47-10 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City, New York, 11101
(718) 937-2044

Long Island City used to be a dumpy warehouse district surrounded by dumpier homes which were surrounded, in turn, by dumpy warehouses. Then someone realized that LIC had incredible views of the midtown Manhattan skyline. Couple that with a neighborhood rezoning and an architectural survey showing that there's a whole lot of bedrock on the waterfront, and a building boom erupted. As I'm writing this, there are close to a dozen buildings going up. Big ones. Big expensive ones.

Long Island City is simple. Nothing's there. There's virtually no shopping. There are no real parks. Even though Fresh Direct is headquartered here and there are million dollar apartments going up as we speak, there's no supermarket unless you count a run-down C-Town on the outskirts. A mere 7-Eleven could corner the market on cold milk and beef jerky. The subways are about ten rubble-strewn, virtually abandoned blocks from any place you'd want to live. Granted, SculptureCenter is here and so is MOMA's PS1 annex (as well as relative proximity to a number of other great art museums and galleries in eastern Queens such as the Museum for African Art, the Fisher-Landau Center, the Museum of the Moving Image, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Noguchi Museum), but that doesn't really make the area more livable from a day-to-day perspective. Clearly, LIC is banking on the new-money high-rises to draw residents who will attract these lacking features.

As for restaurants, they're almost all on one block and there aren't too many choices on it. My hope was that when one of those restaurants is Lounge 47, how many more did you really need? Part of Lounge 47's charm is that it's one of almost no other places to go. There's this feeling of community that it gives off, as though it's an outpost of civilization in a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Everyone here is your friend. And friends are good to have. After all, one day you might need them when it comes time to face down the zombie hordes or roving gangs of anarchist bikers.

The first time I ate at Lounge 47 was for brunch one Sunday afternoon with Bro. It was one of the best brunches I've ever had. We were wandering around looking at neighborhoods for a possible apartment purchase. Forest Hills is unquestionably the best neighborhood in Queens. But LIC has been makings inroads, especially in development, something FH has been seriously lagging behind in.

FH's problem with growth stems largely from both nostalgic, old-farty types and from small developers. The old-timers fight tooth and nail against any idea that comes along under some misconception that anything new is representative of a sort of modern moral decay; pining for the good old days that they recall from when they were five and memory is more what people tell you about from that time (a ghost of a memory) than any real memory in any useful sense. On the other side of the spectrum are the small developers. These guys exist seemingly only to give ammo to the old-timers. They tend to to build low-rise, cookie-cutter-bland, ugly, soulless projects one expects from and is beginning to see spreading beyond the architecturally vapid swamp we know and avoid called Flushing.

Anyway. Enough. We're here to eat, not listen to me whisper sweet nothings.

Bro and I had wanted to eat in Lounge 47's outdoor rear garden. It was hot that day. Sadly, it was crowded out there, so we ate inside. I can't say much about the dumpy furniture, but I won't complain about the food. Having not taken notes that day, I can only tell you what I recall, but the brunch was incredible. They start you off with a little mini muffin or two. I ordered some type of berry pancakes. Buttermilk, I think, with a mountain of fruit, chocolate syrup and maple syrup. A huge amount of food only made more delicious with the side of bacon I ordered with it. Chased down with a mimosa. Naturally, coffee was to follow. Bro went for an Irish Breakfast, which if I can recall was made up of Irish bacon, eggs, sausage, white pudding and black pudding. Delicious, and extremely healthy if you're on Atkins or perhaps have low cholesterol.

I had hoped that dinner would have been as good.

Lounge 47 is about three blocks from the Vernon Avenue 7 Train stop. I arrived before Bro did, so I took a seat at the bar and nursed a beer, getting hungrier with each passing minute and smelling food the entire time. At night, Lounge 47 is a totally different animal from the sunny and bright bright brunch spot I recall. It's pitch black inside, lit almost exclusively by little tealamps that dot every table and bar space. The community feeling is still there though. Regulars were everywhere, judging by how the maitre'd clearly recognised them. It's very casual and relaxed, not trendy and dressed up. It wasn't very crowded. There were some folks eating at the bar, some in the back at the tables, and a few in front in these large booths.

The dinner menu at Lounge 47 is unlike anything I've ever seen. It's absolutely without focus. A heavy chunk of the menu are British concoctions like fish and chips, another piece is Indian, like curry, another piece is Yank comfort food, like macaroni and cheese, and another piece is just plain random. I have been told, it must be noted, that this us the essence of British cuisine.

We started with beer. A Brooklyn Winter Ale for Bro, and a Guinness for me. For appetizers, Bro and I ordered a variety of things. I got the Shepherd's Pie, which was very very good. But I'm biased because I love shepherd's pie and always will. It's ground beef, vegetables, and a topping of mashed potatoes baked golden brown. Ahh, heaven. Bro chose Min's Homemade Pekoras, a deep fried mass of batter dipped onions. The batter is Indian-spiced and the dish comes with a coriander mint dipping sauce. Very good, but humongous. We were later told it was for two. I'd get it again if I wasn't ordering dinner and just wanted to eat while I drank. Our last appetizer was Wasabi Deviled Eggs. Odd, yes, but pretty good. They were hard boiled egg halves with a wasabi-egg-cream filling. That probably sounds revolting but like I said, pretty good.

Our dinner, which we were too full to eat anyway, was more bland. Bro chose the Cod Filet, a filet of fried cod with a creamy roasted pepper sauce over a bed of garlic spinach. It came with a side of mixed greens that was so large, it practically fell off the plate. The cod might as well have been a garnish on the salad. Bro said it was okay, and that's about as much emotion as I could muster up, too. It didn't taste bad, but without the pepper sauce I wonder if it would have tasted at all. My entree was the Chicken Curry served with rice and French fries. Again, not bad, but nothing to write home about. It was spicy in that it used spices, but it wasn't hot and the chicken wasn't tender. It was cut too thick and overcooked. Still, I ate nearly all of it. So I'd still get it again if I didn't want to try their hamburger.

For dessert Bro ordered Key Lime Pie and peppermint tea. The pie was like a large individual tort, not a slice, coated in heapings of whipped cream. When you bit into it, it was very sweetly smooth, with a follow-up of tangy sourness. Bro liked it a lot, saying he thinks it was one of the best he can remember. I prefer my key lime pie slightly less sour and always velvety smooth. I wasn't too impressed with my dessert, the Coffee Creme Brulee, which was regrettably a little bitter due to it's coffee flavor combined with an excess charring of the sugar crust, and an Irish Coffee, which I had not ever had up until this point. Legend has it that it started off at the Shannon airport in Ireland as a pick-me-up for world-weary travellers. For those who don't know what that is, it's coffee with a little bit of Jameson whiskey and a whole lot of whipped cream. And it kicks like a mule. Maybe it's supposed to, or maybe the bartender decided to be generous. Either way, if I finished it off, I'd have been giving my dinner to the sidewalk on the way home.

I don't fully recall the brunch price. Somewhere between $15 and $20 per person. Our dinner of three beers, three appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, a peppermint tea, and a super-powerful Irish Coffee came to $94 flat with tax and tip.

I really really like Louge 47. Other than the mediocre food, I'd go there as a regular if I lived nearby and I'd tell people to go there for a spot to eat if they were in the area and hungry. My problem was that I decided to try things that weren't bar-food-ish and look at things from a culinary perspective when I should have been looking at it like this: Where can I go where I can grab a brew with some friends that's got a a cool, mellow atmosphere that's not dead, but not loud and obnoxious; where I can eat something that will taste good while keeping me nicely closer to buzzed than drunk? Aha. Lounge 47.

PS: This part is for Fresh Direct. About the supermarket. If you opened up a supermarket annex, you'd corner the market. That said, I copyright this idea, so I want a modest cut. Seriously. Call me, we'll talk. Modest.

You Might Also Like



The contents of this website/weblog are the property of its author and are protected under the copyright and intellectual property laws of the United States of America. The views expressed within are the opinions of the author. All rights reserved.

Readers are free to copy and distribute the material contained within, but such external use of the author's original material must be properly attributed to the author. Attribution may be through a link to the author's original work. Derivative use is prohibited. The borrower may not alter, transform, or build upon the work borrowed.

The author is free to change the terms of this copyright at any time and without notice. At the written request by the borrower, the author may choose to waive these rights.