Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Luna de Juarez - Not Your Typical South of the Border

Luna de Juarez - 25-98 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11103
R/V/G Train to Steinway Street

I decided to try this place after reading a review of it on Joey in Astoria--one of my favorite local blogs. And while it didn't disappoint, it wasn't overly impressive either. I'd come here again but it wouldn't be my first choice for Mexican in Astoria.

The look and feel of Luna is pretty nice and you could tell that its owners strived to make it trendy. However, just like Table 30, I think it tries too hard--the sleek lighting at the bar especially could be seen in any cafe on 30th Avenue.

The seating is spacious and it's fun to sit towards the back, where the tables have more of a booth feel. My only complaint about the tables is their odd proportion to the chairs--I felt that our table was too high, making me reach far for my food.

My expectations were high in this department after reading Joey's fantastic review. But I was strangely underwhelmed in some areas. The chips and salsa were great--especially the salsa which was lime-green in color with a slight throat-tickling kick. Like Joey, we also ordered the Aguacate--fried, cheesy avocado stuffed with shrimp. And although it sounded amazing and exotic, I would never order it again. The sauce that it rested on was watery and bland, and the avocado also lacked proper seasoning. I thought that the price, $9.95 was too steep for this underwhelming dish.

For my main course, I ordered a chicken and beef enchilada combo with tomatillo sauce. Now this, I really liked! The portion was enormous and the sides of maduros and refried beans were stupendous. The maduros in particular impressed me--I loved their soft texture and their salty-sweet taste. Kimberly also liked her enchilada combo but said she wasn't crazy about the red sauce they floated in.

Service and Cost:
The service was fine but we kept getting different waitstaff, which was confusing. Our first waitress seemed too green, leaving our table to check back on basically every food question that we had. The next waiter was more knowledgeable but seemed too cocky and flirtatious--both Kimberly and I were NOT in the mood for flirting.

The prices at Luna are moderate but in my opinion, should be cheaper. A full dinner will cost you about $30 to $35, including a drink, appetizer and an entree.


  1. Where else would you recommend for Mexican in Astoria? Thanks!

  2. Hi Foodista--I think this is a great account of our meal that night. After consuming lots of Tex Mex over the holidays, I have reaffirmed my belief that it is nearly impossible to find good Mexican beyond Texas!!

  3. Hi Anon,

    For Mexican food I really love Los Amigos on 31st Street (near 23rd Avenue). See my review by typing in Los Amigos under the search option. It's not as chic as some of the other places I talk about but the food is spot on. I also like Margaritas on Broadway (near Steinway). I haven't been there since they switched management but prior to that I've been very happy with my meals.

  4. Thanks, foodista! I'll definitely give your recommendations a try. I've also eaten at Luna on Broadway near 43rd St. - it's been pretty good but the last time the al pastor was a little salty. Maybe it was an off day...

  5. Hi Anon,

    The name of the second Mexican place that I mentioned has been changed to Margaritaville and the exact location is below. Again, not sure if it's still as good as before it changed management but it's worth a try.

    3801 Broadway
    Astoria, NY 11103
    (718) 777-1707

  6. Foodista,
    I'll start by saying I love your name especially your food blog.
    I have wanted to chime in for some time now
    and finally my chance is here.
    Your comments are very much on point in regards to Luna De Juarez and I wanted to thank you. When you put your self out there for the world one has to learn to take the good with the bad because it only helps one to improve on short comings.
    The Restaurant was my concept and design.
    and I appreciated your thoughts on the design.
    My only disagreement with you is that we were trying to be trendy but I have an idea as to why that came across. Anyhow...
    I hope that you visit them again and try the Paella or Chile rellenos with sea food they are both excellent.
    Be well
    George Alonso

  7. Dear George,

    Thanks for you honest comments and thanks for being a reader. I will certainly try Luna again. As I said, I loved my enchiladas and will gladly try some of your other suggestions. Thanks again.


  8. We were recently at Luna's celebrating a birthday and we had a wonderful experience. I had called ahead and made reservations for a party of 16 Luna was nice enough to provide birthday balloons and a cake. Everyone at the table enjoyed their delicious sangria which had plenty of fruit. The food was very good and I never heard anyone complain about it. I had the tortilla soup which was amazing...along with the shrimp in cilantro sauce it too was amazing. If you've had a bad experience I would suggest you give it a try one more time, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  9. That is so nice to hear and I will surely try it again. Thanks for the update.

  10. I just posted on Joey in Astoria's blog because I really want people to know about this place. I'd love to see them do well - it's tough in Astoria, places seem to come and go often. Here's what I said. We LOVE this place. We have been going here every Friday night for Happy Hour for the past few months. It is family owned and run and they are the nicest people you'll ever meet. They have a great by-the-glass wine list and the margaritas are superb. Try the empenadas, I've never had better - they are out of this world. Happy Hour is every day from 5pm - 8pm, 1/2 price beer and margarita, you can't beat it. This place is a gem!

  11. Hey there - first off, I have to say, love your blog and I swear we must be family - we agree at least 98% of the time and I too have my random baking/cooking episodes...

    Anyhow - Luna de juarez is by far one of my favorite Mexican choices here in Astoria. They're super nice staff (though the pattern on the booths makes my other half nauscious)... But - we've been pleasantly surprised by the food. (Exept the one night we got the fondue for dessert and it was white chocolate)... However - if you (or whoever) meant Los Margaritas (formerly margaritaville) and said it was "good" - I strongly disagree. We seriously would rather eat purina dog food before we try that place again. Even the water was bad! If it was a fluke, its unfortunate, because we won't ever set foot in there again.

    Anyhow - felt compelled to write after all of this time of following your blog.

  12. Hi Sam,

    Glad to hear that you love my blog (thank you!) and also that you love Luna de Juarez. I had a so-so experience there but I definitely want to go back. Those enchiladas were fabulous.

    As for Margaritaville, my husband and I used to go there way before it was taken over by new management. The food WAS very good but now it took a bad turn. I also like Dos Amigos on 31st Street near the Ditmars stop. It's nothing special at all in terms of atmosphere but the burritos are pretty rad.

    Thanks again for reading--and feel free to chime in more!




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