2009-11-04 / Restaurant of the Week

Brooks 1890

24-28 Jackson Avenue • Long Island City 718.937.1890

f or a taste of old New York with a solid menu and bar, visit Brooks 1890 Restaurant in Long Island City. As the name suggests, this landmark building, on the corner of Court Square and 45th Road, was built in 1890, and if its walls could talk, they would speak of the long history it has seen. Brooks 1890 has been running as a saloon since 1920 and the original Tiffany


stained glass hutch over the bar remains, along with

the tin ceiling and tile floors that were lovingly restored by the current owners to match the original ones. Today, Brooks 1890 stands proudly between the towering CitiCorp building and the Queens Courthouse and is a convenient stop on several subway lines. The Gounaris family, led by father Bill and sons Anthony and Jim, invite you to enjoy a hearty lunch, dinner or after work Happy Hour with complimentary snacks. Now, they are happy to open on Saturday nights for dinner and cocktails.

…grand dining room accommodates up to 75 people. …grand dining room accommodates up to 75 people. Brooks 1890 teems with patrons at lunchtime, as this neighborhood employs lots of industry, corporate and court workers. There are several tables set around the bar, but the grand dining room just next to it accommodates up to 75 people. This room plays hosts to many private parties and corporate events, including showers, christenings, engagement and anniversary parties and countless holiday parties. In fact, there is still time to make your company’s holiday party reservations. With a customized, reasonably priced menu and efficient service, your party is sure to be a success.

At lunch, enjoy a wide array of hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads and complete entrées. Groups of diners often share an appetizer of spicy Buffalo chicken wings, jalapeño poppers or the “combo” with mozzarella and zucchini sticks, onion rings and crunchy chicken tenders ($8). The chicken “Onorato” is named for our senator and is made with sliced chicken breast sautéed in hot Buffalo sauce, for a boneless, less caloric option.

Some classic pub favorite sandwiches include the “Butcher Boy” made with hot roast beef piled high on a hard roll served with a cup of au jus ($7). Hot corned beef on rye is a N.Y. favorite, as is the classic BLT with crispy bacon ($5). The Cobb salad tosses turkey breast, bacon and sliced egg with lettuce and tomato and your choice of Swiss or bleu cheese. The grilled chicken salad is a light and healthy option and the Greek salad is a crunchy, generously sized plate. Brooks 1890's burgers are 8-ounces, hand-pressed and served on a toasted bun with cole slaw and pickle. Choose beef or turkey burgers with your favorite toppings, or Cajun style, with lots of kick.

Brooks 1890 offers full entrées for lunch, as well as dinner, when dining is relaxed, slower-paced and quiet. For our dinner, we began with crispy baked clams oreganato, served six to an order ($7). Meanwhile, Maureen, the friendly waitress, described the nightly specials which included fresh salmon Cajun style, Dijon or broiled. Fillet of sole Francese was prepared with a light egg batter, in a butter and lemon sauce. This fish was fresh, flaky and delicious. Chicken cordon bleu is chicken breast layered with sliced ham and Swiss cheese, finished with light gravy with mushrooms. The pasta special was rigatoni with hot Italian sausage and marinara sauce. My dining companion opted for classic fried chicken and was thrilled with the crunchy coating and juicy chicken ($11).

Some of the more popular items on the menu include the Cajun pork chops, double cut and prepared with hot cherry peppers ($16). The chef will also prepare juicy shrimp, chicken and the catch of the day Cajun style if you like. Brooks’ meats are top quality, such as the double cut loin lamb chops, tender and juicy, served two to an order. The prime boneless shell steak is a real treat, cut to order and cooked to your liking. Even the broiled half chicken is made special here when you order it “Brooks style” with lemon, oregano and herbs. All entrées are served with your choice of baked potato, mashed, French fries or rice and fresh vegetables of the day. The baked broccoli was delicious, with its cheesy topping. For dessert, the house made rice pudding is creamy and delicious, as is the apple pie, served warm, if you like, or ice cream tartufo.

Brooks 1890 is open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday from 11:30am to 8pm. Now, they’re open for dinner on Saturday nights as well from 5pm to 11pm. During the week, complimentary snacks are offered during Happy Hour.

For a visit to an old New York establishment with good food, friendly service and reasonable prices, try Brooks 1890. Brooks 1890 is an ideal place for your holiday party so call now to secure your date. They’re conveniently located on the 7, E, V and G trains. As the plaque on the wall says, “You’re among friends” at Brooks 1890.

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