By Joe Anuta
Q Thai Bistro, a popular Forest Hills restaurant that was open for 15 years but shuttered in January, will reopen this Friday, dropping the “Thai” from its name — and its menu.
Now called Q Bistro, still at 108-25 Ascan Ave., the property was bought by Forest Hills resident Alan Schivek, whose vision of a Manhattan-stye restaurant will come to life as the first diners enter the renovated space.
“There’s been a lot of buzz in the neighborhood,” said Schivek amid piles of sawdust in the dining area. “If we opened the doors right now, there would be a line.”
That buzz is largely due to Versna Denic-Gmerek, the previous owner of the space who will still greet customers at the new eatery.
“She has such a dedicated following,” Schivek said.
Denic-Gmerek endorses the reincarnated bistro, but the cuisine will take on more international influences than simply Thai, according to the new head chef of the restaurant.
“We’re going to have a lot of seafood with a world influence,” said Jason Fanelli, who has worked as a chef in several Manhattan restaurants. “We’ll have everything from octopus to Chilean sea bass or Chatham cod.”
Fanelli, who designed the menu, listed dishes including Asian-influenced pork belly, Italian lamb osso bucco and French-influenced chicken liver toast. American favorites like burgers and grass-fed New York strip steaks will also be available as well as gourmet sandwiches and sliders.
But no matter how far away the culinary influences come from, many of the ingredients will be fresh, organic and local.
And local produce means a seasonal menu, according to Fanelli.
“You’re not going to go out and buy tomatoes and citrus in the winter,” he said. “The (inaugural) menu has been geared toward spring and summer.”
The new bistro will also serve a variety of beer and liquor as well as fine cheese, according to Schivek.
Craft beer will be on tap, along with an assortment of fine wines, which Schivek knows well as the owner of a wine distribution company.
The variety and quality of the food cannot be found anywhere else in the neighborhood, Schivek said. And he hoped that the bistro’s unique blend of internationally influenced fare coupled with the old Q Thai Bistro’s renown will draw an excited crowd.
“It’s going to be very lively,” he said. “It will have a lot of class.”
And Fanelli will be doing his part from the kitchen.
“We want people to feel welcome,” he said. “We want to give them a complete dining experience from the food to the smells and sounds.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.