2016-07-20 / Restaurant of the Week


I'm going to get straight to the point: (aged.) is a fantastic restaurant! Located in Forest Hills between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street, on what is known as Restaurant Row, (aged.) offers you modern American cuisine that is so outstanding you will want to tell your friends about it. Here, tucked in among a variety of ethic restaurants, (aged.) stands out as something uniquely comforting and nostaligia-inducing. It is a place where you can still revel in a good protein-rich Black Angus steak, and you have six different cuts to choose from. When was the last time you saw a rib-eye or porterhouse on a menu? It has been a while, I bet, but you will find it at (aged.) Is seafood your passion? If so, you have found the right place. The (aged.) seafood dishes are so fresh, so artfully prepared and so exceptionally delicious that it would be worth a trip to (aged.) just to taste test a few Raw Bar and Starter appetizers. Share them with some friends along with a round of drinks, and you have a wonderful start to a memorable gathering.

Let's take a look around the premises now, maybe meet some of the staff, and I will give you my impressions. (aged.) is an indoor/outdoor restaurant with planters and cafe tables outside, and a softly-lit dining room and bar inside. Wood tones dominate throughout, creating a relaxing old-world kind of ambiance. A welcoming bar that lines almost one entire wall makes for a very nice place to unwind at the end of the day with a mixed drink or glass of wine. Happy Hour runs from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM Monday through Friday, and it is at the bar that you can also buy Dollar Oysters, Monday through Thursday.

One particular architectural feature at (aged.) really struck my fancy: floor-to-ceiling window pane doors that form part of the restaurant's facade. They filter in light, and that allow for a visual passage from outside to inside, and from inside to outside. On hot, sticky summer days, you will want to dine in where you will stay cool and comfortable. (aged.) serves an Express Lunch weekdays that costs only $12.95, and a champagne brunch on weekends for just $17.95. (The brunch is so overwhelmingly popular that you are asked to free up your table after 90 minutes in order that other diners may be seated.) Yet to me, the most distinctively special time of day at (aged.) has to be nightfall. It is then that the window pane doors are opened and fresh evening air fills the dining room, reminding us all to grab hold of summer before it is gone.

Dinner at (aged.) is an experience that should not be missed. The (aged.) menu is bountiful and, in addition to its immense variety of steak and seafood dishes, it has New Zealand lamb chops, free-range chicken, pasta, irresistible desserts, and so much more. Sunday through Thursday, you can enjoy a three-course pre-fixe dinner for $36. On Tuesdays, you get a free dessert with any steak selection or specialty; and on Wednesdays, you can have all you can eat mussels for only $21.95. Because (aged.) is located so close to the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, it is an ideal choice for a pre-concert meal. On other nights, when you have more time, you can linger at your table for as long as you like, and whether you are seated inside or on the patio, you can turn dinner into your main event.

My own experience at (aged.) was superlative. I had invited a friend to meet me at the restaurant. On her walk from the 71st Avenue subway station, she asked a man in the street for directions. “Oh, that is the greatest restaurant,” he said, and pointed the way. That is how our evening began, and it only went up from there.

We were welcomed by Ulash, the restaurant's hands-on, hardworking manager, and by our charming and personable server, Tatyana, who took care of our every need in the very professional European way that I love. I have noticed that in Europe, and seemingly in other parts of the world, servers tend to abide by different rules than they do here. After taking your order, they do not initiate any sort of verbal exchange with you again. Instead of dropping by your table to ask if everything is alright, they simply keep an eye on you from a distance, magically appearing with a water refill or your next course at the exact moment that you are ready for it. Why do I love this kind of service? Because it never interrupts the conversation I am having with my dining companion, and affords me the luxury of engrossing myself completely in the moment.

One interesting fact I immediately learned about (aged.) is that while it is specializes in American cuisine, it also reflects the distinctive character of Queens. Queens, I have recently been told, is home to the most diverse community on the entire planet, and the staff at (aged.) is representative of that diversity. Ulash, the manager, comes from Turkey; Tatyana, our server, from Russia; and her good-looking back-up servers, Prabin and Ahmed, are from other faraway places. Even the proprietor, Puneet, was not born here. He is from India. Yes, for Queens residents, an American restaurant with an international staff is our own special kind of normal. That is probably why it works so well.

A word about the food we ordered: We started with the Crab Cake, Baked Clams, and Tuna Tartar, and we both agreed that we would definitely recommend this combination, which was beautifully presented and had a mixture of textures and temperatures that enhanced the individual flavors. I was particularly impressed with the Tuna Tartar, an uncommon treat for me, and the best I have ever tasted. This combination goes hand-in-hand with a glass of chilled white wine, an essential complement from our perspective. Next, my friend ordered the Lobster Pasta in herbal cream sauce, which she said was exceptional. I had the Farm Chicken that came with mashed potatoes and julienne vegetables. The chicken was well-seasoned and topped with capers, the potatoes fluffy, and the julienne vegetables a colorful feast all by themselves. We finished with a shared dessert of creme caramel and a pecan tart with vanilla ice cream. Creme caramel is this restaurant's signature dessert, and we can see why. It is served in a long, white boat-shaped porcelain dish, and is delectably creamy with a thin burnt sugar crust and a burnt sugar sail on top. The pecan tart was delicious, too. My friend made that obvious to anyone who may have looked our way because she finished it off completely!

My bottom line: I highly recommend (aged.) for the food and ambiance, and for those marvelous window pane doors that remind you to enjoy summer. (aged.) is open seven days a week: Monday through Wednesday from 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 AM to 12:00 AM, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM, and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Offering lunch weekdays, brunch weekends, and dinner every night of the year. Enjoy!

Wine | Steak | Seafood | Restaurant | Bar

107-02 70th Rd., Forest Hills
718.544.2433  Fax: 718.544.2990


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