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Mar 4, 2006 05:49 AM

Disappointing 718

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After reading some good notices about Restaurant 718 in Astoria on Chowhound and Zagat, we tried it last night and were very disappointed. We got there at 7 and,although the place was empty, were seated in a back table near the kitchen and bathroom. When we asked, we were moved to another back table, but one that was better located. Matters did not improve after that. Our apps, thin-crust pizza (good), and portabello salad (OK, and small) arrived seconds after our drinks.As these plates were removed, the waitress was there to place our mains down on the table--a small piece of fish that may have swimmed near a striped bass, but that certainly was not striped bass, and a small, dry chicken breast, both served with tasteless mashed potatoes, and a little spinach. Side order of wild mushrooms was delicious, but very small. While the dessert menu sounded good, we were soured on the place, and left 45 minutes after we arrived, 100 bucks poorer. I haven't been to McDonald's lately, but if I remember, eating there would have taken about that much time. The poor pacing, small portions,and pricing (every main was about 2-3 dollars too much for Astoria) left us leaving, thinking, why would anyone go here?

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  1. Thanks for saving me a trip. I will never go.

    1. In all due respect, that is ridiculous to not patronize a restaurant you've never even been to simply because some random poster on Chowhound didn't like the place. My wife and went to 718 last week out of the blue and we fell in love with it. The food, service, and atmosphere were excellent, especially for an outer borough eatery. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but on par with similar places in Manhattan. I'd give 718 a shot if I were you. There's no accounting for people's tastes so it' best to find out for yourself.

      1. I've eaten at 718 about five times now and I'm ok with it--it is a bit pricey for the neighborhood and the service has been mixed. The food's always been reasonably good, though maybe a bit clever for the kitchen talent. I think my knock on it is ultimately the same as my knock on two Astoria sushi places recently mentioned (Watawa and JJ's)--they're actually fine for locals in the mood, but there's just so much better of their type in Manhattan that it doesn't seem to me that they really qualify as tout-worthy in the neverending search for deliciousness. Tournesol in Long Island City? Not much cheaper than 718 but there's many things about that place that make it competitive with the best little bistros in its price range in the city. What 718 is doing, I think it's generally better than the meal Fran describes unfortunately having there, but if you're coming in from another neighborhood, it shouldn't be on the list of the top 10 or 15 places in Astoria to eat it--which is what makes the Michelin mention they got earlier this year so wrongheaded.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

          yeah i was surprised about that, we tried 718 once and were happy enough but would only go back if we lived in Astoria and felt a need to go to a fancy-ish place without traveling.

        2. Ya I'd agree - if you don't want to do Greek or Italian in Astoria, 718 is a decent option - I've had some dissapointing dishes and some excellent dishes, the decor is very nice for the area and I haven't had a problem with the service yet. The pizzettes, or whatever they call them, are very good, and they have decent wine selections. However there's at least a hundred places that do it as well or better in Manhattan...

          1. My wife and I met a friend there for bruch a few months back and really liked it. The "pizzas" are delicious and the wine selection is very good. Don't expect too much. In my mind it's a solid alternative to all the wonderful Greek restaurants in the neighborhood. Give it another shot -- for brunch or for a lo-fi dinner. The key in my humble opinion is to reset your expectations and think of it as just a nice little alternative....