Of The Week
Sanford’s Has Manhattan Cuisine And Fine Wine
At Astoria Prices
Sanford’s formerly the Sanford Diner, has been a fixture on Broadway in Astoria for over 70 years and has consistently catered to the ever-changing tastes of the faithful clientele it serves. Brothers Chris and Gus Karalekas took over the family restaurant about 12 years ago and have been making wonderful improvements ever since. They, along with Executive Chef Nick Pellettieri, have elevated the menu and wine list to compete with many Manhattan establishments. However, the prices have been kept amazingly low to make their fine cuisine accessible to all. Sanford’s is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for everything from a tasty wrap sandwich to weekend brunch to a complete dinner, with fine wine.
You’ll be surprised to find an 18-ounce New York cut steak au poivre on the menu. All Sanford’s steak is certified Black Angus, the highest quality available. Classic steak frite is another excellent choice, served with their famous seasoned fries ($17.95). Complement your meal with wine from Chris’ own selections at very affordable prices. A Mondavi Coastal Cabernet is just $14, for example. A Canaletto Primitivo from Italy nicely accompanies chopped veal steak, served with fried shallots.
Sanford’s serves only the freshest, highest quality fish and seafood. One entrée that you should try is the pecan-crusted yellow fin tuna. This is sushi-grade tuna, encrusted with crushed pecans and seared to perfection with grill marks, about an eighth of an inch into the meaty fish. The inside remains pink, as it should. The generous portion of tuna is then expertly sliced and served against a mound of wilted spinach and oven-roasted potatoes. A swirl of wasabi sauce makes this dish a feast for the eyes and the discerning palate. Best of all, this dish is only $14.95. (I’ve paid at least twice that in downtown restaurants). Try Alaskan halibut with a sun-dried tomato crust, served over warm tomato and corn salsa.
Sanford’s has great pasta dishes too, such as creamy risotto, toothsome Italian arborio rice, slowly cooked with three kinds of mushrooms or with shrimp and saffron for just $14.95. Try tender ravioli stuffed with lump crabmeat or with Portobello mushrooms and mozzarella. There’s also Mediterranean fettuccine, tossed with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese and white wine ($12.95).
Start with a couple of their great new appetizers, with special kudos for the Maryland crab cakes, made with sweet lump crab meat and served with mesclun greens and remoulade sauce. The coconut shrimp are just divine, especially with the accompanying red onion marmalade. Sharing an order of butternut squash ravioli, topped with almond sage cream sauce is another possibility.
Lunchtime offers many delicious options, especially new, homemade focaccia sandwiches, piled high with everything from roasted vegetables, chicken breast and pesto sauce to steak. The steak focaccia sandwich features sliced shell steak, avocado, red onion, tomato and cheddar cheese atop warm, freshly baked focaccia bread. Herb chicken focaccia is topped with bacon and melted mozzarella for a satisfying meal. Served with French fries and cole slaw, this huge sandwich is perfect for dinner, too. A variety of wraps stuffed with chicken, vegetables, or shrimp salad also satisfies a big appetite. Of course, their juicy burgers, triple-decker sandwiches and salads are made fresh to order and served quickly to get you on your way.
Come in for breakfast any day, on your way to work or come for weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The $9.95 prix-fixe menu includes champagne mimosa, juice, coffee, home fries and any entrée you desire, including five varieties of eggs Benedict, banana-chocolate chip pancakes, or their much-requested Western brunch quesadilla with guacamole and sour cream
Although you’ll be stuffed after a meal at the Sanford Restaurant, try to save room for one of their tantalizing desserts. Bourbon pecan pie is a big seller and the peanut butter pie is rich with chocolate and creamy peanut butter. Caramel apple pie is delicious, served warm. The rice pudding is also excellent. A hot cup of coffee or tea goes especially well with the desserts.
Enjoy upscale cuisine at neighborhood prices and local Astoria flavor at Sanford’s. Open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They’re just downstairs from the Broadway stop of the N train, so stop in on your way home from work for a fabulous meal.