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May 6, 2008 11:47 PM

LIC Waterfront...anything fun?

I'm going to leave the island of Manhattan and venture out to Long Island City, and of course, no vacation would be complete without stopping for amazing food. I've been to PS1 before, and it was a ghost town at the time. Any suggestions near 44th drive, or the Waterfront area? I'm after ethnic, casual/cheap, cool food markets, old bakeries, anything that will remind me of old NY, and anything unique to LIC that might be within walking distance, and appropriate for a lonely lost Manhatanite.

Does anything fit the bill, or am I heading to the wrong part of Queens?

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  1. Check out La Vuelta, right on 44th dr near 11th street, it is really great pan-Latin food. Unfortunately there aren't really any real food markets in LIC... yet. Closer to the waterfront and the Vernon/Jackson stop you will find more options.

    1. Old NY you say? Try Brooks Restaurant. It's more than a 100 years old. All things considered though, the gastronomic glories of the 7 train probably don't kick in till you get to at least Sunnyside.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Silverjay

        Agreed, LIC is a wasteland compared to Astoria, Sunnyside/Woodside/Jackson Heights/Corona and Flushing. But there are still a few things to be found. Another old school place is Manducatis on Jackson Ave and 47th ave, great red-sauce classic Italian and Italian-American, but its not casual or cheap.

        Cafe Henri is a nice casual place right off Vernon and 50th ave. Also the Brasil Coffee House just added a takeout/delivery place with cheap Brasilian options. I have yet to try it but it looks interesting. And McReilly's on Vernon and 46th rd is supposed to have excellent burgers and amazing shepherds pie.

        1. re: Astoria Lurker

          Do you know anything about Brooks? I've always wondered about it. And how about Tuk Tuk on Vernon? A friend recommended it, but he's a dubious chow source...

          1. re: Silverjay

            I've never been to Brooks. I don't like the food at Tuk Tuk that much but its a decent neighborhood joint, and they allow you to BYO on Wednesdays which is cool. Their fare is just average Thai/Southeast Asian but could hit the spot if you are too lazy to take the train 15 more minutes to Srip.

            Surprisingly, two newcomers to the neighborhood, Lucky Mojo and BANY are also quite good but only if you order the right thing. BANY has actually really good sushi, both rolls, sashimi and sushi. It's not a destination place but the best sushi in the LIC/Greenpoint area. Avoid the other Thai style dishes though, I haven't been impressed with any except the Indian pancake.

            Lucky Mojo also has decent sushi but I almost never order it. Their BBQ has been steadily improving and they definitely take a genuine interest in the needs of their customers. The owner is often on the message boards talking openly and honestly with people and getting feedback. The star at Mojo I think is the Cajun food, though I am hardly an expert. I loved their catfish cornmeal fritters, their etouffee and their so called "alligator cheesecake".

            1. re: Silverjay

              Beware of Tuk Tuk. Granted the Wed. night BYOB is a plus, but the food the few times we've eaten there (not in a year I must add) was just awful.

              1. re: Silverjay

                From a long time LICer...

                Brooks- nothing special at all. Even if I want a bar/pub I go to Shannon Pot down the street instead.

                Tuk Tuk- no way. They are on my short black lists of restaurants never to go to again.

                La Vuelta (Latin), Bella Via (pizza), and Manducatis (Italian) are excellent. Da Gianni (Italian) is growing on me- nice customer service. Lucky Mojo is an experience given the atmosphere and the Japanese/BBQ fusion, but i'd say the food is solid but not spectacular. I second the alligator cheesecake appetizer recommendation. I tried BANY Asian Fusion that opened a few months ago- the Mango Chicken was very good. Will go back. Tournesol is solid for French.

                Top 3 in LIC in my opinion remain La Vuelta, Bella Via, and Manducatis, but there are lots more options than there used to be. Maybe one day we can get ONE decent Chinese place.

                1. re: BigV

                  are there any good indian places? I've biked around and found very random large banquet halls in LIC (near The Foundry); any casual dining places that are good?

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    5 Star Punjabi is excellent if you don't mind Formica and fluorescent lights.

                    1315 43rd Ave
                    Long Island City, NY 11109
                    (718) 784-7444

                    1. re: fat_hot

                      "Excellent?" It's slightly better than a decent takeout joint.


                2. re: Astoria Lurker

                  I'd add Tournesol (right at the Vernon-Jackson stop) as long as we're straying from the "Old New York" vibe. Good brunches as well as dinners.

                  One place with something of an "Old New York" feel might be Waterfront Crab House on Borden. I went there straight from the plane a couple of weeks ago when my daughter and I were too tired to go any further or put on a Tournesol face. . It's an Italian surf 'n' turf place with autographed B&W photos of boxers and other (mostly Italian) celebrities on the wall. We didn't have expectations, but the clam chowder was tasty, the Maryland crab cakes surprisingly good, and the fries done right by me.

                  1. re: Xiao Yang

                    I've been thinking about the Waterfront Crab House, but hesitated to post it on this thread. Tried it only once... our verdict was the food wasn't very good, but it has a really great "old New York" atmosphere that I enjoyed. I think it's worth trying, if only for the atmosphere.

              2. there is a branch of Ihawan (the filipino bbq restaurant in woodside) that just opened on vernon blvd: haven't been and supposedly it also has a sushi bar along with filipino food but I love me some Ihawan so I hope they have the same spirit.

                5 Replies
                1. re: bigjeff

                  Wow, sushi at a Filipino restaurant. That's insane in the membrane.

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    I don't think its open yet, and it's not quite in Vernon, rather just off it on 50th. I do agree that it is very strange to add a sushi bar. I can only guess that a bunch of restaurateurs did market research in LIC about 1 year ago, noticed that everyone was asking for a good sushi place and then all decided to open places. What else can explain Lucky Mojo, BANY, Ihawan, and the coming soon place in East Coast 1.

                    Also, I love Tournesol but didn't mention it because it's not especially cheap or casual. I think its the best restaurant in LIC and the best French restaurant in Queens.

                    I went to the Waterfront Crab House once but didn't especially like it. I had some really tired rubbery lobster and overcooked clams and mussels.

                    1. re: Astoria Lurker

                      "Also, I love Tournesol but didn't mention it because it's not especially cheap or casual. I think its the best restaurant in LIC and the best French restaurant in Queens."

                      I'll second that. Only problem I have is the nearness of your neighbors.

                      1. re: Astoria Lurker

                        It will be interesting to see how this neighborhood develops as a potential chow destination once all those apartment buildings going up come online.

                        1. re: Astoria Lurker

                          FYI, ihawan is still under renovations.

                      2. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! Much appreciated, and I look forward to trying some of them.

                        1. right around 44th drive or way up on vernon there's the Foundry which is an event space but attached to it, I believe are two restaurants, one was japanese and one was indian or thai maybe? very strange; anyone have info on these?