Now that I finally feel settled into my new neighborhood, I figured it was time to start sampling the local cuisines! A friend of mine read about a place that specialized in “fancy grilled cheeses” in the Gothamist–you don’t have to do much arm-twisting to convince me that grilled cheese is a fabulous dinner. Throw in a bangin’ list of hard ciders? I’m all over it.
The Queens Kickshaw storefront is pretty unobtrusive–if you don’t know you’re looking for it, it’d be easy to walk right by (as I had done several times before our visit). The decor is deliberately sparse and the lighting is low; the ceiling has an unfinished look that contributes to the quasi-industrial, very hipster-y feel. We walked past the coffee and dessert counter into the back dining area, where we found a four-top wooden table with tall chairs.
The menus are on clipboards–extra cool points, Queens Kickshaw–and feature food items as well as a full list of beers, wines, ciders, and nonalcoholic beverages (they’re known for their coffees, too).
My dining partners each ordered a bottle of the Crispin Saint, a Minnesota-produced hard apple cider made with maple syrup. They were kind enough to let me sample, and umm–yum. Sweet and crisp and delicious when served cold. We were a little surprised by the prices–each of their bottles cost $14–but you get a lot for your money. I’d say at least three good-sized glasses of cider came out of just that one bottle. A buzz can be sufficiently attained, if that’s your aim.
For my cheesy dinner, I selected the Fontina Val d’Aosta (a picture pre-devouring can be seen at the beginning of this entry)–an open-faced sandwich on focaccia bread that was spread with pesto, layered with mushrooms, and then smothered with plenty of that fontina. And it came with a little side salad topped with pine nuts!
My two friends both ordered the Cheddar and Mozzarella, a good old-fashioned cheese sandwich on brioche bread served with a side of tomato soup. Yes, dipping did ensue. They each raved about the sandwich, one even going so far as to quote Parks and Recreation, saying it was “lit-tra-ly” the best thing she’d ever eaten. High praise if I do say so myself!
These definitely aren’t your shoestring budget grilled cheeses–my sandwich was $11, and the cheddar/mozz was $8. The portions were large enough to be considered dinner-sized, though, so I considered the cheesy goodness worthy of the splurge.
The Queens Kickshaw
Astoria, NY 11103