2009-04-01 / Restaurant of the Week

Relax at Grand Cafe

by Teresa Barile

Relax at Grand Cafe

by Teresa Barile

 
Enjoy a slice of café life at Astoria's Grand Café, on 30th Avenue. Anytime is a great time to stop in for a European style breakfast, hot and cold coffee drinks, lunch, dinner, late night snacks or their fabulous weekend brunch. Grand Café is always buzzing with the chatter of friends relaxing at rattan tables and wicker chairs which lend a laid back note to the décor. Cozier lounge areas are ideal for intimate conversation well into the evening. Grand Café opened nearly four years ago by six friends who have maintained their commitment to quality food, drinks and good customer service.

Signature cocktails are mixed at the impressive bar, backlit by an aquarium filled with colorful, tropical fish. Watch them swim by from low slung, velvet stools at the bar, or get a table with friends and order one of their specialty drinks such as the pomegranate and vodka martini, classic martini, a variety of fresh fruit mojitos or a Brazilian caipirinha. Wines by the glass or bottle from Argentina, France, Italy and Chile are reasonably priced. Imported and domestic beers are offered, along with soft drinks and delicious coffee concoctions.

Appetizers at Grand Café are meant to be shared and offer something for everyone. The dip platter was a generous portion of artichoke and spinach dip, roasted garlic hummus and creamy tzatziki, all to be scooped up by warm triangles of pita bread ($12.75). The quesadillas are grilled to perfection and filled with chicken, vegetables or melted cheese, served with guacamole, sour cream and salsa. The crab and shrimp spring rolls are light and crispy, served with a tangy sweet and sour sauce ($9.75 for six). Crispy calamari rings and hand cut chicken tenders with honey mustard offer plenty to share. The Grand Platter offers a great option for the whole table as it provides a sampling of mozzarella sticks, Buffalo wings, calamari rings, chicken tenders, spring rolls and quesadillas ($19). Meat lovers can try the mixed grill of skirt steak, grilled chicken and Greek sausage called "loukaniko", practically a meal in itself. The Grand cheese platter is perfect to pair with a nice bottle of wine. The really nice thing about these delicious appetizers is that they can be the start of a meal, or can provide nibbles along with drinks any time of day or even late into the night.

 
Wraps and Panini are available any time of day or night as well, to satisfy your hunger and your taste buds. The chicken kabab wrap contains chunks of tender, grilled chicken, feta cheese, lettuce, tomato and a dab of creamy tzatziki sauce. The classic "toast" is made with either ham or turkey and your choice of cheese, including American, Swiss, Bleu, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella or Provolone…talk about having it YOUR way! You can even choose your bread such as sourdough, flat Panini or seven grain and can have your sandwich pressed on the grill for extra flavor and gooey cheese on the inside. The Grand steak Panini is made with mozzarella cheese and caramelized onions and roasted peppers and all sandwiches are served with your choice of field greens or crispy, shoestring French fries. For a little more, you can have sweet potato fries. Individual pizzas are baked on the spot with your choice of toppings for a nice lunch or dinner.

If you prefer a main course, Grand Café has selections in meat, fish, pasta, chicken and vegetables to please everyone. My pan seared salmon was excellent, perfectly cooked, moist and flavorful and served with a mélange of zucchini, eggplant, squash and peppers ($17.50). The skirt steak is marinated, then grilled to order for a meltin your-mouth meal. My

companion's chicken kebab platter offered two large skewers of seasoned, grilled chicken, with lots of healthy vegetables. All entrées are served with a small house salad and a choice of two sides including rice, fries, mashed potatoes and mixed fresh vegetables.

 

Don't forget Grand Café's ever popular brunch served on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10am until 4pm. The $11 fixed price includes a brunch cocktail, eggs, omelets, fritattas, pancakes and French toast, salads, their famous burger and more. Grand Café prepares breakfast every morning, so you can stop in on your way to work. The coffee bar mixes up all sorts of hot and cold coffee drinks and a variety of teas. Desserts include Junior's creamy cheesecake, classic créme brulee, European pastries, rice pudding and chocolate soufflé. Grand Café's tender crepes are prepared with both sweet and savory fillings, such as strawberries and bananas, nutella, ham and cheese and more. Any time is a good time for a crepe and some freshly brewed coffee.

Plan your next private party at Grand Café, where the private room in the rear accommodates 55 people and offers a separate bar, sound system and restrooms for your guests. Grand Café is your "go to" place for a great lunch, brunch, dinner or cocktails and conversation. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a slice of café life at Grand Café, open seven days a week from 8am until 2am on weeknights and 3:30am on weekends.

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