astoria is worth it!” And for providing directions from the N train.]


Veslo (32-11 Broadway) impressed Elite ’13 Yelper Clayton M. from Astoria by plucking the mint for his mojito straight from the garden he was sitting in, and finished up as strong as they started: “To end the night, I had the chocolate lava cake and my girlfriend had the crepes. Crepes. Go. With. The. Crepes. They were delicious, light, and just sweet enough. My cake was good, but Jesus, those crepes took the cake, mehehehe.”

The Thirsty Koala (35-12 Ditmars) also got a bunch of 5-stars (5/20, 5/21, 5/24, & 5/28), but my favorite is this 4-star from Elite ’13 Yelper Qian W., a local: “You can eat kangaroos here. Everyone should have started their reviews with this.” (5/16)

Planet Fitness (30-33 Steinway) “People are being unfair to this gym. It’s $10 a month. They have all the expected cardio and weight machines and a decent-if-disorganized supply of free weights. You can get a good workout here. If you want more than that recognize that it will cost you and either put up or shut up.” —Ted H., NY NY (5/26)

Fantastic review for Kate at Redken Saloon Salon (36-17 30th Ave): “She said red was her specialty and boy, she wasn’t kidding… She NAILED it. I mean PERFECT color. Not orangey. Not brassy. I LOVED it! … Not only is Kate a lovely individual but she is a killer hair colorist.”—Kari C., Utica, NY

Brunch at William Hallet. Photo via/ click through for their Facebook page

Brunch at William Hallet. Photo via/ click through for their Facebook page

William Hallet (36-10 30th Ave) got a 5-star review 5/21, but this 4-star is even sweeter: “The first time I came here over a year ago, my friend and I had the worst bartender. He was rude and only seemed to care about waiting on his friends. Last week we went back and we had a GREAT bartender — I’d even go so far to say he was the perfect bartender. I didn’t catch his name but my receipt says he is called ‘Alex’. 
My Old Fashioned was PERFECT and he didn’t give me hell about making a pain in the ass drink.” —Sharon K., NY NY (5/25)

Three 5-star reviews for Savory Cafe (36-02 36th Ave) on 5/13, 5/14, & 5/22, including this one from Ronald Jay G. from Woodhaven: “I’ve noticed this place for quite some time when looking for parking, however, just didn’t bother going in because it didn’t seem anything special from the outside. But I’m glad we’ve tried it out… their desserts were incredible!!!”

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure. It’s just too damn hot to figure it out now.

More 5-star reviews: Via Trenta 36-19 30th Ave (5/11 & 5/26) • Anthea Center 34-01 45th St (5/31) • Stove 45-17 28th Ave (5/12) • Jumping Bulldog 28-10 23rd Ave (5/19) • Fatty’s Cafe 25-01 Ditmars (5/15 & 5/21) • EZ-Bins 34-13 38th St (5/14 & 5/19) • Bud’s Ale House 34-02 Steinway (5/24 & 5/30)



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