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Aug 31, 2010 04:18 PM

Steinway Roll Call

I've been in Astoria for about 5 years, explored much of the Queens ethnic food scene during that time, but that stretch of Steinway south of Astoria Blvd. (around 25th Ave) is the last frontier. I have read drips and drabs about a few Egyptian and Moroccan places, but I really want a full-scale virtual tour. I find that area a bit daunting and forbidding. Can anyone point me in the direction of helpful threads on this board, or links to other pages, or do you have personal recommendations for any of the myriad Middle Eastern places?

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  1. I can't say I eat out much on the upper stretch of Steinway because I like a tipple with my dinner and a lot of these places have strict no alcohol policies, and I don't smoke hookah. I find the turnover on some of these spaces to be rather high, but the worthwhile ones aren't too hard to find discussed on here.

    Starting from the top, actually, around the corner from the top, there's the San Antonio Bakery which has Chilean hot dogs, sandwiches, and other baked goods that a chilean miner would probably kill for.

    Rounding on to Steinway there's Duzan, which has amazing food undermined by it's lime green fast food interior. This place might have my favorite hummuses (hummusi?) in the world, topped with tahini, shawarma, lamb and pine nuts, or foul. Cheap, and the guys are nice if a little keystone cops. Love their mango pickle sauce here. On Seamless too.

    Next down is probably Sabry's, which is a great egyptian seafood shack. I like to get the whole branzino baked in salt and herbs, and a delicious mix seafood spicy tagine. I really think if this food were served at a place in Manhattan they'd charge 4 times as much. Denial ain't just a rivier in Egypt, but their alcohol policy. I still keep coming back, since it's so great.

    Most people know that Little Morocco a bit further down is a great casual stop off for a merguez or a falafel sandwich. I like to grab a mint tea here.

    Kebab Cafe is the focal point of culinary controversy for the street. No real menu, a discussion about what you want, Egyptian garage sale decor. The one time I ate there I personally loved both Ali and the food (and Bourdain agrees for what it's worth). I still think about the fava bean falafel and lamb cheek with egg dish I had there frequently.

    There's another Moroccan sandwich place with a yellow awning a little further down a few cabbies have talked up to me. One guy got really excitied telling me about their heart brochettes. I'll have to check it out.

    None of the hookah places really jump out at me, but it seems like Jerusalem Nights gets some business, if you're interested in that type of thing. There's also no shortage of bakery/baklava shops, but you'd have to talk to someone with a sweet tooth to get suggestions.

    I'd love to know if anyone has ever gone to the XOXO bikini/sports bar on the block, since it looks like one of the seediest bars I've ever seen from the exterior.

    There's an Afghan place with out of place tiles, Afghan Kebab House perhaps? something generic like that. I've ordered in and enjoyed it. I think it might be a mini-chain.

    Getting down to around 30th ave there starts to be a lot more fast food and latin flavor. There's a place that sells pretty gross gyro pizza, but I hope one would sojourn on to Rizzo's which is a great, little, clean place for a square slice.

    At 31st ave it's hard not to stop for one of the souvlaki sticks on the SW corner by the baby GAP. One of the few places that offers lamb kebabs. The constant loiterers undeterred by the factory-like smoke billow testify to the relative quality.

    Around Broadway you start getting into my preferred part of Steinway, which is really a little Colombia. There's three Colombian restaurants near the intersection, Pollos De Mario, Basuerero, and Fonda Antioquna. For my money I go to Basuerero since it's the most fun, and the food is still good. Mixed drinks are all booze and sugar. It's decorated like garbage dump, if dumps had large breasted mannequins. There are constant birthday parties where they dimm the lights, light sparklers, and ring this really loud bell and sing. So yeah, it's loud. If you're uptight then don't go there.

    That intersection also has a great slice on Broadway at Polito's. I've heard murmers that the Irish bar there might have okay British pub food, but I've not had the pleasure. Have fun out there.

    Kabab Cafe
    25-12 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    Rizzo's Fine Pizza
    30-13 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    San Antonio Bakery 2
    36-20 Astoria Blvd, Queens, NY 11103

    Pollos a la Brasa Mario
    40-19 Broadway, Queens, NY 11103

    El Basurero
    32-17 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    La Fonda Antioquena
    32-25 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    Little Morocco
    24-39 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    Polito's Pizza
    38-12 Broadway, Queens, NY 11103

    Jerusalem Nights
    25-42 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    24-11 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    24-25 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mr Porkchop

      This is a wonderful survey of the area. I lived in Astoria years ago and glad to see it still retains much of what I loved about the neighborhood.

      1. re: Mr Porkchop

        great round-up, thank you for taking the time. Will get to work on exploring that area.

        1. re: Mr Porkchop

          Excellent roundup by Mr. Porkchop. One or two other notes:

          - Across Steinway from Little Morocco, maybe a block south, there is the famous/infamous Ali's -- a tiny Egyptian restaurant owned and manned by Ali, a very expressive guy who has become a mini-celebrity in the area. Ali basically serves you what he thinks you might like, and charges you handsomely for the privilege. Ali has MANY fans among foodies, and also many detractors. He's been written up all over the place. Personally, I have never been, but I do know a few people who think it's the best dining adventure in the city. Try it if you dare.

          - A block off Steinway, at 30th Ave and 42nd street, are two Bosnian places diagonally across form each other - Stari Most and Ukus. Both great for grilled meats, balkan sausages, and the gigantic hamburger-like pljeskavica. See article:

          42-08 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103

          Little Morocco
          24-39 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

          1. re: Anicca

            Ali is the guy at Kebab Cafe which is mentioned in my original post. However, I did neglect to mention Mombar, his brother's place down the street with the giant Egyptian eye on the front wall as Steve R mentions below. Or are directions reversed when we're speaking of Egypt? Anyway, I think the expensiveness of Kebab Cafe is a little overblown myself. I've paid more for worse.

            Kabab Cafe
            25-12 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

            25-22 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

          2. re: Mr Porkchop

            Very nice round up Mr. P'chop. Obviously, I'm one of Ali's fans since the lamb cheek w/egg dish is my avatar on C'hound. You missed listing his brother's place 5-10 doors down. It's the one with all the mosaics "Mombar". Totally different menu from Ali (more traditionally Cairo style) in a larger room. Mustaffa is an excellent chef and its another gem. "Garage sale decor".... cute.