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Changes in the Jackson Heights low 80s

I see that some of you have noticed that health food store expansion on 37th Ave between 83rd and 84th. There are some interesting things, though not cheap. They have some organic produce and lots of juices, frozen foods. Haven't have time to look at it all. Then, on the corner of 37th/84th, across from El Chivito, the Texas Steakhouse & BBQ has just opened in the old Italian place that briefly was El Cisne Ecuadorian. I haven't tried it yet. It's not cheap but reasonable for a steakhouse. The space is kind of pleasant, very open with dark wood tables, lots of windows, a bar. Then, there's a new Uruguaya Bakery opening up next to C-Town near Cafe La Nueva.

Anyone tried any of them?

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  1. the uruguayo bakery is owned by the la nueva folks--the address was on the calendar that they gave out prior to the end of the year.

    1. An older thread anticipating the opening of Texas Grill was revived last week, once the doors opened. However the discussion is short of comments about the actual food. (It's mostly people, like me, griping that it is isn't the place we fantasized it would be.)

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35540...

      So, -has- anyone eaten there, and if so, how was it?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Helen F

        Well, After reading this, I decided to try the Texas Grill on 37th (the official name). I can report that it is a pleasant place with nice comfy chairs and big inviting windows, and plain but pleasant mustard walls and dark wood bar with flat screen TV. The waitress basically spoke English, and later I talked to the female half of the owner couple - she's Colombian, he Mexican from the capitol - and she was extremely nice.

        The food was not impressive on this visit - though I must say that we just had appetizers and dessert because we didn't want a big meat lunch. I was hoping for a good bowl of chili con carne or something, but as of yet they have no real lunch menu. We ordered the chorizo nachos, guacamole, chicken quesadillas and some flan for dessert. The nachos were pretty, the chorizo tasty, but they lacked something. There was mesclun, olives, tomatoes and cucumber and black beans, but little melted cheese. They were OK. The chicken quesadillas were very disappointing a bit of cheese on top and a tiny bit inside with unseasoned shredded chicken breast - bland! She told me they use mozzarella for the cheese. They really needed melted pepper jack and some seasoning for the chicken. The guacamole was served nicely and was the real thing with quality ingredients, but again, it lacked something, maybe a little zing, some garlic. The flan was served very prettily and was OK, but we thought it was made from a mix, not from scratch.

        Overall, it was a disappointing experience. And since 3 apps plus 2 sodas came to over $30, it isn't cheap but not overly pricey, just pricey enough that it'd better be good. I gave the owner some feedback since I'd like them to succeed and be a tasty alternative in my area. She told me that they plan on serving breakfast, omelets and stuff. She says that most of the patrons so far have been Americans and they don't want spice and have loved the steaks. To be fair, I'll have to try the steak or ribs or seafood, but appetizers should get you pepped up for the meal. These certainly didn't. They've got to "kick it up a notch," in my opinion, to compete with El Chivito across the street, which serves great steaks as well as yummy canneloni and ravioli, as well as a mean rice and beans. I think the problem is that these are people who are not necessarily cooking THEIR food; they're cooking what they think Americans want to eat and in the process dumbing it down to blandness. It does have cleanliness and style.

        1. re: JH Jill

          Hmm, sounds like the place lived up to people's (low) expectations. Sorry you had a disappointing experience, but thanks for trying it and reporting back, in the best chowhound tradition. I'm sure I'll give it a try sometime, when I need a steak fix.

          It would be great it they served a good breakfast, and great coffee, and, and....

          1. re: JH Jill

            I'm thinking about going in and asking them if they might do draft beer (don't know about this - may be too late as they've already put the bar in & maybe this isn't easy after the fact?). I would eat at ANY place that was 3 blocks from me and had draft beer. I was very excited seeing the place go in, but the menu bummed me out. Thought it woudl be something different and it doesn't seem to be.

        2. I haven't tried the restaurants, but I have been to the expanded Natural Foods store. I didn't buy a ton of things, because I think the prices are a bit high (though I don't mind paying a bit more than Whole Foods for the convenience), but I was very pleased to see the bulk offerings in the back of the store (beans, oatmeal, spices, etc.). I bought some organic oatmeal ($1/lb) and was happy with it -- I don't know how that price compares, but it seemed reasonable to me. I did buy a few bags of frozen fruit, and was disappointed to find that there was tons of ice among the fruit. It may have been just from starting up, but it seemed as if they had let the packaged defrost and refroze them. For $4.50 a bag, I wasn't impressed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SparklieGirl

            yes--it is sort of expensive, in the great tradition of natural/health food stores, but at the moment nearly everything in the store seems to be roughly 20% off

            as to the ice situation--this was a problem in the stores previous incarnation. i think that you are right about the defrosting and refreezing. while it was the only place around that stocked van's frozen waffles (which my kids love for breakfast). i stopped buying them because they were icy and got soggy in the toaster. pretty nasty--i get 'em when i get to fairway now. my hope is that there will be both better refrigeration and more turnover in the new place, so that we can trust the frozen stuff a bit more.

          2. I haven't been to Texas Grill but neighbors went on Saturday evening for steak dinners and were very pleased. I plan to try it in the near future and will report back.

            1. We tried Texas Grill for lunch last weekend. Mostly I can reiterate what others have already said. Menu is not exciting and expensive for the neighborhood and for what they're offering. Most Tex-Mex plus steaks. We had fajitas and steak salad. Meat was good, if underseasoned. Portion sizes were just ok, especially with price as a consideration. Guac was real, which pleased me, but was on the bland side- it needs significantly more lime plus some red pepper and coarse salt.

              They didn't have the kids menu items available and they didn't have coffee (at all) which I'll chalk up to start up woes. I'll agree that the atmosphere is promising, but what is up with the waitresses' uniforms? Short skirts and over-of-the-shirt-bustiers that somehow manage to be offensive without being even remotely titalating. Bad decision.

              Staff was clueless but friendly. I'll be back but I don't have high hopes.