BAR 36


Bar 36 has CLOSED...
BAR 36
36-05 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 715-4420

Astoria feels swamped in trendy new restaurants. Down every block and around every corner is a brand new, neon-lit cafe that oozes sexiness. Bar 36 is one of these new, sexy cafes. It's half bar/lounge, half restaurant. It's exactly what people wouldn't expect from a Queens establishment. Then again, have I ever positively written about a place that fulfills one's stereotypical expectations? Hardly. To do so would be a waste of time. Bar 36 is dark and modern and moody and sexy to its core. The large individual bathrooms, with their custom sinks, individual cloth hand towels, and large mirrors are just begging people to mile-high club it in them.

The first time I'd been here, it was just for drinks, which just happens to be their specialty. The bartender I had, whose name I lost long ago whipped up a custom cocktail just from a concept that had been floating in my head. Then he gave it to me for free. It was incredible. All of the custom cocktails I've had here are.

As for the food, Bar 36 describes itself in a way that alludes to some American-Mediterranean blend. A mix of Greek and Italian and Moroccan and American. But I'm calling it American. American with a twist, but American.

D and I showed up here at 9-ish. Rather late, I thought, for dinner. So I was surprised that on this particular Friday, the place was pretty quiet. The last time I was here, they were bustling. We grabbed a table in the back by the large windows that open to what would be a rear patio in warmer weather, and ordered some drinks. Quick note: the window leaks. We moved to a less drafty spot and they immediately cranked the heater.

For an appetizer, D ordered the Caprese Salad, an Italian classic that, as I'm sure you know, is simply tomato and mozzarella with olive oil. It's good stuff, but it's simple and not the most culinarily exciting thing on the menu. Not that I really did much better. In my defense, most of Bar 36's appetizers are salads and I'm not a salad guy. I ordered the Crisp Calamari, a fried calamari dish served with sautéed olives and garlic. It was delicious, but it was huge. This is an appetizer for two. It was bigger than my entrée.

Come entrée time, D chose the Georgia Peach Chicken, a chicken breast topped with peaches and a brandy pecan glaze. It came with a small mesculin salad on the side. I regret to say sounds way better than it was, especially since I was pushing for D to order it. The topping was excellent and she couldn't stop praising it, but the chicken itself was bland. Almost tasteless. Another quick note: the menu we ordered off of will be re-vamped and this dish won't be on the new one. The new menu is online and many of the dishes are new and look awesome. Speaking of awesome, my entree was awesome. I ordered the New York Espresso Strip Steak, a grilled strip steak rubbed in espresso and served under a sambuca cream sauce, also with a mesculin side salad. Amazing. One of the best steaks I've had in ages. And I just recently ate at The Palm. It was somewhat fatty and it's excruciatingly heavy, but I'm seriously considering going out of my way later to have this again. This will be on the new menu, but with a potato side dish that the current incarnation is without.

For dessert, we shared a Coconut Creme Brulee. Also delicious. At first we both wondered where the coconut was, but then, right at the back end, it showed up. Like a ghost came this little hint of coconut to round out the vanilla and the sugar. No coffee, we had more drinking to do.

Two appetizers, two entrees, a dessert and four drinks, plus tax and tip totaled $115 even.

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