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Outer Boroughs

Seven One Eight--Astoria

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Restaurants & Bars 4

Seven One Eight--Astoria

Chorus Girl | Jan 22, 2004 08:27 AM

On the basis of Grimes' review, I tried Seven One Eight last Friday (on Ditmars Boulevard and 35th Street). It was not a promising start when I walked into a completely empty restaurant and was shown a table right by the door. When I balked, they gave me the closest table to the kitchen instead.

The bread was little warmed slices of baguette, served with olive oil that had cumin and other spices in it. I started with the tuna tartare appetizer--this has the tartare served inside Belgian endive leaves on a bed of guacamole. Nothing outstanding, though the guacamole was fresh and well-seasoned. I then had the roast chicken, served with wilted spinach and two cakes of corn and I think spinach (the menu had said spinach and asparagus). Chicken was juicy but plain, probably seasoned with not much more than salt and pepper. The spinach was cooked with lemon, butter, and perhaps some cream, so it was rich and tangy at the same time. The veggie cakes on the side were tasty.

I hadn't had any wine because I'm on antibiotics, and I was feeling full so I didn't want any dessert. When I asked my server for the check (he may have been one of the partners, as he had a thick French accent), he openly said "What, you didn't have a drink and you don't want dessert?" I thought this was pretty off-putting and I didn't feel like I had to justify my reasons. I consented to have some tea, but the busboy brought me out a pot with the teabag in the water, and when he started pouring I noticed that it had barely steeped at all. I had to tell him twice that it wasn't ready yet. I later heard my server telling him that when he serves tea, he has to put the bag in the cup and pour the water over it.

Because of this, I don't really feel the need to go back. There are innumerable bistros out there, and I have a feeling that Tournesol would be a better bet for French in western Queens.

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