A word of mouth recommendation by an office friend took us to Restaurant 718 in Astoria for dinner last Saturday.
The restaurant is located on a busy intersection of Ditmars and 31st and with the gorgeous warm summer evening, the restaurants façade was wide open. my wife mentioned that it was reminiscent of a Mediterranean trattoria, especially with the European ethnicity that the area abounds with.
The radicchio tarte flambe was very good, nicely accented with truffle oil. My roast duck breast entrée, slightly cooked more than the medium rare that I was promised with, was quite good. The sides of cubed potato frittes mixed with sautéed asparagus was nicely done with some excellent seasoning, especially the cumin seeds. On the other hand, my wifes scallop dish, the days special, was actually quite cloying and was not one of the better scallop dish that shes had. However, the sautéed spinach and mushrooms side dish was very good. As for dessert, we opted for the warm bread pudding with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. I ordered a bottle of 2003 Ch. Colombier Chinon, soft, food-friendly and easily drinkable, which I had to request that the bottle be kept on ice in the bar as the wines temperature was a bit too warm when it was served.
Overall, the dishes were better than satisfactory. However, the pricing (for example, the mains at $27 each, and a low end Chinon at $37) is a bit too much for a very casual ambiance in Astoria.
If and when we make our way back, it will probably be to sample more of the appetizers and other versions of their tarte flambé, as they seem to represent the better value.
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