Monday, April 15, 2013
A Meh Experience at Astor Room
It's been quite a while since I dined at Astor Room, and unfortunately it was once again a lackluster experience. I really hoped that would change last week when Meg, Mackenzi, our fabulous designer Nuno and I went there for dinner, but mediocrity continues to be the norm.
Even the very beginning of our experience was a let down when we were told we had to wait about 15 minutes for our reserved table. Luckily, time went by really quickly and we were seated shortly, but it was still an odd way to begin.
We started with a shared salad, after which everyone got their own entrees. While I don't think we were overly full, we just didn't really care for dessert, especially since Meg Mackenzi and I started with a sweet preview back at SITE, courtesy of the very talented, Sweet Amanda Leigh.
Warm Spinach & Asparagus - Generally enjoying this salad, it was pretty simple but tasty, including generous amounts of fresh spinach and grilled asparagus. The component that really attracted me to it though was the maple bacon vinaigrette and unfortunately I can't say I tasted it at all. There was some warm, tangy goat cheese in this concoction, and it was lovely, but somehow the dish didn't live up to its interesting menu description.
Short Rib Stroganoff - Labeled as an Astor Room classic, I looked forward to trying it, especially since it ties back to my Eastern European roots. Overall, the dish was pretty solid, and the short rib was especially yummy. I liked how it fell apart upon contact with your fork and the egg noodles soaked up its meaty sauce quite nicely. There was supposed to be truffle creme in the sauce as well but once again, I couldn't detect it. But all that aside, it was a tasty plate of food that I'd gladly get again.
Other Dishes - My friends seemed to enjoy their dishes, although they didn't rave about them. My suspicion is that they were the same as mine - perfectly acceptable but generally unexciting. I tried the fries, which Meg got as a side and once again I couldn't taste the truffle salt. They were just meh.
The Studio Cocktail - Ordering this drink and absolutely loving it convinced me that Astor Room still does one thing right - the cocktail. Incorporating my favorite, Tito's vodka with apricot liqueur, demarara syrup and fresh lime, it tasted slightly sour and a little sweet too. The whole thing went down so smooth and reminded me of something I'd have on vacation - but still maintaining a certain sophistication.
Service and Cost:
The service too was really odd. We had two servers who didn't seem to communicate, as they took our drink order twice. However, after a few awkward interactions, the rest of service went off without a hitch.
Costs are pricey for the quality of food you're getting and we paid about $45/person with tax and tip. This doesn't sound too bad, but consider that two of my dining companions got appetizers for their main course.
The Astor Room - 34-12 36th Street, Astoria NY 11106
N/Q Train to Broadway or M/F Train to Steinway Street