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The Early Word on Old NYC Throwback The Astor Room

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Late last week, The Astor Room opened on the ground floor of the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios. Where once there was a public commissary for Paramount Pictures, the space has now been restored to a supper club designed to evoke memories of the studio's glory days. In that vein, the menu includes classics like lobster thermidor and short rib stroganoff while the classic cocktail menu features The Astor Martini and The New Yorker. Throw in the vintage decor and all the bases get covered. So what do the people think? To the early word:

The "Sophisticated But Not Pretentious" News: The Foodista visits and comments on the drinks here. "We were pleasantly surprised by the innovative drinks menu, which honored many often-forgotten classic American cocktails. Mary Pickford - Sweet and fruity, containing silver rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and maraschino liquor, this drink was a step-up from your simple rum/pineapple. An added special touch was the marinated maraschino cherry, which almost tasted like a preserved sour cherry from a compote. Queen's Road - My second drink was a lot stronger and more pungent but like the Mary Pickford, it was also rum based. It had floral hints of sweetness from honey syrup, nice acid from the lime and orange juice and a strong aftertaste from the ginger. We loved the staff here - they were friendly yet low-key and for a new establishment, didn't try too hard." [The Foodista]

The "Welcome Addition" News: This Girl Can Eat files an overwhelmingly positive review though it should be noted that she got a few freebies thrown in. "After settling on the Valentino (Wild Turkey Rye, Campari, sweet vermouth, orange twist) and Mary Pickford (Flor de Caña rum, pineapple juice, grenadine, maraschino liqueur), my date and I were given two complimentary appetizers—a charcuterie plate and pickled vegetables—along with scrumptious cheese-crusted buttery rolls to start. A culinary highlight of the night was undoubtedly the Stroganoff—succulent and tender short ribs atop delicate egg noodles, scattered with sliced wild mushrooms and a truffled crème fraiche accompaniment....Another gratis plate of mini chocolate whoopie pies and truffles was brought to the table and even one of our oh-so delicious desserts was delivered on the house. Service was exceptional throughout the night and the staff was friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. While it’s expected that any new restaurant needs time to work out the kinks, nothing we experienced fell short of excellent. The Astor Room is a welcome addition to the fascinating neighborhood..." [This Girl Can Eat]

The "Worthy Destination" News: Eat Big Apple files a through and positive review. "This place reminds me of the Lambs Club, except it’s actually old, not a new room built to old specs. Of course, you ought to start yourself with a classic cocktail. The Astoria Martini was delicious and balanced. In the day and age where every restaurant offers 4 or 5 different varieties of oysters per coast, The Astor Room offers just one. However after knocking back the first oyster with some cocktail sauce, I’d gladly from this day on trade variety for excellence. These Pine Creek Oysters from the Long Island are absolutely fantastic. The classic french onion soup was befitting of the historical era, and as expected came in the familiar container. There’s a lot of cheese both on the top and within the soup, which delivered good flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed the Coca-Cola Pork Chop, which was cooked nicely and accented with flavors of peppercorn and the Coca-Cola sweetness. The Striped Sea Bass however didn’t quite work for me.....With delicious cocktails, solid food, and a comfortable setting, the Astor Room is a worthy destination in Astoria for food, drinks or most definitely some dessert with live music." [Eat Big Apple]

The "Nice Bar Vibe" News: On the topic page at Astoria neighborhood web siteWhy Leave Astoria?!, commenter Heather Connor chimes in with her thoughts. "Excellent Old-Fashioneds. Mac and Cheese is fabulous, as are the twice baked potatoes. I liked the vibe sitting at the bar, but the dinner clientele are much older. I wish they would have used half the space for some sort of expanded bar/lounge, but I'll definitely be back. Good place to start the night." [Why Leave Astoria?!]

The "Pretty Bangin'" News: Yelper Ryan M. notes that once you get past some of the shortcomings, it's a solid place. "While Astor Room has a few things I'd like to see improved upon in these next 6 months after their opening, there is a lot to like here.... While I love the attention to classics, overall I'd like to see the menu expanded a bit to offer some more originals. The Food: Overall, the food tastes really good. It certainly takes you back to another time. Very classic menu. We had the Finnan Haddie and French Onion Soup to start. Both were pretty bangin'. Rich and heavy, but good. I have no complaints about the appetizer portion of the menu, but the mains are pretty overpriced given what they are serving and the location of this place. I have no problem with what they're serving, but some of the pricing is a complete disconnect from the rest of the menu and make it look like overpriced hotel food. Overall I am really happy with the addition of this place in Astoria. They are off to a solid start and with a few tweaks could become great. The waitstaff and owner were all super friendly and the service was fantastic. Really, the Service was the best part, which is nice to see." [Yelp]

The Great News: Yelper Susannah S. comes here only for the drinks but she'll be back for the food. "The bar was long and spacious with comfy bar stools -- check plus. There was a pianist in the corner, which I hope will be a regular feature as it helped complete the atmosphere of stepping a little back in time. The drinks menu is superb -- for perhaps the first time in my life, I wanted to try every single cocktail. Since all the prices are $9-10, my wallet didn't mind that idea one bit...Our bartender did a fine job for only the second night being open. He had to remake my first drink when he noticed (before setting it in front of me) a "barnacle" in the glass. No problem for me; it wasn't crowded and I didn't mind an extra couple of minutes for a well-made drink. In the 2.5 hours we were there, we received two complimentary appetizers -- a house-made charcuterie plate (with excellent soppressata and pate) and raw oysters. I don't expect that will happen too often once the bar is better-known and has more clientele, but it certainly won my admiration and, most likely, loyalty...I will definitely return again soon, and then again and again -- still have several more drinks I want to try, and I'm already jonesing a little for the Astoria cocktail." [Yelp]

The Twitterific News: @B_Salt is a fan. "Beautiful experience at Astor Room in Astoria. Clasic food done perfectly!" @stephaniecarino tweets, "everything at the Astor Room has been fantastic from the staff to the food and even the finishing touches of dessert!" @kcampbell tweets a helpful observation. "The smoke detector is above the corner table. Ordering the Baked Alaska = firemen galore." @PatrickGarrigan just gushes, "Oooooh, The Astor Room is reeeeeal nice." @iris_lentjes tweets, "The Astor Room is really a phenomenal restaurant- excellent cocktails, entrees and heavely desserts." [Twitter]
—Gary Wong
[photo credit]

Astor Room

34-12 36th Street, Astoria, NY 11106 (718) 255-1947 Visit Website

The Astor Room

34-12 36th St Queens, NY 11106