Some new places--Elmwood heights
Like the name? Maybe I should be a realtor.
Quick report on three recent visits in the extended Elmhurst, Woodside, Jackson Heights area.
a) Sirvino. New Italian steakhouse on Roosevelt Avenue right around the 61st street stop (sorry, but I can't remember the exact location, but think it's at 60th). The concept is a little nebulous, it's not like you're getting a bistecca fiorentina or anything like that. Instead, they offer steak, remarkably retro Italian food (considering they just opened), and big caesar salads and the like. The Italian side of the menu is very Luigi-esque. I had the Sirvino chicken--a saltimbocca variant with prosciutto and mozzarella that wasn't bad. Not as good as Luigi's was, but better than Armondo's offerings in the same direction. However, the wine list, although pretty small, was much better than what Luigi's used to offer. Wife had steak--good cut of meat, but medium rare came out medium. Service seemed like it had a fair number of kinks to work out, but was friendly. Seems like they spent a fair amount of money on the interior, but decor confusion persists (or its hybridity reflects a knowing nod to the history of the neighborhood). For example, the signs for the bathrooms are in that mock-Celtic script from Clannad albums two decades ago. All in all, felt like a generic throwback to some place in the 'burbs circa 1985. I'll give it another shot, but overall, would say it gets a spot on the rotation for when unadventurous relatives visit.
b) New Harbor--Chinese 83-17 Broadway in Elmhurst. Very good. Unfortunately, was not feeling very seafoody, so didn't try any of what I assume are the specialties. Nevertheless, from what we had, gets my vote as the best Chinese within walking distance of Jackson Heights. Salt and pepper pork chops were very solid. Greens with shallots also very good. Sauteed stringbeans with ground pork were excellent. This is one of the dishes we've been pining for ever since we moved to JH, and finally we found a place that does them properly in the 'hood. Oddly enough (considering the name of the restaurant), the one dish I wasn't happy with was the squid with pickled vegetables--squid was cut too big and excessively rubbery and the pickled veggies didn't have enough bite. Banquet table next to us looked like they were having lots of fun with seafood from the tanks, so would like to head back with a bigger party sometime. Portions are absolutely enormous.
c) Mei Wei--Hole in the wall on Broadway in Elmhurst that's a very good deal for the price. Again, can't remember the exact address, but it's just down from Great Wealth (i.e., on the same side of the street as the HSBC and across the street from Elmhurst park). Buffet type place with 4 dishes plus soup or soda for 4.25$. The interesting thing is that the dishes include not just boring standards, but some pretty exotic stuff you wouldn't usually see on a buffet that price--pig's ears, salted duck, etc. Easy way to try a lot of things you might want to go for in smaller doses. The hot and sour soup was terrible, but the dishes were tasty.
Give Sirvino's another try - it's wonderful. Definitely nice to have an establishment like this in the area - great food, wonderful service and the price isn't too high. And a nice place to go and have a glass of wine - a welcome change in a sea of pubs and latin clubs. Sirvino's actually used to be a decades old irish pub - kilmeagan's. The owners kept some of the pieces as mementos - ie, the bathroom signs, the stain glass windows and celtic crosses carved into the cement walls.
The owners come around and welcome guests and have a genuine concern for your experience there. On the first week they opened, I tried it out with a friend - when we noticed the didn't have an antipasto appetizer - the owner, sommelier, and our waiter came out with a plate on the house made especially for us with the sincerest of apologies for leaving it off the menu! I've been back numerous times and the food is great and the steaks even better. The portions are HUGE and make sure to try the eggplant rollatini as an app - wonderful!!
AFAIK, Kilmegan's at least at that location and in that incarnation had not been there for decades. I don't remember what it used to be before, but this whole wood-paneled look was done around 5-6 years ago, before it was just another watering hole I remember they held WWF matches there.
I agree that Sirvino's is worth another shot. My experience was very positive -- food was on the whole quite tasty, and service was good as well.
I had eggplant parmigiana... perhaps eggplant is their strength? Thin-sliced but not breaded or fried, so it actually tasted like eggplant instead of bread crumbs. It came with a plate of linguine, which was not so great. On the overcooked side, and the tomato sauce was not good. No matter, though, there was so much eggplant the pasta didn't matter.