FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 25, 2018 • BUZZ • THE QUEENS COURIER 59
Photos: Bridget Kenny/BORO
Queen’s Room brings
classic favorites to Astoria
BY SEAN CURRY
Astoria and LIC have had an explosion
of experimental new food over the past
few years. New takes on old cuisines, foreign
ingredients, even entirely new ways
of navigating the restaurant space. It can
be thrilling for a food writer like me, but
lord, it can be exhausting.
Whatever happened to good food you
know and love prepared well and served
with care? What happened to the reliable
weeknight go-to or the neighborhood
Antonia Joannides has been asking
herself the same thing, and with Queen’s
Room, she thinks she’s delivered it.
Set in the former 60 Beans storefront,
Joannides is trying to bring that comfortable,
reliable, familiar feel to Ditmars
amidst an explosion of the fl amboyant
and outlandish. She’s paying homage
to the “tame beast” she says Astoria
is — raw, subtle power. Aft er a decade
in the restaurant game, she wanted to
come back to her family’s roots and create
something approachable, yet refi ned.
And with an old colleague of hers, Chef
Mike DeVito, she’s really pulling it off .
Th e fi rst dish out, halloumi fries, was
meant to whet my appetite but came
dangerously close to sating it entirely.
While the name might evoke visions of
fried potatoes covered in melted halloumi
cheese, the reality was far tastier: halloumi
cheese cut into strips, deep fried
and slathered with tzatziki and mint. Th e
tzatziki was delicious, and the hardy, fi lling,
greasy fries will cure many a hangover.
Just be sure to get them for the
table, lest you max out your calories for
the day with the appetizer.
Next up was a bowl of mussels served
in a white wine, onion, garlic and lemon
juice broth with homemade bread on the
side (for dipping, of course). While the
mussels were a pretty traditional take on
the shellfi sh, don’t let that diminish your
expectations. While classic, these were
excellent. And the bread dipped in broth,
obviously the best part of any mussels
dish, was amazing.
My favorite dish of the night followed,
a big, beefy Bolognese that I’m
still dreaming about. Long, buttery noodles
piled high atop a wonderfully savory
meat sauce with ricotta and feta cheese,
and seasoned with rosemary, garlic,
onions and black pepper. I had to stop
eating it in order to leave room for the
dishes to follow, and believe me, it was
hard. You’ll love this if you like pasta.
Th e cheeseburger with swiss and the
Brussels sprouts were out next. Th e
cheeseburger was tender and juicy and
the bun held just enough to keep the
burger contained, but was pleasantly soft
nonetheless, a diffi cult balance to strike.
Th e barbecue sauce blew me away, and
when I asked what was in it, the chef
just shouted, “lots of bourbon” from the
kitchen. Works for me.
And these Brussels sprouts. Does
any food make a turnaround between
one’s childhood and adulthood the way
Brussels sprouts do? Th ey were crunchy,
savory and blanketed in a maple mustard
that blew my mind.
I rounded out my meal with a couple
original cocktails from Queen’s Room:
Her Majesty, a tea-infused tequila sour,
and Long Live Th e Queen, a spicy gin
cocktail with Ancho Reyes, dill, lime and
Queen’s Room is looking to do more
of what they’re already doing: serve good
food to great people in a familiar neighborhood.
Th eir winter menu is out now,
but keep an eye out for their summer
menu (featuring a Greek classic, halloumi
and watermelon) as the months
warm up. And be sure to catch their
90-minute weekend bottomless brunch
special for $20, packed with waffl es, benedicts,
omelettes, stuff ed French toast
It’s good, it’s reliable and it’s cheap.
What more do you want out of Queens?
A Battle in Which
In 2016, Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis were both
invited to perform at the Hong Kong Music Festival,
but with only one available slot remaining on the
concert schedule. Rather than have one of them
relinquish the opportunity, the festival encouraged
them to perform together. Less than pleased with
the suggestion and determined to outperform
each other, Kern and Cibis opted to carry out the
challenge on stage, and let the audience decide in
what has become an international sensation and a
talent competition like no other.
With five rounds of high-intensity piano playing,
Cibis and Kern bring their audience along for a fastpaced,
interactive and no-holds-barred Piano Battle
as they tickle the ivories in the ultimate showcase
of their talents. This last-man-standing performance
will appeal to all audiences – those with an ear for
the classics, and those with a heart for the energy.
Introducing Piano Battle as a new classical format
has intrigued even the most discerning of listeners,
as it requires a dedicated ear to vote on the ultimate
outcome. The audience votes on the final winner
and along the way, guides the direction of the
performances to provide a spontaneous, all-original
concert each and every time.
Piano Battle comes to Kupferberg Center for the Arts
February 3, 2018, 8pm
Tickets: Kupferbergcenter.org or Ticketmaster.com