The Brick Café: Astoria

“Well, that was disappointing”, said the soggy ravioli to the under seasoned soup.

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A couple of years ago I celebrated a friend’s birthday at the Brick Café on 31st Ave in Astoria, NY. The food, drinks and service were all excellent! So tonight, when we couldn’t find parking near the restaurant of our choice, my husband and I defaulted to the Brick. We thought it was a safe bet…Wrong-o!

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The dim lighting and dark wood of the Brick Cafe is welcoming and cozy. The restaurant is split into two sections, the formal dining area and the bar. Both sections serve the same food. Since we were dressed like hobos, we decided to sit in the bar section. The bar has a great atmosphere and the drink selection is wide and varied. It’s too bad the food sucked tonight because everything else grade A, including the rating from the health department.

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The husband and I weren’t in the mood for full meals tonight. So we each had a soup, french onion for me and pea for him, and shared an order of fries and fried ravioli. Let me clear the pink elephant in the post. Yes. We have an appetite for fried, unhealthy food. Whew, felt good to get that off my chest! Okay, moving on…

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Let’s start with the soups.

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Both soups were highly under seasoned, and the pea soup was actually cold! Have you ever tasted cold pea soup? It’s not fun. Not fun at all. A good french onion soup should be salty and oozing with cheese. This one just didn’t have enough of either. It was like biting into a joy bar, when expecting a snickers. Disappointing and not worth the calories.

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The fried ravioli were the saddest part of the meal. The little guys had so much potential. They could have been something! Instead, they were soggy, little pockets of cheese. The rich filling and spicy sauce were DElicious but these flavors could not save the dish. Ah, it’s so sad when good flavors are wasted on poor execution.

And a yadda, yadda, yadda…I will only eat at the Brick again if there is a zombie apocalypse and it is the only restaurant within a 50 mile radius that I can raid for survival. Too harsh?

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New York Dog House: Astoria

The humble and dark exterior of the New York Dog House make it an easy place  to miss. The food, however, is far from forgettable. Their menu is filled with a variety of playful dishes but the hot dogs steal the show! Each dog is infused with unique flavors and topped with refreshingly, unexpected ingredients. Every bite of every dog is a party in your mouth (that’s what she said) and you will NOT want this party to end.

On our first trip to the New York Dog House I got the bangers and mash. This came with three different bare dogs and the parsnip-potato mash (which are to die for! ). It is a good sampler dish because you get to taste and compare the flavors of different dogs, but eating a bunless and toppingless dog isn’t too satisfying. It’s like sending a model down the runway naked.

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After the bangers and mash experience, I was on a mission to get a signature dog! So on the next trip I opted for the luscious looking dog that you see pictured above, called the Far East. The dog filling is a blend of sweet Asian flavors that are offset by a sour pickled daikon topping. It is literally the perfect combination of flavors. So take this lesson from me folks: when in Rome eat Italian food and when in the Dog House get a hot dog!

Click here to be redirected to the New York Dog House site.