We are Astoria rookies; so if you live there and/or frequent the neighborhood, know that we are fully aware of this shortcoming before bombarding us with emails about how much we suck. We understand that there are plenty of great restaurants in this part of the city, but Steinthal is terrified of Greek food, and I don't like the subway. We're going to need some time.
Our first baby step into Astoria is a pretty obvious choice, considering that The Queens Kickshaw is way more Brooklyn than it is Queens. This place looks like it's straight off Smith Street - right down to the bearded staff and La Marzocco espresso machine. The Kickshaw is packed with the cool people from the neighborhood, most of which drink coffee at the communal table and type on laptops (I assume updating their Tumblr with cat pictures). Naturally, people are going to get hungry, so the Kickshaw compliments their heavy-duty coffee operation with some well publicized gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. There are eight options to choose from on the menu, ranging from the standard with tomato soup to a gouda version with guava jam and pickled jalapeños that's one of the better sandwiches we've had in a while. Each also goes especially well with one or ten beers - and there are plenty of beers to be had. Not since our last trip to the Blind Tiger have we seen bottle options like this.
Ultimately though, The QK is not a place that we will be leaving the island just to visit. We've got plenty of destinations here for high-end java and good bar food. But every coffee snob with a ten-speed in Astoria is probably really glad this place is around. Queens doesn't have any thing else like The Kickshaw, and it's a long bike ride to Brooklyn.
Food RundownCurried Pumpkin Seeds
Kind of sweet, kind of spicy little seeds that are pretty damn delicious, and should be sitting on the table if you're drinking beers.Tomato Soup
The tomato soup here is not of the creamy variety, but is instead more water based and tomato saucy. It's nice for dipping sandwiches, but I didn't love it straight on.Cheddar and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
This is your standard grilled cheese, kind of like the one your mom used to make, assuming your mom was an amazing cook and cared little for your health and well being. This thing is really greasy, really buttery, and really effing good. Dip it in the tomato soup that comes on the side, and try your best not to eat it like your ten-year-old self would have.Gouda Grilled Cheese
Our favorite sandwich that we've had so far at the Kickshaw, this gouda grilled cheese also has guava jam, pickled jalapeños, and some black bean hummus in between the bread. It's insanely good, but we should point out that we couldn't really find that black bean hummus in there. Maybe that's for the best.