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Sep 15, 2008 10:52 AM

Boite a cafe in Astoria . . . anyone else been?

So I read about this place on another message board and we decided to give it a shot. Wanted to post our experience. For now they are BYOB but they expect a liquor license in "about three weeks".
I never like restaurants that are blue. I have no idea why. But we had a '97 Burgunday that we were going to drink come hell or high water and we didn't want to walk back home or drag it to another restaurant and risk forgetting it.
The food was really good. The menu was a bit confusing but we ended up going with the 3-course fixed menu for 20 bucks. Started with an amuse of whitefish and salmon roe. I had cream of vegetable soup, followed by grilled chicken palliard. The brown sauce with the chicken was really nice, if a bit undersalted. It was served with carrots and over mashed potatoes. My SO had a salad (mixed greens, walnuts, serrano ham, apples, parm etc...) followed by red snapper. I think the snapper was poached in olive oil, and it was served over quinoa. Our desserts were crepes and chocolate flan. Both very good. I forget what the other options were for the fixed menu. Off of the fixed menu I think all of the mains were between 12-16 bucks.
The chef came out and spoke with us and really listened to the feedback (chicken dish portion was way too big, particularly when looked at in proportion to the fish dish). The partner is from Compass and there was over 40 years of French cooking experience in kitchen, we were told. We also got breakfast pastries complimentary on our way out.

Service was only OK but I am willing to give every place the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this when they are new. I did notice, however, that when we came in the chef was on the side at the bar with two of the servers, describing a dish (couldn't see it) and having them taste it. So I feel like that kind of attention to servers can only mean future improvements in service and knowledge of their employees. All in all, it was a pretty good experience and we would go back. Hopefully with the liquor license will be good/affordable French but the glass. I'll let you know..

Anyone else been there?

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  1. Where is it. I'd like to try it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Stuartmc910

      Sorry - 30th Ave. It's just past Steinway. (40th Street?).

    2. I went here for dinner after seeing it on another blog.

      The food was decent. I had the duck gnocchi, pretty good but heavy on the purees.

      The service was awful. Our waiter was literally a high school student. Throwing plates on the table. Dropping silverware instead of placing it down. When our deserts came, I was given the wrong thing and the kid was like was like, "no thats what you ordered." and then he quickly said "oh we were out of what you wanted." If they were truly out of what I wanted, why wasn't I asked if I wanted to cancel or given the option of a substitution.

      I'm not one to complain about service, I eat in chinatown and koreantown pretty often and I've never experienced service like this.

      1. Any other word? I read that the chef and GM left... not a good sign. Would be curious to hear more about people's experiences. But not willing to be in the guinea pig myself, given the seemingly high price point for Astoria in a sort of odd/cheesy looking space.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jdream

          I ate here the other day, by myself, and I liked it. I got a lamb burger with swiss cheese and some coffee. All was very comforting on a snowy, stressful afternoon. This place is pretty good and different for the neighborhood, but it doesn't get a lot of business. I walked past last night (Friday) and there wasn't a single customer to be seen. My food however was very fresh. If anyone's looking to try it, I recommend going soon. The brunch options are much cheaper than the dinner options and, to me, more appetizing.