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Sep 3, 2009 10:22 PM

Sweet Afton

At 30-09 34th Street, in Astoria. My sister and I went there. I ordered the house beer, which was by Kelso, but not the one on the menu. This beer was something light and wheaty, definitely lacking the maltiness I love about Belgian-style beer. My sister doesn't like the taste of booze, and she ordered the sweet tea, which she loved (the ginger lightly hid the booziness without being overwhelming). We also got the fried pickles to start. I'm not normally a fried pickle fan, but these were quite good, with just the right amount of pickle flavor and crunch and not too much or too little breading. She ordered the grilled cheese with NY aged cheddar and bacon, and I got the Mac & Cheese. The grilled cheese I thought was slightly above average, nothing to sing about, but the macaroni was delicious. Served bubbling hot in a cast iron skillet, every bite was delectable. The cheese combination they selected was the perfect blend of textures and tastes, from the soft, gooey gruyere to the chewy melted cheddar.

To top it off, the decor was fabulous. the odd booths and dim lighting juxtaposed with the renovated wood and exposed brick and ceilings, combined with minimalist candle displays and an open kitchen. There was also a patio which was closed when we came. Go early to avoid the crowd.

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  1. Also checked this place out the other day. I would describe Sweet Afton more as a bar with food than a restaurant, but the food was pretty good. My complaint is that the menu is pretty limited and the portions are small. The drinks tend to be more expensive than the food so it seems like cocktails are their focus.

    Fried pickles were good, but I found the breading to be too doughy and would have liked more thinly sliced pickles. La Frieda burger was good, nothing to rave about. Mac and cheese (added bacon) was very good, but more of an appetizer portion than a meal. I think their real strengths are in the cocktails, which is their focus. Tried the spicy cherry margarita and the Millers Martini (with elderflower, lemon, cucumber, and strawberry), both of which were delicious. Total salt overload between the food and drinks, however, woke up in the middle of the night totally dehydrated.

    7 Replies
    1. re: queenseats

      Your assessment is pretty spot on. The menu is tiny, burger, mac & cheese, grilled cheese, sausage roll, house salad, fried pickles, french fries, that's it I think. I didn't have the burger but a friend did and it appeared as if the patty was pre-formed. Griled cheese was fine, fried pickles were okay but I thought the breading was excessive.

      Cocktails are slightly better then average but nothing out of the world, reasonably priced and an upgrade to anything else in the neighborhood.

      1. re: KTinNYC

        I like their smaller, more focused menu - it allows them to do a few things well; extensive pub menus can easily lead to pedestrian food. I like the pickles very much - for me, it's a good balance of breading and pickle - if the pickles were thinner there'd be too much breading. I also love the spicy/smoky mayo they serve with them.

        Love the spicy cherry cocktail as well. I liked the Kelso wheat but wasn't expecting it to be like the Belgian wheat beers I've had, and I found it tasty and refreshing.

        I want to try the grilled cheese, as I love grilled cheese sandwiches! I think the bacon would be a great addition to the mac & cheese, too. I know it was for the burger.

        1. re: megc

          Focused is one thing but 4 mains, only 2 that are cooked on order is tiny. The food is an after-thought. For such a small menu everything should be spectacular and it's just not. It's a cute place and like a said an upgrade to what was in the neighborhood before but Sweet Afton is really all about the drinks.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            Ah, ok, I finally got something here after reading your using "mains" - I think of this place as a great bar with good food, not a straight up restaurant. I think we are coming from two different places in this regard.

            Can you clarify what you mean by "an upgrade to anything else in the neighborhood", please? 30th Ave is a fabulous food street and I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying exactly. Thanks.

            1. re: megc

              As far as a bar Sweet Afton is an upgrade to anything in the neighborhood.

              1. re: megc

                It is absolutely an upgrade. The burger is far better than any burger around including the new Bare Burger down the street and 30th ave is not so fabulous unless you're into the Euro vibe joints. If you can't tell the difference between a Pat LaFreida Burger and ground chuck then just stick to Pinocchio Palace.

                1. re: sonicboom

                  30th Ave, while often known for the Euro cafes, is much more than that. There's solid Thai (Thai Pavilion) and Greek food (Akti) on the street, the best fishmonger (Marino's) and butcher (International Meats) in the neighborhood, not to mention a great salumeria (Sorrisso's) and bakeries (Frank's, Gian Piero). I hear there is excellent gelato to be found, too (Terrizi). I love the falafel (Pita Hot), the tamales (Original Mexican Food), and the fresh fast food style burgers and shakes (Petey's). You can even find a good selection of vegetarian food (Sai's). If you want to talk Bare Burger, that's 31st Ave, and if you're going to include 31st Ave you gotta include great panini (Il Bambino), bureks (Djerdan), and tea (Himalayan Tea House).

                  I maintain that 30th Ave is more than the Euro Cafes. Great food all around!

      2. I really enjoyed my one trip to Sweet Afton. I worked through a spicy cherry margarita, and several of the drafts (all Brooklyn-based), and thought the cocktail-and-beer-curator did a nice job here. We enjoyed our food (burgers, pickles, mac-and-cheese) but I would've loved *one* menu item that would cut through the heaviness of everything else on the menu. Some sort of salad or raw-ish vegetable would've been fantastic. That said, I'll be back.