By Suzanne Parker
We confess to having a weirdly superstitious belief in the laws of equilibrium.
When one of our friends loses weight — we put it on. When we added memory to my computer — we became even more forgetful.
We recently read an article in The New York Times about an epidemic of pub closings in England, which must explain the sudden proliferation of gastropubs in Forest Hills. In the last year or so, at least four have opened.
We procrastinated about visiting the Flying Pig, because, from the outside it has the look and feel of a chain restaurant. We subsequently discovered this is the case on the inside, too. Long bar, lots of wood, exposed brick, low lighting, etc., etc. The sometimes boisterous atmosphere is more conducive to conviviality than a quiet dinner for two. The crowd is young and lively.
Flying Pig’s liquid offerings are worthy of note. One, at least, was intoxicatingly educational. We ordered a flight of Jameson Irish whiskies which included their regular, 12-year-old Special Reserve and Black Barrel. It was fun comparing the variations, an opportunity we wouldn’t have had at home without going to a lot of expense. You could gain some heady knowledge from their prodigious lists of whiskies of all stripes and craft beers. They even have craft beer from a cask, the provenance of which changes weekly. Too bad they don’t offer anything brewed in Queens.
As a self-described Irish gastropub, traditional Irish fare occupies menu space with cheese and charcuterie platters, burgers and more gourmet-ish grub. The great thing about a gastropub is that you can snack on tidbits or dine on something more substantial. We did some of each.
Oysters baked with creamed spinach were topped with teensy cubes of bacon. Just a little more pepper would have given this dish what it lacked in zip.
Winter tart, a pastry base topped with braised leeks and mushrooms, crowned with duck sausages and set off with a bit of salad was more interesting.
Fish and chips, an obvious choice at an Irish pub, would have been perfect except for the fish. The fries were outstanding — just the right degree of crunchiness, as was the beer batter on the chips. High marks for the cole slaw and mushy peas as well. The only sour note was the less-than-perfectly-fresh fish, with just a hint of ammonia.
Chicken pot pie was a sight to behold with its puffy puff pastry topper. Sadly, the filling, while generous with the chicken, was intolerably bland. Liberally sprinkling it with salt and pepper made it palatable, but only just.
Flying Pig offers a decent selection of desserts and after dinner drinks. We were refreshed by their Roasted Blend of Berries, which included warm berries with blood orange sorbet and cider jelly. The warm berries with the sorbet made for a nice contrast in temperature, and the dessert, overall was not cloyingly sweet.
The Bottom Line
The Flying Pig is a nice place to imbibe and munch while you socialize. They have live music on Saturdays, and other forms of entertainment on other nights. Their beer and whiskey lists are impressive, and their food appeals to a broad spectrum of appetites.
Suzanne Parker is the TimesLedger’s restaurant critic and author of “Eating Like Queens: A Guide to Ethnic Dining in America’s Melting Pot, Queens, N.Y.” She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
The Flying Pig
70-28 Austin St.
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Cuisine: Irish and other pub fare
Setting: Typical pub décor
Hours: Open seven days for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch
Alcohol: For sure
Children: Small children’s menu
Music: Live music, karaoke, DJs and other special events, check website
Credit cards: Yes
Noise level: Tends towards noisy
Handicap accessible: Yes