2013-07-10 / Restaurant of the Week

Forest Hills Station House

Forest Hills Station House is a unique concept in the neighborhood, offering exceptionally good pub food with a gastronomical twist in a friendly, decidedly hip environment. Though it just opened in April, Forest Hills Station House has already collected a faithful clientele of youthful, savvy diners who appreciate the high quality food, the industrial-chic interior and the excellent cocktails and beer.

The interior is described as “industrial re-purposed” created with wood reclaimed from a barn in Cooperstown, N.Y. Even the sturdy tables and stools were made by Drew, one of the amiable owners, from reclaimed wood. Exposed brick, poured cement floors, butcher shop tiles and exposed bulbs for illumination add to the overall effect. Muted T.V. screens allow you to keep up with your favorite teams without being obtrusive. The four owners, Chris, Michael, Steve, and Drew have many combined years of success owning and running various bars and restaurants in Manhattan and the boroughs and each of them brings something valuable to the table here at Forest Hills Station House. From the highest quality food and spirits, to the extensive staff training, to the cleanliness of the establishment, everything is top notch here.

Forest Hills Station House specializes in cocktails and bottled beers with novel digital boards on the walls that resemble train schedules, boasting the day’s special brews. We tried some of the bourbon-based cocktails, including the Station House Manhattan which is perfectly mixed with barrel aged bitters and garnished with drunken cherries. Enjoy a classic Old-Fashioned, Mint Julep, Cherry Smash, and Station Stormy. An impressive selection of high quality whiskeys, rye, and single malts graces the menu, along with two dozen craft beers and fine wines.

Forest Hills Station House invokes and promotes a sense of community within Forest Hills, with communal tables that invite conversation, and over a dozen “sharing” dishes meant to be enjoyed amongst friends. Indeed my companions and I dove into the chef’s selection of dishes brought our way. Enjoy cocktails, beer or wine with Forest Hills Station House’s charcuterie platter, complete with incredibly delicious house made country paté, cured pork and wild boar salami, chorizo sausage, assorted cheeses and their own apricot chutney. Perhaps their bestselling dish is the short rib kimchi empanadas, and with good reason. These tender, flaky pastries are filled with savory shredded short ribs and pungent kimchi. The unique combination makes for a delicious combination of flavors and textures that I’ll go back for ($9). Next, pickled pepper wings add a new twist to a bar favorite. These whole, jumbo wings are marinated in hot cherry peppers and served crispy and golden with bleu cheese dressing and celery ($9). Many cheese mac is their version of mac and cheese made with corkscrew pasta and, as the name suggests, many cheeses. We devoured a platter of their truffle-drizzled pecorino French fries and the ultra-crunchy, beer-battered onion rings made from sweet Vidalia onions.

The in-house smoker provides many of the signature dishes here including the smoked meat tacos that we practically fought over. A platter of three tacos filled with smoked chicken, brisket, and pulled pork are dressed with lettuce and tomato, wrapped up in soft flour tortillas that are irresistible and a bargain at just $9. Country ribs are smoked and served with bourbon barbecue sauce and freshly shredded slaw. Pork belly is thick cut, house-smoked bacon braised in a bourbon-maple reduction…..bring it on!!

O.K., there’s also crispy haddock and chips with malt vinegar, skillet pizza and fried pickles with spicy, grain mustard.

Between the bread, you’ll find the delicious Austin Street burger with arugula, a fried egg and Dijon mustard, the classic bacon cheddar burger topped with house-cured and smoked bacon, and the Forest Hills Garden burger that vegetarians will appreciate, topped with greens, vegetables and tzatziki sauce. Everyone will love the beet salad composed of arugula, roasted beets, goat cheese and vinaigrette dressing or the Station House wedge of classic iceberg lettuce with creamy gorgonzola, red onion, tomato and fried jalapeños. The evening’s special was a steak panini with jack cheese, caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes.

Raise your white flag of surrender as you order a fried Snickers bar for dessert, topped with bacon and drizzled with bourbon glaze. The Sinful brownie is no less redeeming but equally as delicious and by golly, you deserve it! In short, a visit to Forest Hills Station House is memorable, whether you just stop in for a couple of appetizers and a beer, or enjoy a full meal with a friend. You’ll feel welcome and well fed and you’ll want to come back. This is just what the neighborhood needed.

106-11 71st Ave.  Forest Hills


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