2015-06-24 / Restaurant of the Week

DAYBREAK CAFÉ Restaurant

BY GEORGINA YOUNG-ELLIS

Daybreak diner is the go-to place for breakfast and lunch for people who live and work in the area of 34th Ave and 45th Street in Astoria, and it has been since it opened five years ago. Owner Javier Balbueno does a brisk take out and delivery business, but folks also drop in for a bite to eat in the sunny restaurant while watching the world go by through the floor to ceiling windows along 34th Avenue. When I popped in one Friday, just before noon, I was almost overwhelmed by the huge selection of traditional and unique items on the menu. What to choose? Well, I always feel that when one is trying out a diner for the first time, one should choose something typical of diner food, in order to get a feel for how they do the standards, and something a little unusual if it stands out on the menu. So I sampled two dishes, the Greek Salad and the Chicken Cordon Bleu.

The salad was huge, a portion fit for a titan, with crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, green peppers, onions, mellow feta cheese, anchovies, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and delectable Greek olives…seedless, I may add, which made me very happy. The oil and vinegar dressing was light and tangy, just how I like it. All in all, just the right lunch for a hot June day. The Chicken Cordon Bleu was downright decadent: moist and tender slices of chicken breast, charcoal grilled to perfection, topped with ham and melted Swiss cheese, and served over a fresh bun with a generous helping of golden fries. For a price of $7.95, it’s a delicious value that just can’t be beat.

By then I was full, yet I couldn’t help but be intrigued by some of the south-ofthe border delights that beckoned such as the Chilaquiles for breakfast: traditional tortillas with chicken or steak and red salsa, served with onions, sour cream, and Cotija cheese. I also discovered Flautas on the appetizer menu: rolled, fried corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, as well as mini tacos made with seasoned ground chicken and salsa picante. Other international delights include Nutella and banana pancakes, chicken Shish Kebab and Souvlaki, shrimp Creole, and many kinds of Italian pasta dishes. There are lots of good old American favorites on the menu as well such as BBQ ribs, New Jersey broiled loin pork chops, and fried chicken in a basket and you can even get beer or wine to go with your meal. Though I loved my Greek salad, I noticed some other really great looking salad options such as grilled salmon or steak, and a jumbo shrimp salad platter. There’s every variety of burger to be had: Texan, Western, Cuban, Mexican, turkey, BBQ, Buffalo, and Mediterranean, plus lots of wraps that sound good like the Chicken Fajita, Philly Steak, or Honey Chicken. Burgers and wraps are all under ten bucks, as are the Panini, which come with turkey, vegetables, chicken, and cheese in a variety of combinations, including the Cuban: roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. And for dessert you’ll find plenty of treats at Daybreak, such as strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, and shakes from the soda fountain. However, if you’re in a hurry for breakfast or a quick pick me up, they serve espresso, cappuccino, lattes and mochaccinos, all for under three dollars, as well as egg sandwiches, bagels, and pastries to grab on the go.

Daybreak is open every day from 7:00 to 7:00, except for Sunday when they close at 5:00. They do catering for every occasion and, of course, have their super-efficient delivery available by phone or Seamless. My experience showed me that the food not only looks good on the menu, but truly is delicious. For quick, tasty, inexpensive, and convenient meals and snacks of every variety, Daybreak fills the bill.

45-01 34th Avenue, L.I.C.
718.721.0411 • Fax: 718.721.5474

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