2012-09-19 / Restaurant of the Week

Austin’s Steak & Ale House

By Teresa Barile

Congratulations are in order for Austin’s Steak & Ale House in Kew Gardens as they celebrate 20 years in business serving the Queens community. With good ownership and management, dozens of beers, and a solid menu that features great steak, burgers, salads, and more, Austin’s Steak & Ale House has been a stronghold in the neighborhood since 1992.

Before ‘craft beers’ were trendy, Austin’s has been pouring dozens of them from around the world. Austin’s Steak & Ale House draws a strong after-work crowd, as they are situated track-side to the LIRR Kew Gardens station. This quiet, leafy, other-worldly community in Queens makes you feel like you’ve gotten away, but it’s just blocks from the hustle and bustle of Queens Boulevard. Indeed, with its lovely outdoor patio flanked by gardens and a trickling fountain that will remain open until it gets cold, you’ll really feel like you’ve gone somewhere special. Inside, a number of cozy dining rooms include well-dressed tables and a convivial bar. Austin’s welcomes families, friends, co-workers, and provides catered events for any occasion.

Since Austin’s Steak & Ale House specializes in international brews, we started with a sampling of Lindemans Framboise from Belgium, which was a frothy, raspberry brew, almost like a dessert, with a nice kick. The same is true for the pear cider from Sweden with its gentle effervescence. Delirium Tremens from Belgium packs a punch and comes with a special glass to maximize enjoyment of this heady brew. Cocktails such as the Mexatini, skinny peach margarita, Maker’s Mark Manhattan, and the Cruzan rum Caribbean Breeze are all delightful. There are also single malt scotches, whisky and premium bourbons for all tastes.

John, the welcoming manager, offered us some of their most ordered appetizers including the homemade crab cakes, replete with sweet crabmeat, mild seasoning and a somewhat spicy Chipotle sauce on the side that punctuated the crab cakes ($13.95 for 2). Sambuca gulf shrimp are sautéed with lots of garlic, diced tomatoes and a creamy sauces flavored with Sambuca. They are beautifully presented in a gleaming white platter with garlic toast points and there’s plenty to share. Clams on the half shell are popular at the bar, or you may try the clams oreganata, baked with breadcrumbs and garlic, broiled until crispy and golden ($12.95). Fresh mussels are prepared in your choice of tomato garlic sauce or white wine garlic sauce. Either way, you’ll want to soak up all the delicious sauce with the warm rolls brought to your table. The bar crowd (and everyone else) loves the Buffalo chicken wings, which are meaty and tender, prepared with your choice of traditional hot sauce, teriyaki sauce, or honey chipotle for a taste of sweet and hot. Cheese quesadillas are great for sharing with two tortillas loaded with a combination of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, then topped with house made salsa and guacamole. You can add chicken or steak to these quesadillas, and even make a meal out of one. Eat your greens with one of Austin’s freshly tossed salads such as the goat cheese salad composed of tender mesclun greens, creamy goat cheese, and crunchy walnuts drizzled with zesty raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The spinach salad is tossed with sliced pears, cranberries, red onions, slivered almonds and balsamic vinaigrette. You can also add grilled shrimp or chicken to these delightful salads, making a complete meal.

The menu contains an entire page of burgers, so you can be sure that Austin’s Steak & Ale House knows a thing or two about America’s favorite hand-held meal. To name just a few, the “Blue Label Burger” is the best-in-class with 12 ounces of Angus beef on a brioche roll with truffle fries. The “Big Kahuna” has gained in popularity with a slab of pineapple, cheddar cheese, and teriyaki glaze on a brioche roll. Dare I mention the “Coronary Burger” topped with a fried egg, three slices of American cheese, four slices of bacon, and mayonnaise on a brioche bun. Don’t tell your doctor about that one, but boy is it good!

Entrees are meat-centric and Austin’s serves only the best quality meats and chops available. I can’t say enough about the New Zealand rack of lamb, cooked to our precise specifications and served with mint jelly. These lamb chops were supremely tender and meaty with very little fat, served with vegetables and house-made mashed potatoes. Skirt steak churrasco is a tender, marinated skirt steak coated in heady chimichurri sauce and served with garlic French fries ($27.95). The hefty portion left plenty for another dinner the next day. All your dinner entrees may be accompanied by a flight of beers for tasting. We sampled four wonderful brews served on a quaint wooden board: Doc’s cider, Smithwick’s, Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest, and Blue Point toasted lager from Long Island. Pick your favorite and order a pint.

Chicken Marsala and piccata offer familiar favorites, while the seafood is top-notch. Seafood fra diavolo is one of the house favorites; a mélange of shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce that is poured over al dente pasta. Pan seared salmon is placed over fettuccine with leeks and zucchini for a lighter, healthier meal.

Each night of the week features a special, so come on Mondays for 16-ounce prime rib of beef for just $15.95. Tuesdays offer 1 ½ -pound lobster and glass of house wine for $21.95. Wednesdays offer specials on wine and two for one appetizers, and Thursdays offer 16-ounce grilled New York Strip steak and draught for $21.95.

Colleen, our friendly, efficient waitress, also happens to be an accomplished pastry chef was quick to recommend some of their famous desserts. By far, the ‘Runny Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae” with its melted chocolate center, defies description. Suffice to say it’s a chewy, chocolatey, gooey concoction served with premium vanilla ice cream. Black bottom pie is a brownie pie served with ice cream and the apple crumb pie has old fashioned flavor and crumbs. Austin’s Steak & Ale House has a great Sunday brunch, served with fresh fruit cup, house made muffins, mini bagels, one brunch cocktail, coffee and tea. Classic eggs Benedict, challah French toast, breakfast burrito, and eggs Florentine with spinach are just some of the options, best enjoyed outdoors on the patio, while the weather permits.

Congratulations Austin’s Steak & Ale House on good food and friends, in leafy Kew Gardens.

82-70 Austin St. (Lefferts Blvd.)
Kew Gardens  718.849.3939

www.austinsteakandalehouse.com

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