When Fatty’s announced it was moving almost a year ago, Astorians — and New Yorkers in general — were devastated, and also worried that a reopening would not, in fact, happen. Last month, however, Suzanne Furbota and Fernando Peña proved everyone wrong when they opened the doors to their new location.
The new space maintains all of the chill island vibe of the former, with just a little more panache. Stereo speakers form a wall separating the front bar from the main dining room, which is lined with funky pieces of art. A patio is expected to open soon, where guests can be transported to an island getaway.
Contrary to the misleading name, the website describes Fatty’s as a healthy grill … a place to chill. Apparently the name was derived from a term of endearment between Suzanne and Fernando. Though a Latin-driven menu, Fernando explains that if he sees a recipe he likes, it will probably appear on the menu. If he likes it, he makes it. Because he’s built a menu around recipes he loves, you most definitely taste that in the food, and feel it in the air.
A trio of empanadas (chicken, beef and cheese) were some of the best around … crispy with a moist interior, with deliciously seasoned, juicy fillings.
Someone at your table simply has to order the contraband chicken. Tender breasts of poultry are stuffed with pico de gallo and cheddar, wrapped in crispy bacon, blanketed with cheese and a mole barbecue sauce. Hands down, the most delicious, sweet, yet savory mole I have ever enjoyed. With the fusion of barbecue sauce, it was chocolaty, tangy and smoky. The caramelized plantains were crisp to the bite, yet beautifully tender and sweet inside.
The chocolate tres leches was an absolute slice of sweetened milk heaven. My lunch date laughed when I likened it to a gourmet twist on Count Chocula cereal, but it was like a childhood memory soaked up into a cake with a glistening ruby cherry on top. Everything at Fatty’s made us smile and feel like kids on holiday, from the food to the jovial atmosphere.
Any time I can’t afford a trip to the Caribbean but am craving a relaxed vacation meal, you can certainly bet I will be walking a few blocks out of the way to stop by Fatty’s Cafe. If it were any closer to my apartment, I would absolutely be a regular. While we miss the talented staff of Stove, the former tenant, we know they have passed it on to some wonderful new owners who have made it their own, and will welcome you as if it is yours also.
Whatever you do, try the mojito or add on one of the drunken sticks of fruit to your beverage. Those drinks are a vacation all by themselves.
45-17 28th Ave., Astoria
Open weekdays at 2 p.m.
Open weekends at 11 a.m.
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