2014-10-08 / Restaurant of the Week

Déjà Vu Bar and Restaurant

When was the last time you visited a Bulgarian bar and café? If you’re like me, it’s been a while, or perhaps never. Quench your curiosity, your thirst, and your hunger at Déjà Vu on 28th Avenue in Astoria. This seemingly quiet, unassuming corner nightspot offers a surprisingly good bar and food experience with sparkling Happy Hours (one just for the ladies) and a unique menu that features traditional Bulgarian specialties.

Déjà Vu was opened five years ago by “Patzi”, the friendly and gregarious owner, who came from Sofia, Bulgaria with many years of experience in the restaurant business. Déjà Vu has a cool, casual vibe and offers an evening of good spirits, good food, and a nice mix of music to the community it serves. The petite space is tastefully decorated with bar tables and tapestry covered stools, wrought iron accents on the textured walls, and soft lighting. The music sets the pace but is not too loud, so you can still engage in pleasant conversation.

Happy Hour at Déjà Vu is not to be missed with $3 beer, $4 wine, $5 cocktails, $6 food items, and $7 hookah pipes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. A second Happy Hour takes place from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for ladies only, with $4 beer, wine and cocktails. There is also a specialty cocktail menu with options such as the pickle martini, made with special Bulgarian pickles and fine vodka. I enjoyed my peach martini and there’s also a cucumber mojito and passion fruit caipirinha. A nice selection of beers is available and wines from around the world, including Bulgaria, a fine wine-producing country, thanks to the climate around the Black Sea.

We were novices to Bulgarian food and so Patzi brought us the house specialties, all of which were delicious and perfectly sized for sharing. The Shopsa salad is composed of juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and roasted red peppers, sprinkled with crumbled Bulgarian feta, which is mild and creamy. Next an antipasto plate arrived with a selection of cheeses, Bulgarian dry salami, wood-smoked turkey slices and green olives. We soaked it all up with triangles of warm, grilled pita bread and house made yogurt sauce called tzatziki, scented with dill. The BULger is a spin on a slider, made from tender ground beef placed on a soft bun and perfectly sized to eat with your favorite beer or cocktail. During the Déjà Vu Happy Hour, you can get a few different menu items for just $6, including the BULger and their famous steak cut French fries topped with that fabulous feta cheese. Add to that list their homemade hummus, Luteniza dip made from pureed vegetables and feta, and classic Buffalo wings served with bleu cheese dip. At $6, you can order a few to share among friends.

After sampling all those delectable bar bites and snacks, we tucked into the house special “Déjà Vu Grill”, featuring a house made burger and two special kebabs called kebapche, handmade with two kinds of meat and a special blend of herbs. These perfectly grilled meats were perfect with the cool, creamy tzatziki and warm pita bread. We were so full after this delicious traditional grill, but next time we’ll go for the excellent pizza served here. Try a traditional pizza Margherita with tomato and basil, the three cheese, or a pizza topped with Sudjuk, Bulgarian dry salami and cheese.

Save some room for a great cup of coffee and a hunk of a traditional vanilla cake, made by a friend of Patzi and labeled the Vanilla Villi cake. This multilayered confection was cool and creamy, and not too sweet, making it the perfect complement to the savory meal that preceded it.

Meet your friends at Déjà Vu on 28th Avenue in Astoria for a very happy Happy Hour, with unbeatable drink and food specials and a Ladies Happy Hour too from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. The drinks are flowing, the food is delicious and approachable to all, and the vibe is cool and casual. Déjà Vu is open six nights a week, Tuesday to Sunday from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Visit their Web site for more information and check out their very positive Yelp ratings. I’ll see you again and again at Déjà Vu….cheers!

33-22 28th Avenue
Astoria  718.267.8212


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