2012-04-11 / Restaurant of the Week

Exo Café

Exo Café in Forest Hills proudly celebrated their first successful year two weeks ago and a festive celebration was attended by many. Congenial owner Peter Kambitsis and manager Sotiri make everyone feel welcome at this chic, yet comfortable café, bar and lounge. The food and drinks are outstanding and the service is friendly and attentive so get on out to Exo Café, which in fact, means “outside” in Greek.

Exo Café’s bartenders mix up fresh, fruity cocktails such as their two most popular: Lychee-tini garnished with fresh lychee fruit and the pear flower martini, made from pear-infused vodka. Frozen drinks such as the frozen appleade, Island Rhythm and Funky Monkey are very popular too. A nice selection of wines is available and Exo Café serves over a dozen craft beers, each in a distinctive glass. This is a great place to relax after work or after a day of shopping on bustling Austin Street. The multi-level eatery features dark wood floors, stacked stone walls and brushed aluminum handrails leading upstairs with views of the pedestrians outside. Tuesday night Karaoke is a big hit so come and sing your heart out while enjoying drink specials and no cover charge ever.

The food is outstanding at Exo Café, because they start with the freshest ingredients, make everything from scratch, to order, and serve it hot. We started with two of their most popular appetizers, which can also be a snack, along with your drink of choice. Kobe beef sliders are made with this exceptional beef, gently grilled with cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle on mini buns ($12.95 for three). The chicken quesadilla could be a meal in itself for its generous filling of fire-roasted chicken, jack cheese, sharp cheddar, avocado and jalapenos ($11.95).

Buffalo wings are prepared with mild, hot or teriyaki sauce. A few spicy options are noted on the menu, including the cheddar cheese sticks and dip with sour cream, green chilis and tortilla chip crust. Onion rings are impossibly light and crisp, thanks to a special beer batter, which makes them hard to resist. Can’t decide? Order a sampler platter and get a taste of the onion rings, Tso’s chicken poppers and cheddar cheese sticks

($12.95).

Exo Café’s dinner menu includes freshly tossed salads, unique burgers and their famous “handwiches” as they are aptly called, since you’ll need both hands to handle these generously sized sandwiches. Starting with freshly baked ciabatta bread, the Exo Handwich is generously filled with freshly grilled chicken breast, red roasted peppers, creamy goat cheese, field greens and roasted garlic sauce. The Chimichurri handwich is filled with tender, grilled, sliced steak that’s been rubbed with spices. The steak is then topped with provolone cheese, tomato and Chimichurri sauce which is made from parsley, garlic and vinegar for a unique flavor sensation ($11.95). All handwiches are served with your choice of their Belgian fries, fabulous onion rings or green salad.

A nice selection of entrées includes a juicy, grilled Cowboy steak that’s been marinated in herbs overnight and grilled to your liking. Topped with mushrooms, onions and demi-glace and served with creamy mashed potatoes, this dish will satisfy even the biggest appetite. I devoured the grilled Ahi tuna, which was cooked to my requested “black and blue”, meaning seared on the outside and raw in the middle, as quality tuna should be eaten. This hefty tuna fillet was supremely fresh and tender, served with arugula and panzanella salad, beautifully presented on a gleaming white platter ($18.95). Next time I’ll try the garlic and herb tilapia, served with fresh vegetables for a light and healthy meal. Exo Café’s burgers are extra special, thanks to a unique smoking process that renders the meat extra juicy and flavorful. The smoked BBQ burger is one of the most popular, topped with zesty sauce, Gouda cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions. Other toppings range from the Hawaiian burger with pineapple and teriyaki glaze, to the Brooklyn pizza burger, and the classic cheese burger ($11.95). The Portobello burger is filled with roasted red peppers, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes for a healthy, delicious meal. Your burger comes with fries, onion rings or mixed greens.

Try to save room for dessert and coffee, which are also extra special. Bailey’s cheesecake is one of the house favorites but we went for the Rocky Road sundae. This rich, walnut brownie is topped with quality ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, which isn’t so decadent if you share it. Peanut butter explosion, berry tart and chocolate lava cake are other irresistible choices, along with their fresh made coffee drinks.

Saturday and Sunday brunch at Exo Café is on everybody’s radar and is served from 10:00am to 3:00pm for $13.95 per person, including a brunch cocktail. Choose among French toast a la mode, Exo’s quesadilla omelet, sweet potato pancakes or tomato cheese melt on ciabatta bread. Come with your friends, your family or your special “someone” and enjoy a delicious meal, snack, lunch or brunch seven days a week. Nightly cocktail specials are on offer each night and don’t forget Tuesday night Karaoke from 8:30pm to after midnight. The door is always open at Exo so get out to Forest Hills and enjoy the great food, drinks and service!

70-20 Austin Street, Forest Hills
718.261-6162

www.exocafe.com

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