Friday, March 16, 2007

Reality bites

If you watch reality TV as religiously as i do then the name Josie from Top Chef will ring a bell. You'll also remember that she was uber cool but still lost :( It's our gain though!!! Look see what i yanked from this weeks Time Out:
Island Café & Lounge
Top Chef contestant Josie Smith-Malave, the spiky-coiffed ex–football player, heads the kitchen at this eclectic restaurant and café. The bi-level Mediterranean spot, with bamboo and river-stone walls, is home to the only four-head Cimbali espresso machine in the U.S. 35-15 36th St between 35th and 36th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-433-0690).

(so they call it LIC, i still consider it Astoria!)


Tamara Reynolds said...

Ok, so... I have a real live update on the "Island". Z and I popped in last night for a post movie cocktail. Whoa, dude. It was like entering a photo shoot for a travel magazine. The place is ENORMOUS... the Time Out "bi-level" comment does not nearly do it justice. It is huge and cavernous with tons of white cloth draped canopy -like across the ceiling, and also hanging from the celing and tied off, ala Pottery Barn Catalogue circa 2005. We were greeted promptly by 2 nice gentlemen-- (they must have noticed our eyes doing the Bugs Bunny "Doing!) as we tried to make sense of it all. There is a table right next to the bar that we could not stop looking at in total confusion. It has a pebble runner down the middle and the chairs are covered with that off white canvas chair skirt that you see so often at weddings. Again, think white sand beach photo shoot. I did love the concrete floors however. I know some would say they spent their floor budget on funky silverware, (someone should tell them that people just steal that shit!!) but I think it was a genius idea to leave the floors bare.

Anyway, Hot Bartender Man offered us a cocktail list, that had things like Blue Curacao in high rotation, something that I as a drinker don't really trust all that much, but we managed to select the 2 drinks we felt Most Likely To Succeed. They were a Rum/Bergamot/chilled Earl Grey Tea concoction, and a Vodka/rose water/rose petal situation. The rum thing tasted ok, and the rose one smelled good. The Hot Bartender Man, clearly proud of his work, (a trait I appreciate) wanted to know how they were. We eeked out a noncommital "uhh... good". Truth being, the booze was completely overshadowed by all of the other business, which I most likely would have overlooked but for the fact that they were $10/11 cocktails. In Astoria. I guess the promise of dry cleaning all of that fabric hanging from the ceilings is costly.

At any rate, we took a look at the menu, and it is all over the map as far as cuisine-- everything from Bacalau in Saffron Sauce to New England Lobster roll, to Wood Oven Pizza to Merguez with Cous Cous, to Roman Artichokes. Many items that made my mouth water on the page but my inner waitress/cook said, "uhh... from the same kitchen? Really?" We did appreciate the "Fries Fries Fries" listing that appeared 1st in the Vegetable Sides.

There is an enormous upstairs area with yet another bar, and more tables. Think big. On the top level, there is also a small alcove in front of the people watching staircase that looks private and cool; we took note of it. We cannot imagine this place ever being really completely crowded, due to the size of it, so it would most likely be a good place to get a drink if you wanted to talk, although the music is definitely on the louder side, even Sunday night at midnight.

Zora said...

Whoa. What she said. Some slightly more articulate ramblings on RG, but mostly I'm just still a little overwhelmed.

Unknown said...

oh my gosh, i so totally don't even know what to make of this!?!?!?! A visit is definitely in order, if for nothing else then just to gawk. thanks for the early bird reviews ladies :)

Unknown said...

I walked in on Sunday, just to check it out. Huge space, many well dressed people... young Astorians with parents in tow.

Then I took a look at the menu, which was definitely all over the place, but the most depressing thing was the "blah, blah (some random vegetable) drizzled in EVOO" I think that might be enough to keep me from EVER eating there! It's olive oil people! and it damn well better be extra virgin if you are not cooking with it! Acronyms are for techies and UN employees, not menus.

Tamara Reynolds said...

Oh Marta... whoever you are.... I LOVE you.

Unknown said...

hahahahaha...Marta's bro works for the UN!

Unknown said...

It really says "EVOO"? That's dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. I wanted to say it's pretentious, but it doesn't even merit that.

Did you ask the waiter about it? 'Cause I don't think I would've figured that out.

I love you, too, Marta. ~

Also, there were a lot of kids with parents there? That sounds very urban-Chuckee-Cheese to me, no?

Unknown said...

no, not children, 20-somethings with parents (who seemed to be visiting for the day) in tow.

and thanks for all the love :D

Unknown said...

that EVOO thing-----so Rachel Ray (i say this with gritted teeth)

Tamara Reynolds said...

1) When actual restaurant menus begin to use Rachel Rayisms (EVOO) you know the world is truly coming to a screeching, grinding halt.

2) The kids in their 20's most likely needed their parentals to come along to pay for the $11 drinks!

megc said...

I was just in the Ditmars Trade Fair and they were selling "EVOO" (yes, it was called EVOO, not extra virgin olive oil) with RACHAEL RAY'S FACE ON IT. Whoa! It totally blindsided me.

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