2009-11-18 / Restaurant of the Week

PETE’S GRILL

P ete’s Grill is the place to eat…anytime, 24 hours a day. Pete’s Grill is conveniently located on Queens Blvd. and 39th Street, and is the first diner you’ll see coming from the Queensboro Bridge. Proprietor Pete Moundros opened his eponymously named restaurant two years ago after taking over the old Sunlight Diner. Complete renovations leave almost nothing from the old diner. Instead, Moundros’ pride shows in the sparkling clean windows, booths, counters and display cases containing mouth-watering desserts. Pete has a lifetime of experience in the restaurant business and warmly greets his customers, many of whom are regulars who come for the fresh, delicious food served in a clean, comfortable environment. There’s even a small parking lot, but I just walked down the stairs from the 7 train’s 40th Street stop. There

are two dining areas, each with lovely, murals of Santorini, painted by Moundros’ cousin. The friendly staff adds to the pleasant atmosphere.

 

Orders buzz from the kitchen to the tables all day and night, and piping hot orders fly out the door to homes and offices thanks to an on-line ordering system, or the old-fashioned telephone. I can’t wait to come back for brunch at Pete’s Grill, served Saturdays and Sundays from 6am to 4pm. Specialty dishes such as eggs Benedict, with creamy hollandaise sauce, fluffy omelets, Belgian waffles and thick-sliced French toast are accompanied by cups of robust coffee or Bloody Marys, mimosas or screwdrivers. Weekday breakfast is popular as people rush off to work. As a matter of fact, breakfast is served 24 hours a day, as is lunch or any item on the menu; a big plus in the city that never sleeps.

I visited at dinner time and was seated at a comfortable booth and offered something to drink from the full cocktail bar. I chose a nice red wine and began perusing the menu offerings. The quesadillas make a nice appetizer to share, as they are packed with chicken, shrimp or beef, on a flour tortilla with cheddar cheese, guacamole and salsa ($5.95). Pete’s has home style chicken fingers with your choice of dipping sauce, buffalo chicken wings and crispy calamari rings. The combo platter will offer a sampling of some of these favorites for all to share. House made soups of the day may include chicken noodle, beef barley or broccoli cheddar.

Pete’s Grill features nightly dinner specials that simply cannot be beat considering the variety of entrées and the prices. Each complete dinner comes with your choice of soup or crunchy house salad, an entrée and a glass of wine. Savory chicken rollatini is stuffed with ricotta cheese and topped with tomato sauce over a mound of linguine ($11.95). Chicken carbonara is sautéed tender chicken breast with peas, bacon and Alfredo sauce, served over fettuccine. Greek mousaka is a house specialty, made with layers of potato, ground meat and béchamel sauce for just $10.95. The roast loin of pork is juicy and tender, served with potatoes and grilled vegetables. ($14.95). Pete’s Grill offers only certified Angus steaks, always fresh. The broiled rib-eye is 14-16 ounces of delicious steak, cooked to your order along with potatoes and vegetables for just $22.95. I devoured the pork chops seasoned with lemon, thyme and black pepper and cooked as I had asked, and served with some of the best grilled vegetables ever. I was pleasantly surprised by the mélange of freshly grilled yellow squash, zucchini, red, green and yellow peppers. I

gave a “thumbs up” sign to the chef in the kitchen for a job well done.

 

There are plenty of sautéed and grilled chicken dishes such as the honey-lime grilled chicken and chicken primavera with sun-dried tomatoes and mixed vegetables. I love the comfort of the oven roasted turkey dinner and southern fried chicken. If you prefer fish and seafood, the chef does a nice job with blackened tilapia, broiled salmon or fillet of sole, and shrimp scampi, cooked with lots of garlic and white wine. Don’t forget the classic Greek gyro platter, chicken souvlaki and spinach pie.

At lunch time, the burgers, sandwiches, Panini and wraps keep the phone ringing off the hook with orders. The burgers are 8-ounces of certified Angus beef and are never frozen. There are over a dozen varieties of toppings as well as turkey, chicken and salmon burgers. All the Panini sandwiches are made on focaccia bread and served warm from the grill. Chicken parm remains a favorite, as does the Cubano with roasted pork loin, grilled ham, melted Swiss and spicy mustard ($6.95). Gourmet wraps are prepared to order with your choice of whole wheat or plain tortillas and filled with a variety of meats, vegetables and cheeses to please all tastes. A wrap called “The Valley” is particularly popular, filled with grilled marinated chicken breast, roasted Italian peppers, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and chipotle dressing. The Northeastern is filled with juicy roast beef, grilled onions and melted cheese. Keep it light with grilled salmon, greens and a squeeze of lime. Traditional diner sandwiches such as the classic Reuben, brisket sandwich and BBQ chicken sandwich will keep you going until dinner and beyond. Pete’s salads are freshly tossed and generously sized to make a meal, whether you choose the spinach salad, Greek, Chef or Mexican salad, you'll be pleased.

Save room for some of Pete’s Grill desserts, such as the light and fluffy tiramisu layer cake, old fashioned banana cream pie and red velvet cake.

Pete’s Grill is always open, seven days a week, 24 hours a day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and weekend brunch. With delicious fresh food, nightly dinner specials, clean and comfortable dining rooms, modern restrooms and friendly service, Pete’s Grill is “The Place to Eat.” Stop in or order on-line with free delivery.

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