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Downtown Forest Hills

j
jennielap Dec 17, 2003 09:25 AM

My husband and I are going to a cocktail party on Friday and want to grab a bite of dinner in downtown Forest Hills (near the Continental Ave. subway station) before we head home. I know there is a cluster of restaurants on 70th Road and several others on Austin. Any recommendations?

  1. c
    Chicago Mike Dec 24, 2003 03:50 AM

    No "downtown Forest Hills" thread is complete without mention of Andres Bakery.

    Just tried their cheesecake today. It's like discovering "something you've been missing". This is a major piece of the cheesecake holy grail....see upcoming Outer Boro and Manhattan Cheesecake Safari report.

    Their ruggelach, etc. looked scrumptious too...everything appears to be baked on the premises as there's quite a crew in the back area.

    In it's own way it's one of the most impressive food finds I've made anywhere in greater NYC.

    Andres Hungarian Bakery...about 101-00 or 102-00 Queens Blvd., SOuth side of the blvd. just before you head east into "downtown Forest Hills".

    1. m
      Milton Dec 18, 2003 06:37 PM

      Since you're going to be dressed up I guess Wendy's is out of the question.
      If you’re going to be in that neighborhood, Q Thai Bistro is a nice place, nothing phenomenal about the food. They have this flourless chocolate cake that is quite good. They also have a pumpkin cheese cake I would like to try. Q is on Ascan st across from Nick’s Pizza, which has great pizza.

      There’s a place called Rogue A French Bistro (theme?) on 70th Road. It sounds like it is fairly fancy. I never tried it, but have always wanted to, Dish Du Jour wrote a pretty favorable review of it. Then again I haven’t seen an unfavorable review by Dish Du Jour. If I can't think of what to eat for dinner tonight I just might try it.

      Link: http://dishdujourmagazine.com/reviews...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Milton
        k
        kiwi Dec 19, 2003 05:32 PM

        Dish du Jour isn't a magazine. It is an advertising handout.

      2. c
        Chicago Mike Dec 17, 2003 02:15 PM

        For Mexican, 5 Burro is not bad. Not great either. Their flan is very nice dessert. Skip the guacamole. For nice pizza, Nicks is very good. Baan Thai is cute but not authentic Thai at all...but you could get some tasty "Ameri-Thai" there.

        There's a new Italian restaurant that sounds very good a short drive away on Metropolitan called 'La Vigna' which I'm looking to try next weekend. The chef/owner has good history.

        1. l
          Larry Dec 17, 2003 10:33 AM

          No phenomenal restaurants.
          Try Bann Thai on Austin Street, near Barnes & Noble.

          35 Replies
          1. re: Larry
            w
            Wilson Mui Dec 17, 2003 09:30 PM

            I have never been to La Vigna either, but if you are going to go that far (on to Metropolitan Ave) I would suggest Punta Sal. I think their tamales are pretty good (though salty the last time I had it), and my favorite dish there is the chiccaron (sp?), it is pork chops with sweet potatoes and salad.

            1. re: Wilson Mui
              k
              Kerry Dec 18, 2003 09:12 AM

              Went last night. Fusilli caprese had nice big chunks of mozzarella and fresh tomato, but pasta was too al dente (always a fine line past pleasantly chewy). Marinara sauce served with the fritti misti appetizer was fantastic, although would have liked more than two butterflied shrimp. Tiramisu was great, the real thing (no whipped cream topping here). Apparently the chef was a protege of Lidia Bastianich?

              1. re: Kerry
                c
                Chicago Mike Dec 19, 2003 11:46 AM

                Quick follow up to this. We also tried La Vigna last nite. I'll have a more complete report later. TOTALLY AGREE about the Tiramisu....so far it is my benchmark Tiramisu for Queens...it looks like the "caky" non-descript style but one taste and you know it's just gorgeous cream based above and below the lady fingers. Might use a hint more frangelico but very nice. Served with nice touch of whipped cream "roses" with drizzle of chocolate on the edge of the plate. Way enough for two.

                More later, but suffice to say this restaurant is well worth trying with a rough edge or two.

                1. re: Chicago Mike
                  k
                  Kerry Dec 19, 2003 01:49 PM

                  Mike, would you say that Metropolitan Avenue is a more chowhoundish area than Austin Street/70th Ave.?

                  1. re: Kerry
                    c
                    Chicago Mike Dec 19, 2003 10:07 PM

                    From my limited but growing experience, I'd say that probably neither location has a real high concentration of gourmet cuisine...nothing like Astoria, for example. But both have a fair number of interesting destinations...you just have to move alot of chaff. That's one of the great things about the Chowhound.com site, I find it helps move the "obvious chaff".

                    1. re: Chicago Mike
                      k
                      Kerry Dec 20, 2003 07:45 PM

                      So far my non-chaff picks in Forest Hills are Modus Vivendi, Bonelle Bakery (although, boy was that woman at the counter nasty to me -- "HURRY UP! People are WAITING!"), Cabana, La Vigna, Ben's Deli, Andre's Hungarian, Mickey's (for sushi, not cooked food), Nick's Pizza, Cheese of the World, and Sato looks promising.

                      1. re: Kerry
                        m
                        Mike R. Dec 20, 2003 08:33 PM

                        Did you forget something?...Knish Nosh! (I actually enjoy a knishdog with a Dr. Brown Cel-Ray washdown).

                        1. re: Mike R.
                          j
                          Jennifer Dec 21, 2003 10:14 AM

                          Where exactly is La Vigna located?

                          1. re: Jennifer
                            k
                            Kerry Dec 21, 2003 10:32 AM

                            Metropolitan Avenue around 70th

                            1. re: Kerry
                              c
                              Cat Dec 31, 2003 09:37 AM

                              Hi,

                              Besides Nick's is there any really good pizza places in FH? I am looking for a place that delivers. So far every place I have tried has left much to be desired. Any suggestions????

                              Thanks.

                          2. re: Mike R.
                            k
                            Kerry Dec 21, 2003 10:35 AM

                            Hi Mike :-)
                            Well, shamefully, I haven't ventured into Knish Nosh yet. Upon your worthy recommendation, however, I may. I remember there was a serious discussion on this board as to whether the quality of the knishes had deteriorated after Knish's move to the other side of 67th Road. (I know this is culinary blasphemy, but in the grogginess of morning I sure am glad that the Starbucks is there!)

                            1. re: Kerry
                              m
                              Mike R. Dec 21, 2003 02:02 PM

                              ...and don't forget: always request your knishes from "off the rack"...these are the only ones guaranteed fresh, as the old "to go" heater imparts a sort of elderly flavor...warm can be way more rewarding than hot!

                              PS - In your honor, I had a Friday night date featuring moules au vin frites & canard confit @ the lovely Belleville.

                              1. re: Mike R.
                                k
                                Kerry Dec 21, 2003 05:45 PM

                                oh I envy you those moules frites! I just had an attack of homesickness and got my rigatoni alla nonna at Savoia :-)

                              2. re: Kerry
                                m
                                Maria Dec 24, 2003 11:02 AM

                                Whoa! A Starbucks where Knish Nosh used to be?
                                I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Is there no place in the NYC area left for Starbucks to colonize!

                                --Maria

                            2. re: Kerry
                              m
                              Maria Dec 20, 2003 10:39 PM

                              "downtown" forest hills?
                              Where is that?

                              1. re: Maria
                                k
                                Kerry Dec 21, 2003 10:37 AM

                                I guess, the area where all the fun is! (I'm new to the area myself ;-) Queens Boulevard, Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue.

                                1. re: Kerry
                                  m
                                  Maria Dec 24, 2003 10:53 AM

                                  This is the first time I have ever heard that area termed Downtown Forest Hills.

                                  For a moment I thought some of the people where refering to another area much farther in (past Metropolitan Avenue in the south side) which also has a shopping district (as far as I remember) which is technically still Forest Hills I think.

                                  --Maria

                                  1. re: Maria
                                    t
                                    tigerwoman Dec 24, 2003 02:10 PM

                                    back in the day (when I went to FH High School) we called that area "the avenue" as in Continental Avenue and Austin Street - didn't matter where on Austin you were going, you were going to "the avenue"

                                    I too have never heard anyone refer to it as "downtown forest hills" but hey we can start a new trend - as per usual, you heard it here on chowhound first...

                                    By the way, to the poster who just discovered Andres Bakery, make sure to try their cheese danish and also the traditional hungarian stuff like sacre torte. They are a dying art - a real bakery in the traditional European fashion. I love the dignified older lady behind the counter - she brings back memories of shopping with my grandmother and great aunt for Hungarian goodies in Yorkville when it had a much greater hungarian influence in the late 60 and even 70's.

                                    1. re: tigerwoman
                                      l
                                      lucho Dec 24, 2003 03:50 PM

                                      And let's not forget the Ecuadorian guy who does the baking as a native Hungarian. Only in New York...

                                      1. re: lucho
                                        m
                                        missmasala Dec 30, 2003 03:41 PM

                                        an ecuadorian baker. that is hilarious. only in NYC indeed. wonder if he's managed to learn the impossible language that is hungarian.

                                        my grandma used to buy stuff there and pass it off as her own. now i just stop there on my way to visit her further down queen's blvd. i am partial to their chocolate kugelopf. but all the hungarian stuff is good--all the strudels, and the dobos torte is delicious. Now that touch of hungary is gone, Andre's is all i have left of hungary in queens. besides grandma, of course!

                                      2. re: tigerwoman
                                        c
                                        caren r Dec 30, 2003 02:07 PM

                                        That lady is Andre's mom

                                      3. re: Maria
                                        b
                                        Burns Res Dec 24, 2003 03:28 PM

                                        My grandmother and aunt, both of whom lived on the south side of QB from the 1930s until the 1980s used to call the area formed around Austin St and Continental Avenue "the Village." They would say they took a walk to "the Village" that afternoon etc. This is possibly because at one time before the chains took over, the area had a Tudor look to it, like a small "village" which they entered thru Station Square, which is thankfully unchanged.

                                  2. re: Kerry
                                    l
                                    Lisa Dec 21, 2003 12:35 AM

                                    Dear Kerry:

                                    Sorry you had the surly experience at Bonelle, don't take it personally and the products are worth it. The owner works with the baker - they are both very talented. It is her sister or sister in law who is surly...she has no sense of customer service - but they really are nice people even ms. grumpy can be nice sometimes. They work really really hard - you have to hustle to get business with that kind of business. Need some wholesale accounts as well as the retail. It's really hard work, take it from someone who has run a retail food establishment - glad I don't do that end of it any more - it's a tough tough world...

                                    1. re: Lisa
                                      k
                                      Kerry Dec 21, 2003 10:31 AM

                                      I can understand how hard it is, having worked in a food store myself, but I guess I felt upset because I was going out of my way to be nice to the woman. I guess it must just be that time of year, a stressful holiday season.

                                      1. re: Kerry
                                        l
                                        Lisa Dec 21, 2003 08:23 PM

                                        she's always like that - and being nice to her doesnt help - I bet they have lost business because of her, but she is family, so what can you do...

                                        Just enjoy the products. and welcome to the hood...

                                        1. re: Lisa
                                          k
                                          Kerry Dec 22, 2003 08:57 AM

                                          thank you :-)

                                          Well I must admit that the almond croissant and the green olive roll were enough to keep me coming back for more...

                                          1. re: Kerry
                                            m
                                            Maria Dec 24, 2003 11:10 AM

                                            Are you referring to the bakery in Ascan Avenue?

                                            --Maria

                                            1. re: Kerry
                                              t
                                              tigerwoman Dec 24, 2003 02:04 PM

                                              the green olive roll is probably from Tomcat Bakery (they only sell wholesale and I know that Bonelle is one of their distributors) Aren't they good. They also make one with black olives and rosemary - I use them for mini sandwiches or even brushetta sometimes (I have an account with Tomcat too).

                                              I was nearby to Bonelle yesterday hunting down strawberries for an order of chocolate dipped strawberries for a xmas eve breakfast this moring ($6 for a small box at Natural - but believe it or not they were the best and most reasonably priced yesterday in all of Forest Hills)

                                              ---anyway, I stopped in yesterday to wish Rahita a happy holiday, but only grumpy sister was out front and she was busy with a customer so I didn't even bother - she probably would have gotten upset that I was wasting her time...

                            3. re: Wilson Mui
                              m
                              Milton Dec 18, 2003 06:20 PM

                              I liked the chiccarons too, but not what I was expecting, where's the fatty fried pork skins?

                              1. re: Milton
                                l
                                lucho Dec 22, 2003 08:31 PM

                                I haven't gone to Punta Sal --yet. But I have eaten tons of chicharrones (not chicarrones) in Peru. In Mexican cuisine Chicharron is fried pork rind. It can be found in large pieces or packaged in bite-size format. It can be eaten as an appetizer or used as an ingredient for many dishes.

                                Peruvian chicharron is pork fried in its own fat. Pieces of pork are covered with water in an open dutch oven or other heavy gauge pot and left in high fire until the water evaporates and the meat deep fries in the fat. Once cooked it is seasoned with salt. The result are tender pieces of meat with a crunchy exterior and a very concentrated pork flavor, Some cooks use small sized pieces (about 2x2 cubes, while other put large pieces. For home cooking it is usually better to use small pieces, and if the pork is too lean, pieces of fat should be also added to the concoction. But the best chicharrones are usually perpared in large amounts,and not in pots but in 40 gallon gasoline cans over wood fire.

                                Chicharron is usually served with sweet potatoes (fried or baked) and an onion, lemon and chile sauce. A popular peruvian sandwich is sliced chicharron and fried sweet potato in a Portuguese Roll (the closest thing to what is called Pan Frances in Peru).
                                In Peruvian restaurants fried pork rind is known as "chicharra", never chicharron

                                1. re: lucho
                                  m
                                  Maria Dec 24, 2003 11:07 AM

                                  You are killing me!
                                  I'm going to need to get a chicharron fix this weekend.

                                  I think the main thing you must remember when judging chicharron is that it must be crunchy. That's the mark of good chicharron.

                                  I know some Mexican places/trucks sell tacos de chicharron but the chicharrones in them are soft, rather soggy. To me that's bad chicharron. So maybe it's a regional thing?

                                  --Maria

                              2. re: Wilson Mui
                                c
                                Caren R Dec 22, 2003 08:40 AM

                                Can someone tell me where Punta Sal is?

                                Also, I would recommend Cabana. I really enjoy going there. The service is extremely friendly and the food is consistently good. I haven't ordered everything on the menu but love the salads. They are extremely fresh and the dressings are homeade.
                                I also always order the fried yucca or plantains. They do them well with good sauces.
                                What's good about Cabana is that you can please the carnivore and someone who wants to eat lighter at the same time.
                                The only drawback is that it can get very crowded and noisy, but then again it is festive.

                                1. re: Caren R
                                  l
                                  lucho Dec 22, 2003 08:38 PM

                                  Metropoplitan Ave, a few blocks west of Continental probably close to 69th Road or Ave. On your right side, going towards Woodhaven Boulevard

                                2. re: Wilson Mui
                                  c
                                  Caren R Dec 22, 2003 08:41 AM

                                  Can someone tell me where Punta Sal is?

                                  Also, I would recommend Cabana. I really enjoy going there. The service is extremely friendly and the food is consistently good. I haven't ordered everything on the menu but love the salads. They are extremely fresh and the dressings are homeade.
                                  I also always order the fried yucca or plantains. They do them well with good sauces.
                                  What's good about Cabana is that you can please the carnivore and someone who wants to eat lighter at the same time.
                                  The only drawback is that it can get very crowded and noisy, but then again it is festive.

                                  1. re: Wilson Mui
                                    m
                                    Maria Dec 24, 2003 10:58 AM

                                    Maybe the restaurant name is representative of their seasoning?

                                    But seriously, where is this place? I'm a pork afficionado so I am always looking for great chicharron.

                                    --Maria

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