2006-06-21 / Restaurant of the Week

Michael's Restaurant

33-17 Broadway, Astoria 718.726.7474 Fax: 718.726.1991

33-17 Broadway, Astoria 718.726.7474 Fax: 718.726.1991

          Michael's Restaurant has been a part of the Astoria community for the past 22 years through its continually adapting to accommodate its changing clientele as well as the throngs of long-time customers. Recently, a charming new faade was completed that includes French doors that open to the street, flanked by colorful, hanging plants. Wooden banquettes, exposed brick and vintage photos create a neat and comfortable atmosphere. The menu has been updated as well, and offers nearly anything you could want at any time, day or night. Fast, friendly service and a complete bar and notable wine list add even more to the experience.

Michael's Restaurant offers fresh fish and seafood, steaks, chops and a host of sauted dishes. A new list of pasta dishes with fresh sauces, vegetables or seafood is available each night and is quite popular. Visit at dinnertime when complete specials cost only $11.95 on weeknights and $14.95 on weekends. The one low price includes a cup of their home-style soup or a freshly tossed salad, choice of main course, potato, vegetable, dessert and coffee. A basket of fresh bread and crackers goes well with a cup of homemade chicken soup, lentil or clam chowder. The entre choices on the evening we visited included baked lamb with stewed green beans, grilled shell steak with crisp onion rings and roast Perdue chicken with stuffing. Fresh, whole red snapper or snapper fillet is grilled with olive oil, lemon and herbs for a light and healthy meal. Striped bass, meaty tuna and swordfish all can be prepared to your liking.

          If you prefer to select from the a la carte menu, you'll choose among appetizers such as Michael's famous charcoal grilled, marinated octopus, served with fresh lemon wedges. Grilled shrimp dressed with lemon and served on a bed of arugula were as good as any found in fancier seafood restaurants and fried calamari rings are light, crisp and tender. Grilled Portobello mushrooms topped with melted mozzarella taste like barbecued steak, and there's plenty to share. Home-style crunchy mozzarella sticks dipped into the zesty marinara sauce are perfect for sharing.

The pasta dishes include delicious linguine with shrimp a la Michael's with arugula, scallions, mushrooms and garlic ($16.95), and linguine topped with shrimp, asparagus and capers. Creamy fettuccine Alfredo can be spruced up with chunks of chicken, smoky pancetta or tender shrimp. I enjoyed a heaping bowl of pasta tossed with sauted artichoke hearts, scallions, zucchini, mushrooms and red peppers. This dish is a great choice for vegetarians, and there was plenty left to take home.

The chef prepares tender chicken or veal marsala, Francese or piccata style in no time at all, and all entrees come with salad, potato and vegetables.

For dessert, try creamy cheesecake with top quality cream cheese as its secret ingredient. There are also black and white mousse cakes, carrot cake and apple crumb cake. Kids, big and small, will love banana splits and ice cream sundaes. I'm a sucker for good old-fashioned rice pudding or chocolate pudding with whipped cream.

At lunchtime, you'll want to try some of the new panini sandwiches, filled with grilled vegetables, meats and cheeses. Healthy wraps and salads can be eaten in the dining room, or wrapped up to go. The Broadway wrap is filled with fresh roast turkey, jack cheese, roasted red peppers, spinach and choice of dressing. A tuna nicoise salad combines baby greens, green beans, hard cooked egg, cucumber and olives with a vinaigrette dressing. How about a club sandwich with grilled chicken, crisp bacon, melted Swiss and Dijon mustard? The Reuben sandwich oozes melted Swiss and Russian dressing. Their 7-ounce charcoal grilled hamburgers require two hands to hold them. They're served with cole slaw and pickle, or deluxe style, with fries as well.

Brunch is served Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. There are dozens of items to choose among, such as fluffy three-egg omelets with choice of fillings, eggs Benedict with smoky Canadian bacon or special oat bran pancakes with fruit. Brunch costs just $9.95 and includes coffee or tea and two complimentary drinks. Come in on weekdays for breakfast to stay or packed to go, including giant muffins, bagels and rolls, eggs and omelets. French toast made with challah bread served with crisp bacon is one of my favorites. A traditional Irish breakfast with traditional Irish bacon and sausage, two eggs, pudding and grilled tomato is served also.

Michael's Restaurant is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with free delivery. Call or fax in your order to be delivered to your home or office. Stop in any time for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack. Enjoy the view with the new open faade and relax over a great meal at Michael's Restaurant.

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