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El Shater sunnyside - moving to Astoria

2slices Apr 15, 2011 07:11 AM

Officially moving, shelves are mostly empty. They're gonna be on 28th ave near Astoria blvd. Sucks for me, I go for lunch twice a week. They told me it might happen a couple weeks ago, now it's official. Where am I gonna get amazing babaganoush sandwiches for lunch? Anything else nearby? Love mangal but not for that. Those lunches are the only thing keeping me from getting fat(ter).

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El Shater
43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

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  1. Up With Olives RE: 2slices Apr 15, 2011 11:30 AM

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is such sad news.

    1. d
      DrBey2003 RE: 2slices Apr 16, 2011 04:44 PM

      Just found out Bliss Bistro closed as well. What can you do :-(

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      Bliss
      45-20 Skillman Ave, Queens, NY 11104

      1. a
        Anicca RE: 2slices Apr 28, 2011 02:28 PM

        Hehehe. In your FACE, Sunnyside! Astoria RULES!!!

        I am very excited. Now if we could just get one or two of your Romanian places ....

        14 Replies
        1. re: Anicca
          d
          donovt RE: Anicca May 2, 2011 09:40 AM

          I just read that one of the brothers who own el-shater is opening a new Lebanese store/restaurant in the current location.

          Regarding romanian places, Romanian garden is moving to 43rd ave.

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          Romanian Garden
          46-04 Skillman Ave, Queens, NY 11104

          1. re: donovt
            m
            MarcInSunnysideGardens RE: donovt May 2, 2011 05:36 PM

            http://sunnysidepost.com/2011/05/02/e...

            1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
              d
              donovt RE: MarcInSunnysideGardens May 2, 2011 06:25 PM

              Thanks, forgot to add the link.

            2. re: donovt
              p
              pgunn RE: donovt Jun 28, 2011 11:50 AM

              i was walking by the old El Shater spot on Saturday and one of the brothers was standing outside... i asked him when he was reopening and he said hopefully by the end of this week...

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              Habibi
              43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

              1. re: pgunn
                biondanonima RE: pgunn Jun 29, 2011 07:08 PM

                Terrific news - I can't wait!

                1. re: biondanonima
                  p
                  pgunn RE: biondanonima Aug 10, 2011 04:53 PM

                  went in there today, pretty impressed... the new store is very bright, clean, and airy (not words I would have used to describe El Shater)... i had a beef schwarma and it was basically the exact same as it was at El Shater (a good thing) and the price was the exact same, too... 3.50... i was sorta amazed as i figured after the slick renovations, the prices would be boosted, too... the grocery section is smaller, but the hot food menu is more extensive (i don't recall El Shater having rotisserie chicken...) anyways, i could not be happier, as i was prepared for the worst...

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                  Habibi
                  43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                   
                  1. re: pgunn
                    biondanonima RE: pgunn Aug 30, 2011 12:43 PM

                    We went in this weekend - much nicer space now that they've cleaned up and modernized. Hot food bar looks terrific. We had a delicious kibbe and will definitely be back. The grocery selection, as you noted, is smaller, but I think everything I need is still there. I haven't been to Souk El-Shater but I think between Habibi, Souk and the new Parrot Coffee on 46th and QB, I'll be set.

                    ETA: the workers at Habibi were MUCH friendlier than anyone at El Shater ever was!

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                    Habibi
                    43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                    Parrot Coffee
                    45-15 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                    Souk El-Shater
                    43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                    1. re: biondanonima
                      2slices RE: biondanonima Sep 9, 2011 08:13 AM

                      Chicken Shwarma at Habibi is truly fantastic and unique. Havent had the same at the new Shater but it was really something else. The beef was good, but the chicken was a revelation.

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                      Habibi
                      43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                      1. re: 2slices
                        d
                        donovt RE: 2slices Sep 9, 2011 11:19 AM

                        I felt it was the other way around. Thought the chicken was very good, but loved the beef. I was definitely impressed that they were flavored completely differently. I was expecting the same seasonings, just different meat.

                        1. re: donovt
                          h
                          Humbucker RE: donovt Sep 9, 2011 07:55 PM

                          I have had the beef at both Habibi and the new El Shater and both were quite gristly and tough. Is this normal? I love their other sandwiches, but the beef was a dud for me.

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                          Habibi
                          43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                          1. re: Humbucker
                            d
                            donovt RE: Humbucker Sep 10, 2011 06:18 PM

                            I haven't tried the new El Shater yet, but I didn't find the beef at Habibi to be gristley at all.

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                            Habibi
                            43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                            1. re: donovt
                              el jefe RE: donovt Sep 11, 2011 05:00 PM

                              I was at Habibi for lunch today. Had the Beef Shwarma based on this thread. There was no gristle today. Great value at $3.50

                              1. re: el jefe
                                2slices RE: el jefe Sep 22, 2011 09:35 AM

                                I had the beef just once and it was tough, but the flavor was still great and unique. Will try it again.

                                I now must add that the one time I had the falafel it was truly fantastic. A new high. There's a bit of clove in there that gives it a much deeper flavor than the usual fried balls you're used to elsewhere. I also found the inside was quite moist compared to most. Even other places that fry to order.

                                They also use a green hot sauce which is nice and a bit different flavor. Every sandwich I get there I order with tabouleh which I would rec anyone to try.

                                I'm going 2 - 3 times a week now. Had a beef stew that was good. Nice tender meat, not that chewy stew meat. Light, lots of peas and carrots in a tomato broth. Mostly I order hummus or baba wraps as the goal in my middle eastern diet is to keep it healthy but when I have strayed it's been super great.

                        2. re: 2slices
                          d
                          donovt RE: 2slices Oct 1, 2011 11:29 AM

                          Just finished my shwarma. I got beef, my wife had the chicken. I think I've changed my mind. The chicken was definitely better today.

            3. m
              megc RE: 2slices Jun 28, 2011 07:30 PM

              Does anyone have an updated location in Astoria for El Shater? 28th Ave and Astoria Blvd are parallel to each other. Maybe 28th Street instead?

              18 Replies
              1. re: megc
                v
                versicle RE: megc Jun 30, 2011 05:53 AM

                I don't see any space around 28th Street and Astoria Blvd. that could possibly be a restaurant preparing to open.

                1. re: versicle
                  m
                  megc RE: versicle Jun 30, 2011 05:58 AM

                  Maybe 28th Ave is correct and the Astoria Blvd part is wrong. Very curious to know where El Shater is going to open.

                  1. re: megc
                    squid kun RE: megc Jun 30, 2011 11:48 AM

                    http://sunnysidepost.com/2011/05/02/e...

                    Check out the last couple of comments on this Sunnyside Post story about El Shater/Habibi. Someone posting as "close friend to the family" says the new Souk El Shater will open not in Astoria but at 43-03 Queens Blvd. (next to Yum Yum).

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                    Souk El-Shater
                    43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                    1. re: squid kun
                      x
                      xmoex123 RE: squid kun Aug 5, 2011 12:12 AM

                      confirmation: the older brother from the old El-Shater will be opening a store on 43-03 Queens Blvd called Souk El-Shater

                      1. re: squid kun
                        squid kun RE: squid kun Aug 25, 2011 03:52 PM

                        Opened last weekend, according to a Yelper. Anyone check it out?

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                        Souk El-Shater
                        43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                        1. re: squid kun
                          p
                          pgunn RE: squid kun Aug 25, 2011 04:15 PM

                          yes, got a schwarma on sunday... very good, and huge for the price (3.50, same as habibi)... the grocery section isn't as big as habibi's, but the food section is about the same, maybe more deserts at habibi... i'll probably end up going here more often than habibi, just b/c the schwarma is almost exactly the same, but it's a few blocks closer to my apt... curious to try the rest of their food... this whole splitting off of El Shater is great from my perspective, both places have great food...

                          1. re: pgunn
                            2slices RE: pgunn Aug 30, 2011 10:50 AM

                            Nice! Going for lunch in 3.. 2... 1

                            1. re: 2slices
                              2slices RE: 2slices Aug 30, 2011 11:37 AM

                              the eldest brother was there, always my favorite of the bunch. Babba was great as always as were the grape leaves. The vegetables in my babba wrap seemed fresher too, tho it is tomato season after all.

                              Anyway so glad theyre back. Scored myself a free desert as well. Looked like an empanada, crunchy/chewy drenched in honey with nuts inside that rose water flavor. Quite good.

                              Didn't know anything about this Habibi thing. When I asked the oldest brother he just said someone had taken it over and it was being renovated. As an old regular maybe he thought I knew or is there a family beef brewing?

                              1. re: 2slices
                                h
                                Huck RE: 2slices Sep 25, 2011 03:39 PM

                                Went into Souk el-Shater yesterday to try it, I was thinking we didn't really need another Middle-Eastern schwarma joint on QB since Turkish Grill & Mangal are great already, Mangal's schwarma/doner on "home" bread is one of the terrific reasons to live & eat here.

                                Well, mea culpa.... perhaps it's the Lebanese style to use beef not lamb? (All 3 of these places use the real deal, not the grey mystery meat product as so many other places do.) I wouldn't describe my beef as tough either, it was pretty good but the edges were definitely charred, not a bad thing ime. And rather than the white sauce - tomato- onion dressings of the Turkish places this had nice fresh tahini with pickled crisp veggies that really added a lot of flavor depth & texture to an inexpensive sandwich. A completely different experience to the other places.

                                In addition there was good selection of take out entrees, sides & desserts that all looked good & home-made sitting in the steam table. The fellow next to me was from Turkey & was remarking how it looked like the places "back home" & was sending pics of the offerings from his phone to his girlfriend. I can see this joining the regular rotation of my take out options, they also deliver.

                                I haven't been in Habibi (the old el-Shater store) since the change so I can't compare the two yet.

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                                Mangal
                                46-20 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                                Turkish Grill
                                42-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                                Habibi
                                43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                                Souk El-Shater
                                43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                                1. re: Huck
                                  m
                                  MarcInSunnysideGardens RE: Huck Oct 4, 2011 07:51 AM

                                  Ok, lemme see if I can get this right, as I talked to the Habibi owner about it.
                                  It's two brothers (that's the part I'm unsure of--whether they were brothers or cousins) who used to own El Shater together. They had a rent dispute with the landlord and 1 of the two brothers tried to open in Astoria, the other decided to renovate and stay in the original space (now called Habibi).

                                  The Astoria spot fell through. And so now that bro is back, about a block away from the original, on Queens Boulevard (Souk el Shater).

                                  The original spot, now Habibi: He's spruced it up. There are a few seats in there. He's paying the city for the rights to do outdoor seating, which he is planning on (presumably next Spring). The food: Similar to the old place but... maybe not quite as good? I went once and that was my mild impression.

                                  Souk el Shater: Looks like the same chefs in the back of this much tinier joint. No seating. The food is... as good as the old place. So this is where I keep going back to, for the chicken and spinach pies, the hummus, and especially the lunch specials, usually something braised and melting and perfect.

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                                  Habibi
                                  43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                                  1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
                                    p
                                    punto RE: MarcInSunnysideGardens Oct 20, 2011 08:18 PM

                                    Just wanting to amplify some of the previous posts a little.

                                    I have had lunch at Souk El-Shater the last 2 days and can confirm that

                                    1. The falafel is excellent, costs $3.50 and is wrapped not in pita, but the very tasty flat lavash-like bread that seems to be a Lebanese staple and

                                    2. The guy running it (and also the chef) are from the old place. As soon as I asked him how long they had been open, he said "I remember you" and then he said a few words about the Astoria thing "falling through" or "not working out" and we dropped it..

                                    3. Contrary to one posting above, there is seating - a counter with stools adequate for 3 or 4.

                                    I was pleased that the falafel came served on a china dish, not styfoam. I sampled their excellent "moussaka" which is not at all like the Greek version, but has a lot of chickpeas and no real sauce, but lots of eggplant, onions and peppers all simmered in olive oil. I don't know the names of the other dishes that I had, but one was elephant beans matched with chunks of grilled beef and another was rice with fried onions and similar beef bits. Both were well prepared and tasty, though I have no real scale to measure them on comparatively. They have about 6 dishes in the steam table and some of them were different between yesterday and today, so it looks like it will take a few visits to do a survey.

                                    I think the smaller scale of this place may actually be a plus over the old El-Shater since they always seemed to have to drop whatever they were doing whenever I asked them to prepare me anything or even put some baba ganough in a container. I like the new emphasis on the food service and they seem to be eager to please, at least for now which wasn't always the case at the old establishment.

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                                    Souk El-Shater
                                    43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                                    1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
                                      2slices RE: MarcInSunnysideGardens Nov 14, 2011 05:42 AM

                                      I'm quite friendly with both brothers and from my understanding you've got it right.

                                      Btw main diff between shwarmas at either place is souk shater puts on some kind of super garlic sprea That alone is enough for me to declare win them win in the shawarma department. Also they throw it on a sandwich press for a minute just before wrapping it up.
                                      The falafel at habibi is ridiculous.

                                      1. re: 2slices
                                        h
                                        Humbucker RE: 2slices Nov 14, 2011 11:08 AM

                                        Habibi has the garlic spread, too. Just ask for toum if you don't automatically get it. The biggest difference between Habibi and El Shater is the toasting.

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                                        Habibi
                                        43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                                        1. re: Humbucker
                                          biondanonima RE: Humbucker Nov 21, 2011 10:49 AM

                                          I had a chicken shawarma from Habibi the other night and it was definitely not just the lack of toasting that made it different from Souk El-Shater. The vegetables were different (I don't think there were any crunchy pickled things, just lettuce, tomato and what looked like a green pepper of some type) and they sprinkled the sandwich with fresh herbs. Very tasty, but I think I would give the (slight) advantage to Souk. The kibbe at Habibi are also slightly different from Souk, with more of a cinnamon-nutmeg spicing, and I think less filling (they're a longer, narrower shape).

                                          We also got some hummus and baba ganoush from Habibi and I was less than thrilled with both. The baba was EXTREMELY lemony - I like lemon, but this just overwhelmed after a bite or two. The hummus, in contrast, had very little brightness and was a bit bland - a little runny for my taste too. Will have to try these at Souk as well.

                                          -----
                                          Habibi
                                          43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                                          Souk El-Shater
                                          43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                                          1. re: biondanonima
                                            h
                                            Humbucker RE: biondanonima Nov 21, 2011 04:36 PM

                                            I haven't been to Habibi since El Shater opened, so my memory of the shawarma was a bit vague. One thing Habibi has over Shater is their cauliflower in tahini. It's super rich and a bit fishy tasting (in a good way); maybe it has anchovy in it.

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                                            Habibi
                                            43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                                        2. re: 2slices
                                          b
                                          burton RE: 2slices Nov 21, 2011 11:36 AM

                                          The falafal at Habibi really is...ridiculous. Cold, mushy, bland. Not even close. Literally threw it away. Is it just me/us? Among the worst in memory. Complete waste of time and money (albeit very little of the latter). Didn't try anything else and at this point am not inclined to. Yikes.

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                                          Habibi
                                          43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                                          1. re: burton
                                            2slices RE: burton Nov 21, 2011 07:07 PM

                                            I go around noon and when they're fresh and hot they're fantastic. The farthest thing from bland. Its the 1 thing I prefer at habibi over souk.

                            2. re: squid kun
                              p
                              punto RE: squid kun Nov 14, 2011 07:59 AM

                              Having been to Souk El Shater a half dozen times in the last few weeks, I have noticed that they have a rotating menu of items available on the steam table. There seem to always be a couple of dishes that are vegetable (moussaka, beans, potatoes) and a number that are stews (beef, chicken, etc.) or meat on rice with some additional garnish of onion or other veg. I had some marinated lamb chops on rice last week that were delicious.

                              I am addicted to their falafel sandwich as I mentioned earlier, since it is first rate, dirt cheap and I like to eat vegetarian as a general rule (lamb chops aside on occasion), but I am definitely going to have the schwarma after reading 2slices' account and also judging from what it looks like on the giant grill skewer.

                              Just curious, 2slices. What makes the falafel ridiculous at Habib ridiculous and in what sense? I still haven't made it over there since it replaced El-Shater, mainly due to inertia born of my satisfaction with the Souk.

                      2. m
                        micheal RE: 2slices Oct 8, 2011 09:29 PM

                        Wow!! People here at not exaggerating when they tell you the $3.50 Chicken or Beef Shawarma is delicious and plentiful amount of food and it must must be right at the top for best bang for the buck anywhere in NYC.
                        The POST title perhaps is misleading people? - I'm referring to the reincarnation SOUK EL-SHATER 43-03 QUEENS BLVD.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: micheal
                          biondanonima RE: micheal Nov 3, 2011 09:38 AM

                          Yes, I had a beef shawarma sandwich there the other day and was thrilled - for $3.50, it's the best bang I've gotten for my buck in ages. Full of meat with delicious pickled vegetables and a great sauce that is quite different from other shawarma sauces I've had - my husband thought it tasted mustardy, and I agree, although I don't think there's mustard in it. I really like the half-crisp thin bread, too. We also picked up a half dozen kibbe, which were quite tasty, and the guy working at the counter threw in a delicious cheese/phyllo pastry for free. I'm looking forward to trying the shawarma at Habibi as well - I've only had the kibbe there thus far (which were just as good as Souk El-Shater's).

                          -----
                          Habibi
                          43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                          Souk El-Shater
                          43-03 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                          1. re: biondanonima
                            d
                            DrBey2003 RE: biondanonima Nov 3, 2011 09:47 AM

                            The sauce is garlic whip.

                            1. re: biondanonima
                              b
                              burton RE: biondanonima Nov 15, 2011 01:21 PM

                              Tried the schwarma and frankly we were less than thrilled - we found it quite dry - but maybe our timing was off. We then moved onto some of the steam table items noted in previous posts and...wow. A stew loaded with kale-like greens and tender chicken was exceptional and another with generous servings of okra and beef was very good as well. And agreed on the kibbe - really good. Nice people. What a find. Can't wait to return for more of those daily specials!

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