2014-05-28 / Restaurant of the Week

Republic Bar Pizza

Republic is Astoria’s newest and hottest addition to its already sizzling dining and lounge scene. With an ‘outpost’ location on Astoria Boulevard, just across the road from the police station and practically downstairs from the N/Q train stop, Republic is on your way or should be your destination for great cocktails, fabulous pizza, appetizers and salads. Opened just four weeks ago, Republic is decorated in modern/rustic style with reclaimed wood, retro wallpaper and cozy banquettes. The bi-level dining room overlooks the open kitchen where the pizza oven glows with heat. The unusual angles of the structure itself and the cool marble topped bar with gold backed mirrors make Republic visually pleasing but it doesn’t end there…the food is equally as pleasing to the palate.

The four friends, Astoria natives, and owners of Republic, Stu, Nick, Jack and John have their fingers on the pulse of Astoria’s nightlife after years of success at Grand Café on 30th Avenue. Here, friends, couples and even families can come for great oven-fired pizza, cocktails and more, seven nights a week. There’s even valet parking if you need it.

A professional mixologist created the cocktail menu, with many drinks named after the owners or their families. The “Sir Thomas” margarita goes down easily thanks to premium tequila. The “Always Vacationing” cocktail is mixed with fresh cucumber, Pimm’s, citrus and ginger ale for a refreshing summer drink that lets you escape, if only for the evening. Great wines and beers are available too. Everything at Republic is easy, from the one-page menu to the simple, fresh, healthy, non-processed ingredients, to the friendly, unpretentious service. You can feel good about a meal here, so just sit in one of the plush leather banquettes, or at a bar height table and soak in the ambience and the aromas from the kitchen while you sip one of their refreshing cocktails, wine or beer. Next, you’ll want to share some appetizers, a “must” being their soon-tobe famous meatballs. These meatballs are made with mild herbs and lots of love, swimming in delicious tomato sauce flecked with fresh basil and garlic ($8). Soak it all up with their piping hot pane al forno bread from the oven. Imported mozzarella di bufala is served with paper-thin prosciutto, drizzled with olive oil. A platter of assorted Italian formaggi, or Caprese salad with mozzarella and tomato are also fine starters and all offer plenty to share.

Though they are listed as ‘side’ dishes, you can also start with an order of their verdant, marinated kale, dressed with fine olive oil, lemon and sea salt, or healthy Brussel sprouts seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, garlic and lemon. Republic has fantastic salads, served family style in large bowls so one is probably enough to share at the table. We loved “The Constitution” which is a toss of seasonal greens, gorgonzola, dried cherries and candied pecans sprinkled with red wine vinaigrette. The “Plato” salad is named for the author of “The Republic” and the “Julius Caesar” is named for a leader of the Roman Republic. Each of these fresh, healthy salads makes an excellent accompaniment for one of the hot, crispy pizzas that are fired up to order in just minutes.

Republic Bar Pizza makes excellent pizza on a very thin, crisp crust that’s topped with fresh, healthy toppings so you’re never weighed down. They are served piping hot on a cutting board and could be eaten by one person, but why not order two different kinds and share the joy? “The Republic” is a great one to try topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, parmigiano, arugula and bits of smoky Italian bacon called pancetta ($14). “The Grand Central” pizza bubbles with fresh mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, parmigiano and arugula, while the “Killa Kale” gets a healthy touch of kale amidst tomato, mushrooms and parmigiano. There is the classic Margherita, pepperoni, and Quattro formaggi, and Republic also has two vegan options. The “Vegan Wheel” is topped with tomato, mushrooms, artichokes and olives and “The Dude” is topped with tomato, garlic, fresh eggplant, oregano and cashew ricotta. We also devoured the “Don Corleone” with mozzarella di bufala, roasted Brussel sprouts, diced pancetta, and parmigiano.

For dessert, everyone ogles over Republic’s Nutella calzone, light and crispy, filled with creamy Nutella and dusted with powdered sugar. This is also prepared with a light crust so it won’t weigh you down. The crispy cannoli, panna cotta, and tiramisu are also popular.

Republic Bar Pizza is open seven nights a week for dinner, snacks and cocktails from 5:45pm onward. You’re welcome to drop in for a quick beer and pizza at the bar while you mingle with neighbors, or visit later on Friday and Saturday nights when the d.j. spins great lounge music. Take the N/Q to Astoria Boulevard, walk, bike, or valet park, but do get to Republic Bar Pizza. The secret is out…Republic Bar Pizza is Astoria’s newest modern, hip dining spot.

33-29 Astoria Boulevard
Astoria  718.278.8100

www.republicastoria.com  @republicastoria

@stuchase#republicbar

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