Astoria Seafood Review Part 1: Main Course

I’d like to preface that I rarely give bad reviews or get irate in public. However, I think this needs to be said to anyone who is interested in dining at Astoria Seafood. 

The main take away from this entire story is this:  “don’t ever assume anything“.

Since this is a long post, I decided to break this up to a two-part story:

This post is Part 1: Main course – restaurant review. Click here to read Part 2: Dessert course – take-away lessons from my experience.

giphy4


Let me start by bottom-lining my review. If you’re interested in dining at Astoria Seafood, then go at your own risk. Be as prepared as possible. Ask questions if you feel unsure. Learn from my experience.

I typically go on Yelp to read people’s reviews before I try a new restaurant. While I know Yelp reviews are subjective, they give me the opportunity to see the good, bad and ugly of a restaurant. Reviews don’t usually deter me from trying unless the pictures I see are rather appalling.

Astoria Seafood got rave reviews in Yelp, Google, and Foursquare. Queens’ foodie residents also raved about the place and considered it as their top go-to seafood restaurant. I’ve always wanted to go to Astoria Seafood, but didn’t take the plunge until last Saturday.

The Concept

The restaurant’s schtick:

  1. You pick your choice of fresh seafood. They have a variety of choices (lobster, scallops, mussels, king crab, snapper, bass, etc.).
  2. You pay for what you pick. They charge by the pound and depends on what type. After you pay, you tell them how you want it cooked (grilled, baked, or fried).
  3. After you pay, you go back to the front, tell the hostess your name and show your receipt.
  4. Hostess writes down your name and # of people.
  5. You wait your turn to be called.
  6. Hostess calls you and once seated, they then start cooking your food. I learned/experienced this step the hard way…

Before I move on, I’d like to preface that Astoria Seafood was VERY busy when we got there. I expected this because of the Yelp reviews and tips I got from a Queens foodie I follow on Instagram.

The Wait Times

Paying

After picking the food, there was a short line to the cashier. There were 2 cashiers at that time, so it’s not a lengthy wait. Basically, they tally the weight of each seafood you got, total up your final cost, ask how you want it cooked, and you pay.

Getting a table

After hostess took our names, we waited between 20-30 minutes before we got seated. The hostess was quite entertaining to watch because she would call people as she was smoking her cig. When she called to seat people and no one came to her, she would say “ok, forgot about them, don’t care about them” and would proceed to call the next one on her list. When it was our turn, she was calling “Lina” first, I asked her do you mean “Liane”? She said, “yes that’s what I said, I clearly can’t say your name right”, in a joking way. Laughs all around.

giphy9

We’re called the same time as another group. The hostess seemed to have decided to do community style seating with my group and this other group without inquiring if it was OK with us. I didn’t complain because they were VERY busy and the other group didn’t seem to mind as well. One thing I noticed before we’re even shown to our seats, was the hostess and waitress got into a little spat with one each other. Waitress was complaining about the hostess’ system of sitting people to their manager. Hostess is a little sassy one, talked back. They seemed to be fighting about the hostess’ deciding to sit 2 groups in a table for 6 and waitress wasn’t too happy about that (side note: We think this is what made them so confused about our group, which you’ll later read how it unfolded). Now was this a way to act in front of customers? If I still have your attention, you be the judge and read on.

giphy3

Continue reading “Astoria Seafood Review Part 1: Main Course”

Cibo: Sunnyside’s Takesushi

If you’re an uni sushi (sea urchin) lover, then you’re familiar about how this dish can set you back a few dollars. Sunnyside’s Takesushi is the only sushi restaurant I have been to that offers uni-centric dishes at reasonable prices. Now, if you are a sushi connoisseur you may wonder, how fresh is the uni? Quite fresh actually because the owner, Robin Kawada, is passionate about fresh food. Every morning, he visits the New Fulton Fish Market to purchase the best and freshest fish available.

I’ve been to this restaurant three times now and it’s the only sushi restaurant I would frequent as a Sunnyside local. The place is accessible from the 40th St stop of the 7 train and within just a few steps, you will find it situated around the corner of 42nd street on the north side of Queens Boulevard.

It’s not one of those fancy sushi places that you would normally find in Manhattan, but the food here is on par with what you will find in a Manhattan sushi joint. I usually go during lunch time as I prefer their lunch menu (it’s also cheaper). They have a good selection of raw and cooked sushi, as well as, dishes for the non-sushi eaters. During my last visit, I ordered the Jennifer Roll (spicy yellowtail roll with fish eggs and scallions) and my go to dish, Uni Maguro Don (rice covered with uni and tuna sashimi). Robin, who is also the sushi chef, wondered if I would be able to finish both dishes did me a favor by cutting thin slices of the fish.

If you’re looking for a good place to take your Valentine this coming Valentines Day, then I highly recommend making the trek down to Sunnyside to eat at Takesushi. Your wallet, tummy, and date will thank you for it.