Okay everyone... here's my dining report from last weekend stay in NYC... I'm going to mostly post my Queens comments here, and my Manhattan comments on the Manhattan Board so this doesn't get TOS'd...
Sampled 4 restaurants: Brazilian: Malagueta in Astoria, Egyptian: Kabab Cafe in Astoria, Pizza: Nicks in Queens (Forest Hills), and French Bistro: Gascogne in Manhattan (Chelsea).
My girlfriend and I would both agree to the following rankings of these restaurants: #1: Malagueta...this little place just blew us away, comments below #2: Nicks Pizza...very solid pie, we have recommendations on how to order below #3: Gascogne...charming place, some dishes good, some not quite as good, a bit expensive, might return but no hurry #3 (tie): Kabab Cafe...we messed up on the main dish (Veal Kababs) should have had lamb instead as veal is not a flavorful meat...probably would return, but no hurry INSTEAD we'd be interested in a GREAT TURKISH PLACE !! as turkish food seems to us to be a bit "spicier" and flavorful.
DISHES WE HAD:
MALAGUETA: A) Calamari w/ hot red sauce...simply the best fried version of calamari I ever had B) Lentil salad w/ goat cheese, very tasty C) Main dish the shrimp stew over rice...out of this world, especially with their fire-hot sauce D) Dessert: Flan & Coconut pudding...the Flan was best I ever had and coconut was nice, if delicate. RED ALERT FOR CHOWHOUNDS: Saturday Nite they have Feiojoada and that's probably not to be missed. Some say this place has "faux Brazilian" but the Feiojada is genuine. Well, a Brazilian girl sat next to us and there was a table of about 25 Brazilians all partying. So while there might be a touch of "Ameri-Brazilian" it's probably pretty authentic. By the Way, the Brazilian lady recommended La Platforma in Manhattan for authentic Brazilian in the City.
NICKS: Had medium pie with numerous toppings. The bottom line is that you simply MUST order the extra Sauce and the Extra cheese (go for the Ricotta becuz mozarella comes on it). Without the extra s&c it's a bit dry and not that cheesy. Otherwise excellent taste if a Bit expensive. We'd definitely go back
GASCOGNE: A) Mussels in Garlic Butter w/ Chardonnay...excellent food & wine match, very delicious B) Foie Gras warm w/ Raspberry: I brought a bottle of Sauternes which they corked for free because we bought some wine there. Was a good FG BUT at $23 not a bargain and the portion was probably too large for 2 persons unless you're an FG hound (which I am but my girlfriend isn't)...also had a slice of Roquefort to accompany the Sauternes and that was awesome (one of my favorite food / wine matches). C) Main dish: Tuna served w/truffle somehow...tuna didn't quite taste fresh OR the truffle's funkiness didn't help the tuna. Should have had a Pinot Noir with this due to the truffle but had a Chardonnay instead...not bad at all, but not memorable. D) Dessert: Creme Brulee, very nice but isn't most CB ? Overall not a great value at $110 or so w/ tip. IF you sit in the Garden DO NOT get a seat where you're staring at the wall...
KABAB CAFE: A) Appetizers: 1) Mixed plate w/ Falafel, hummus, baba, fava beans etc. Very good...definitely recommend it, falafel especially excellent B) Grilled Calamari...prepared very nicely but unfortunately TASTELESS C) Veal Kababs prepared so nice with grilled veggies etc. this was a big mistake as veal is also so tasteless. Note: the chef, Ali is a master chef and prepares anything with alot of "style"...be sure to get FLAVORFUL DISHES and I'm sure you'll like this place... MUST MENTION the Coffee here...it's authentic Egyptian coffee and pours like heavyweight oil...very interesting.
That's it for now...looking forward to your comments and experiences at these establishments