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Luna de Juarez on Steinway in Astoria

Thanks for the tip! I was actually considering that last night but it sounded too good to be true.

Mar 31, 2009
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Luna de Juarez on Steinway in Astoria

I was surprised to see a search for this place turn up empty. It seems to be reasonably popular, and the few meals I've had there have been quite good. In particular I can highly recommend the Tacos al Grill with beef--some of the tastiest Mexican food I've had in town. It's more like a fajita plate, as it comes with grilled strips of salted beef and purple onions, plus veggies and a pile of tortillas to assemble the tacos on your own. At $13 it's a bit pricey when compared to a place like Tacos Mexico or the venerable 30th Avenue taco truck, but we find it feeds 2 easily with the accompanying rice and beans. The few other things we've tried (nachos, fried plantains) have been good enough to make me think the tacos aren't just a fluke.

Plus they have 2-for-1 drinks at the bar from 5:00-8:00 (which is what lured me in the first time, I'll admit), and occasionally there has been some nice live flamenco music in there. (Another time was a Christian-themed rock band, which wasn't quite my taste, but to each his own.)

Has anyone tried their brunch buffet? I've been meaning to go check it out.

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Luna de Juarez
25-98 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

Mar 31, 2009
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Canning jars in (northern) Queens?

I get the big (1-quart) Mason jars with screw-on lids at Bargain Stop, the big 99-cent store on 30th Ave in Astoria. Not sure if they have smaller ones.

33-02 30th Avenue

Jul 20, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Brunch/Lunch in Astoria...HELP!!

Brick is fine, but there's nothing uniquely Astorian about it -- that is to say, I guess, it's not Greek. Then again, at many of the Greek places (Taverna Kyclades, Elias) you'll be giving up the vegetarian-friendly thing.

Jun 06, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Best pasta sauce in a jar?

It's a bit pricey, but Citarella's jarred sauce is quite good.

May 01, 2008
jmat in General Topics

Moving to Astoria next week: Any recs?

Yeah, 31st Ave is mostly a mystery to me. What's good at JJs? I'm always confused by fusion places with multiple cuisines ...

Apr 24, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Zabb Astoria disaster

Thai Angel is gone; Thai Pavilion remains. Thank goodness.

Apr 22, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Moving to Astoria next week: Any recs?

About a year ago I made a Google Map of my favorite Astoria spots, then promptly abandoned it. Your post spurred me to revisit, revise, and add a few more spots, but it's still a work in progress.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF...

Apr 21, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

anyone else try poodam's thai in astoria/lic?

Went by Poodam's last night for dinner. Hardly a soul in there, but the food was quite good. I had the duck larb, which was exceptional and, also, the spiciest thing I've ever been served in my life by a pretty wide margin. (The waitress tried to warn me...) The vegetarian duck jungle curry was a big hit, as was the duck basil. We actually weren't crazy about the seafood papaya salad—might be a hit-and-miss dish. In any case, I hope business picks up for them—it's a welcome and highly interesting addition to the neighborhood.

Apr 06, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Esparks in Woodside

As of April 5, the Esparks on Steinway is shuttered. Marshal's closure notice pasted to the door, handwritten For Rent signs in the window. Looks like things aren't going too well.

Apr 06, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Best Delivery in Astoria

Thai: Thai Pavilion (718) 777-5546
Pizza: Rizzo's (718) 721-9862
Mexican: Tacos Mexico (718) 545-5888
Chinese: Golden House (718) 545-0101

At the first two, you can pretty much order anything and be satisfied, in my opinion. For the latter two it's more hit-and-miss: at Tacos Mexico I recommend the huaraches, enchiladas and rice & beans, and, to a lesser extent, the tacos and burritos. At Golden House (disclaimer: Astoria is notorious for bad Chinese; Golden House isn't fantastic but rather a serviceable delivery option) the fried rice, kung pao chicken and chow ho fun are all pretty reliable.

Mar 24, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

On a Budget in Astoria/Queens...help

Yep. Marino and International are neighbors on the south side of 30th Ave between 36th and 37th Streets. Both are excellent; as to your question, I've gotten a number of different items from Marino's and have never been disappointed. I'd be shocked if there were a better fish market in Astoria.

Feb 04, 2008
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Sunset Park Mexican -- great chow and/but nice decor

Really glad to hear Eclipse is still going strong. When I lived in Sunset Park (up until a year ago), I used to get food from there all the time, and it was consistently very good. The owner is super-nice and it's a great place to eat in or get delivered -- I've raved before on this board about their breakfast sandwiches in particular. Until I can find a better egg sandwich (theirs comes with avocado, beans, bacon, and on and on), I'll always have a reason to visit the old 'hood.

Dec 05, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Queens Sports Bars

I have a soft spot for McCann's on Ditmars (3615 Ditmars, to be exact) in Astoria. Style it's lacking, but the staff is friendly, they have a million TVs (and it is not a big place -- cozy and boisterous, more like), and they've got the full selection of bar food -- burgers, wings, etc.

I actually prefer the Irish Rover on 28th Ave at 38th St in Astoria for straight-up sports watching, but they don't have a kitchen.

Oct 01, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Ovelia (Astoria) Raw Bar?

Ovelia (on 30th Avenue, Astoria) has put up a neon sign advertising their raw bar. My interest is piqued -- anybody tried it? I'm always a little loathe to try raw shellfish without a recommendation ...

Aug 14, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

What's the best place to buy baklava?

The place next to Opa is:

Yaya's Bakery
2846 31st St
Astoria, NY 11102
(718) 932-3113

The baklava there is excellent--very sweet and loaded with honey. For those who like a drier (and less sweet) baklava, check out the incredible selection at Laziza:

2578 Steinway St
Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 777-7676

Aug 11, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

A Beginner's Map of Astoria

Here's an evolving Google map of my favorite (so far) places to eat, and shop for eats, in Astoria. A lot of these places I discovered via this site, but there are a lot of hound-recommended spots I haven't visited yet, so be warned: it's not all-encompassing! (But it will become more comprehensive as I venture into new territory.) In any case, I hope it's helpful to someone.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?q=asto...

Apr 13, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Review: Taverna Kyclades in Astoria

Kyclades is super. I've had a few things there, but can highly recommend the grilled octopus. It's tender and flavorful and quite beautiful. Also, having looked over quite a few diners' shoulders, it seemed like the grilled calamari was the thing to order, not the fried calamari. Just a hunch.

Mar 24, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Frozen Tamales?

Right: just south of the actual Sunset Park park, in the neighborhood of Sunset Park. I wish I could remember the name, but again, it's on the east side of 5th ave, just one or two blocks south of the park. It's a small restaurant (w/ a jukebox?), and they usually have a cooler just inside with the tamales. I believe it has a red awning, or an awning with some red on it. Wish I could remember more specifics (like, say, the name of the place), but those blocks are quite small and I'm sure you'll be able to find it. If you can, I recommend the chicken verde, and the oaxaceno (wrapped in a banana leaf) is quite good, too.

Mar 18, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Frozen Tamales?

There's a place on 5th Ave (east side of the street, just below the park) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that sells terrific tamales out of a cooler at the front of the restaurant. They're served fresh and hot, but freeze and reheat beautifully. (They come in foil.) I'd guess that they top any you might find prefrozen.

Mar 18, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Best Sandwiches (Any Type) in Queens

Dunno about in Queens, but there are some great Vietnamese sandwiches to be had in NYC. Nicky's on E 2nd Street (Manhattan) serves a semi-stylized East Village version that's quite good, while Thanh Da in Brooklyn's Sunset Park (5624 B 8th Ave at 57th St) is more authentic and also very good (and very cheap!). Either is well worth checking out!

Feb 04, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Best bloody mary in Astoria?

I'm looking for the Astoria equivalent of Enid's in Greenpoint -- that is, a spot that serves up particularly tasty, spicy, interesting (ie, no mix from a bottle) bloody marys. (And if these hypothetical drinks happened to cost a bit less than those at Enid's -- where they're $8 or so -- that would be great.) The place could be a bar or restaurant, swanky or divey, and whether or not they have good food isn't really important. This is a single-minded pursuit ... Any leads?

Feb 04, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Produce and Fruit in Astoria

Another vote for Elliniki -- wonderful selection, almost always very fresh, terrific prices.

Feb 02, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

El Rey del Taco truck

The taco truck, while certainly not being the best Mexican joint around, is great for what it is -- a cheap, fast, friendly place to get a bite on the way home from work or, even better, on the way home from a night out in the city. I see them out on 30th Ave into the wee hours all the time, often well past 3am. The huaraches are quite good in my opinion. Excellent drunk food.

Jan 27, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Mexican in Astoria?

I'll throw in my two cents in favor of Tacos Mexico (38th/Broadway). Went there for the first time the other night -- not a ton of ambience, but very nice service and really solid, straightforward Mexican. (My girlfriend and I are from California, so we're constantly frustrated by the lack of good Mexican food out here.)

I got three al pastor tacos ($2 each), which were massive and superb. So much flavor, in fact, that it was kind of overwhelming -- I wish I had mixed it up and gotten another kind as well.

My girlfriend got combo enchiladas with green sauce. The chicken was nice and flavorful (despite being mostly white meat) and very tender. The sauce was good, too. One possible downside: the cheese filling they use is of the variety that gets kind of rubbery when it melts. I like it for some reason, but my girlfriend doesn't. Word to the wise.

As for the peripherals: the horchata was nice, the rice and beans were quite good, and the restaurant has an attached full bar with a pool table.

All in all a very nice experience; we'll definitely be going back, and soon.

Jan 18, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Favela in Astoria?

Tried Favela for delivery last night and was quite disappointed. Started with the salgados (fried appetizer pastries), which I thought were pretty good and my girlfriend thought were okay. I'd get those again, especially if I were dining in the restaurant (fried food never travels that well).

We also got the daily special (Carne Assada -- braised pot roast), which was just bad. Seriously, like airplane food bad. The beef was a poor-quality cut, cooked to a dry grayness, with almost no flavor. Even with a hearty dose of salt and pepper, the roast was almost inedible.

Based on the promising salgados and the favorable reviews on this board, I'll try Favela once more, but my girlfriend won't. I'm prepared to accept that the Tuesday special is just a dish to be avoided -- next time I'll try more of a standby. But another similar experience to last night would cross them off my list for good.

Jan 18, 2007
jmat in Outer Boroughs

Only 5 dollars to spend in South Brooklyn...

I see I'm a little late to this thread, but I had to chip in my two cents (or, in this case, five bucks... sorry...):

The amazingly as-yet-undiscovered Eclipse in Sunset Park (4th Ave at 43rd St) has, on the weekends, the most phenomenal breakfast sandwiches I've ever tasted ($4.00, I believe, with bacon or ham, $3.00 without).

In addition to the regular bacon-egg-cheese combo, they throw on shredded lettuce, beans, avocado (!) and onions. Maybe tomato as well, I'm not sure. In any case, they're highly recommended for sandwich lovers -- I haven't been to Thanh Da once since I discovered them.

Aug 14, 2006
jmat in Outer Boroughs