Thursday, April 26, 2012
Harissa Delivers for Queens Supper Club
Last night I met up with friends, Anne, Clare, Meg and some other lovely ladies for our monthly Queens Supper Club get together. The "club" is just our excuse to get out and try new foods, and to make sure we're not breaking the bank while doing it. I always enjoy these outings because the girls pick some of the best restos in Queens, and we never end up paying more than $15/person. No...seriously. Our stop this time was Astoria's little hidden Moroccan/Algerian gem, Harissa Cafe.
Located on the busy 30th Avenue, it's easy to miss Harissa, as it's sandwiched between popular and well-attended restaurants such as Ovelia and also the new Dominie's bar. But those true hard core foodies and locals know about it. And what they know is that they can get a good, dependable and affordable meal here without waiting too long, and also discovering something new along the way.
While the restaurant is tiny and narrow, the space feels cozy and wonderful. There's a few small tables towards the front and a large table all the way in the back, which is where all of us sat. On a Wednesday night during prime time dinner hour, it was laid back and quiet, and we enjoyed being doted on by Harissa's gracious staff.
It was nice to see that the menu, despite being short was also diverse. Between a variety of hot sandwiches, soups, tajines, pasta and even burgers, everyone was able to choose something. Vegetarians, please note that this is a great place for you with many many options including the veggie cous-cous you see right here. Here's what I personally had:
Lamb Tajine - I just couldn't refuse the tajine, especially since I was totally chilled from the weather outside. In the mood for something warm and comforting, I couldn't wait to devour the tender (almost stewy) meat. When it came out, I was impressed by the size of the lamb shank and the sea of peas that surrounded it. While mostly consisting of peas, there were other veggies in the stew too, including sweet potatoes and onions, which were really tender and delicious. It goes without saying that the meat was falling off the bone and the flavors were deep and seasoned perfectly (not too salty).
Service and Cost:
As I already hinted above, the service was fabulous. Not only was our server polite and helpful, he was so attentive and really on the ball. Given that he was the only one in the restaurant serving, he did a pretty great job and we didn't feel like we waited long at all to get our food.
Costs are affordable and since we split everything, it only came out to about $15/person (with tax and tip), which is pretty darn sweet.
Harrisa Cafe - 34-05 30th Avenue, Astoria NY 11103
N/Q Train to 30th Avenue