19-33 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria
Bistro 33 is all the buzz in Astoria. It was recently written up in “Time Out” and was voted the best new addition to all of Queens! The Hubs and I walk by it all the time on our way into town, and we often stop and look at the menu, but we never stop in. The confusion of whether “to eat or not to eat” stems from the confusion of the state of the menu. It is French-Japanese Fusion, which is a weird combo, and it is strangely pricey (all mains running $15 to $30), but I adore fusion restaurants if they are done correctly. This place is always packed with a younger crowd, and it is a really great space with outdoor seating so on one of the warmer evenings, we finally decided to overcome our trepidations about the menu and try it out.
Our experience was extremely mixed. We found the service to run hot and cold. At the bar we had a very friendly bartender chat with us, but then our waitress barely acknowledged our presence. The sushi we ordered was phenomenal! Some of the best I’ve had in a while……on the same level as Sushi Samba with their flavor combos. The sesame crusted shrimp was perfectly fried and served with an addictive orange-curry sauce on the side, and the Spicy Tuna Nagimaki was amazing and also served with a tangy sauce. Really, if you are going to go there, try some of the crazy rolls. I have my eye on the Tuna Foie Gras Roll for the next time we try it. Another nod towards the bad service, I mistakenly poured some soy sauce, not knowing how wonderful the other dipping sauces would be and as the waitress was clearing the table she accidentally spilled the soy sauce on the table….well, the table had slats in it and so the soy sauce dripped all over me…..not just a little bit, but A LOT! Now, it’s not the accident that bothered me, but she did not stop and offer tonic water or even say anything…..I found that a bit worrisome.
Anyways, then we got out main course. We had both ordered the Pork Shoulder, which was braised with prosciutto and manchego cheese. It came out slathered in mayonnaise with large chunks of cheese and prosciutto and pickles, topped with seaweed. Truthfully, this dish was a mess. It was the saltiest food I have ever tasted and I couldn’t really eat it. If you know me, you know what a tremendously crazy statement that is.
At least the soy sauce came out of my skirt.