Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Alewife - Bar Food with Good Mojo
Ever since I've heard Meg praising the herb fries at Alewife, I knew I had to try it. She's a bit of a French fry connoisseur, if you will, so I knew she was on to something, and I was naturally eager to try it. Recently finding out that my friend Julie lived in the neighborhood too, we made plans to meet at Alewife after work and devoured those much praised fries and the impressive-looking gourmet burger you see before you, as well.
Situated in the old Lucky Mojo space, I was surprised at Alewife's sheer size. Based on what I heard and read about it, I expected it to be a small, quaint, cozy place, but instead it's a rather large, open spaced bar with plenty of casual seating. While the vibe tries to accomplish something rather gastropubey, to me it feels like a glorified sports bar. Not to say this is a bad thing, as the quality of the food and drink is really good, but somehow its surroundings don't really match its intended concept. On a random Wednesday night, it felt rather empty and abandoned, but I'm curious to observe it on the weekends, and especially during large sporting events.
While the menu boasts a lot of sophisticated eats like crispy pork belly, carrot & artichoke tordelli, black feather chicken and more, what we both wanted was some good old fashioned bar food, which of course came in the form of a burger and fries.
Dry Aged Burger and Fries - When asking our server about the burger, he reaffirmed our desires and highly recommended it. Surprised and delighted when we saw it arrive, the burger was impressive, consisting of a beautifully grilled patty, oozing with juices and topped with melted cheddar cheese. The true piece-de-resistance, as you can guess was that beautiful pretzel bun, which was golden brown, soft and absolutely substantial enough to hold the burger meat and fixins. I also loved the pickles on the side, which were clearly homemade, and a nice mix of sweet and sour.
The fries were truly out of this world, as they were the thin, shoestring kind, sprinkled with flecks of rosemary, salt and a healthy dose of truffle oil. Each bite was crispy and delicious and so addicting that I nearly polished off the whole bowl. The portion is quite large and I recommend splitting it with your dining companion.
I also wanted to highlight that since Julie adheres to a gluten-free diet, Alewife happily accommodated her with a bun-free burger. It was presented beautifully with veggies and those yummy pickles too.
Service and Cost:
We had no complaints about the service, as our waiter was friendly and attentive and offered up his valid opinions. He seemed intelligent and in-the-know about the menu and we felt his service in general was on-point.
Costs are expensive, also considering the casual atmosphere that doesn't quite match this menu and price point.
The burger, fries and a drink set us back about $30/person. Call me crazy but that's a bit rich even for really good, sophisticated bar food.
Alewife - 5-14 51st Avenue, Long Island City NY 11101
7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue