Cafe Bar - 32-90 36th Street, Astoria, NY 11103
R/V/G Train to Steinway Street
I sometimes wonder why I get caught up in new restaurant hype, on occasion passing up some eateries that have been in Astoria for ages. One such "oldie" but a goody is Cafe Bar on 34th Avenue. This quirky art-deco lounge is known for its relaxed scene, where you can read a book for hours without being bothered or munch on some amazing brunch everyday of the week.
Anything and everything goes at Cafe Bar. Walking in, you might be a tad overwhelmed by its art "decoey-ness." The funky plastic chairs, the wild plants that look like they'll overtake you if you don't behave, the wall display of geishas and fish tanks--this place literally has it all! But you can't help and smile at this sight--it's all very colorful, fun and uplifting.
The crowd is young and somewhat artsy--you're likely to find a mysterious, handsome guy with long hair reading a book or a group of boisterous women enjoying coffee and eggs, chatting freely. Even the waitstaff sports a relaxed look--it almost seems like everyone is at home, hanging out in their living room.
I scanned the brunch menu, my eyes resting on the Huevos Rancheros. I ordered them and was overjoyed with the end result--a gorgeous plate of corn tortillas stacked with a fried egg, refried beans and colorful chile. It looked like a beautiful Mexican Napoleon if you will--and the taste was even better. The chile topping was really fresh and I could feel the juicy crunch of onion and fragrant cilantro. The inside was oozing with silky egg yolk and creamy refried beans. I'm not lying when I say I could've eaten another order of this dish, it was that good. Oh and let me not forget to mention the side of herbed hash--it was light and flavorful, complementing the huevos so nicely.
Kimberly ordered a sandwich version of the ham, brie and apple omelette. She made me try a bite and I become a full convert. The honey mustard dressing made this dish but what also gave it uniqueness was the refreshing crunch from apples and the savory chewiness of ham. Kimberly added the apple as a substitute and the waitstaff was very accommodating.
Service and Cost:
The service here is good and very relaxed, matching the atmosphere. The waiters make you feel comfortable and they're as unobtrusive as they come.
Cost-wise, this place wins again. A brunch entree will cost you between $9-$10 and dinner won't be more than $30 including a drink.