The Queens Kickshaw
40-17 Broadway, Astoria

When I read about the predominant pairing for this new Astoria joint, I was definitely skeptical. Grilled cheese goes with, I don’t know, a milkshake, root beer, maybe iced tea, but coffee, really?? Well, it does, at least at The Queens Kickshaw, because both classic comforts are done exceptionally well.

The husband and wife team, who have worked in top Manhattan restaurants, opened their labor of in March 2011. It’s a little sliver of a storefront right off of Steinway that is really easy to miss. But the narrow and deep space is inviting with a sparse homey rustic feel that complements the extensive menu of beers, wine and coffee. It makes for an excellent coffee or wine bar with some communal tables, but do not overlook the creative grilled cheese, because they are worth a visit alone. We made to make some tough decisions and settled on the savory manchago & ricotta with eggplant and capers with a salad of sweet pickled raisins ($9). It had a classic appearance on thin multi-grain bread. The gouda was sweeter with black bean hummus, guava jam and pickled jalapenos on a thick brioche ($10) accompanied by a spicy salad. Both were fun, delicious, and a step up from a lot of the newer places in Astoria. The not-so-secret ingredient has to be butter. It’s really the way to make excellent grilled cheese. We got the miso-mustard pickled vegetables which were really good, especially for $5. And guess what? The ice coffee was really smooth and did not even require sugar. It was the perfect pairing to cut some of the buttery, cheesy richness of the grilled cheeses. I’m not sure why it’s called Kickshaw, but do know that this winning combo is going into heavy rotation for us.