By Kevin Zimmerman
Borough President Helen Marshall loves to tout Queens’ diversity with a tourism-board-ready slogan: “Visit Queens and see the world.”
Marshall repeated her mantra Monday afternoon at Borough Hall to kick off this year’s 10th annual Queens Restaurant Week.
Sponsored by the Queens Economic Development Corp., this year’s festivities include eight days of deals at dozens of restaurants across the borough.
“We’re here to promote the restaurants and the local neighborhoods,” said Seth Bornstein, QEDC’s executive director. “There is such diversity here. And it’s the real thing at a great price.”
As part of those deals, diners can order a three-course prix fixe dinner for $28 and lunch for $14 from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 and again from Oct. 7 to 10.
By Monday’s kickoff, about 50 restaurants offering a variety of cuisines had signed on to this year’s event, said Bornstein, but he expects another 25 or so to join by this coming Monday.
“There’s obviously going to be great food with a lot of different flavors,” said Bornstein.
About a half dozen businesses provided a sneak peek and samples of some of the food and drinks on tap to the 500 or so passersby who dropped by Borough Hall.
Patty Medina, from Jackson Heights’ Uncle Peter’s, offered bite-sized tastes of her restaurant’s Pollo Al Funghi, chicken and mushrooms with a touch of cream; Supreme Seafood Salad offered a cold melange of lobster, crab, shrimp and avocado; and for dessert, tres leches — a sponge cake soaked in heavy cream and evaporated and condensed milk.
Pavlo Serelis, from Astoria’s Christos steak house, tempted the hungry crowd with what was basically a Greek eggroll.
“It’s a lamb roll wrapped in phyllo dough and topped with a Greek yogurt sauce,” Serelis said as he squirted another dollop of the condiment atop the appetizer.
Also on hand Monday were representatives from Forest Hills’ Haveli Indian restaurant and Bayside’s Tequila Sunrise, who served up Mexican treats.
Across the plaza, Queens Brewery owner Nelson Rockefeller filled plastic cups with his reddish-hued lager. The brewery is one of the sponsors of Restaurant Week and plans to offer deals at some of the establishments that serve its beer, said Rockefeller.
About 20 places joined in the first Restaurant Week in 2003. Since then, said Bornstein, each year has seen the number of participants increase. The length of the event has also been extended — a fact that Marshall, who noted the first day of Restaurant Week is her birthday, reminded the crowd in Kew Gardens.
“I’m proud to say Restaurant Weeks,” said Marshall. “Maybe next year we’ll be celebrating Restaurant Month.”
A full list of participating venues is online at itsinqueens.com/restaurantweek/Queens.
Contact news editor Kevin Zimmerman at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4541