Nestled right off Bell Boulevard, aperitif has developed an impressive following thanks to its handsome interior with the stunning atmosphere of an intimate bistro; warm, friendly service; and a reliably great, unique menu.
Every night that I pass the bistro, there is action at the bar. It’s an intimate setting with warm wood tones and comfortable stools placed around the roomy bar. As I entered the dining room, I was impressed by the beautiful mural in the step-up dining area. The designers have taken great thought to make me feel like I’m in a charming place far from the bustle of Bayside’s busy shopping district.
The dark wood tables and linen napkins are set on top of placemats that identify the other restaurants owned by Aperitif’s owners.
There are a few new items on the menu that were winners. I was particularly impressed with the over a pound of lobster in a tasty “Montauk style” roll. It reminded me of my days on the East End. Another mouthwatering appetizer was the pistachio-crusted scallops with an apple parsnip purée served on a bed of lettuce. There’s a creative chef in the kitchen.
There are several salads including my favorite – fresh seafood salad tossed in perfectly blended light lemon and olive oil to enrich the shrimp, scallops, lobster and mixed greens.
There are similar dishes for lunch and dinner at the bistro, lounge and bar. I particularly enjoyed the sesame-crusted tuna surrounded by seaweed salad. It melted in my mouth. New on the menu is a seasonal winner – butternut squash gnocchi in a light creamy white wine pesto – simply the best flavored gnocchi I ever ate!
To finish my meal, there were tempting desserts I could have had such as the berries in a sabayon sauce or the warm chocolate cake, but I ate a delicious creamy pumpkin bread pudding topped with cinnamon ice cream. Most remarkable!
Aperitif is celebrating its first anniversary but we should be celebrating having such a remarkable restaurant on Queens’ Restaurant Row in Bayside.
Aperitif is located at 213-41 39th Ave. It’s open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. 718-215- 6470.
A wonderful and beautifully renovated restaurant in Flushing
One of my favorite places to dine in Flushing is at the Sheraton Laguardia East Hotel. The restaurant closed for a total redo of both the interior and the menu and reopened under the classy and elegant Charles Chan as his new concept restaurant, brasserie du Dragon. It is a treat to the eye and palate, a fabulous addition to the bustling exciting food scene in downtown Flushing.
I had the pleasure of dining with Charles and his charming wife Daphne and friends philanthropist seth kupferberg and the indomitable, powerful Claire Shulman. We sat in a private room, one of five that are available for private dining. They surround the handsome main room done in subtle colors with the logo of the restaurant seen throughout the roomy, elegant space.
We sat at a round table for six or eight (other rooms accommodate up to 25 people), and were offered a choice of lychee, peach, jasmine oolong or rose tea to begin, to enhance our meal.
We started our feast with my favorite dim sum selections and sesame toast, and then delicious warm soup. The appetizers also included meaty ribs – finger-licking good! But I was most impressed by the silver cod done in a Sacha sauce that was remarkably soft and tender. There was also the best Beijing duck I ever ate.
There is a full bar for your martini or wine choice but I stayed with the unique teas that perfectly matched each dish.
This is a not-to-be-missed dining experience and even offers underground free parking at the hotel. Try it. You too will love it!
Brasserie du Dragon is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and breakfast is also served. Banquet rooms are available for groups of up to 400 people.
It is located at 135-20 39th Ave. 718-670-7400.