2017-03-29 / Restaurant of the Week

Mundo

Mundo is a gem of a restaurant and bar located inside the Paper Factory Hotel, with a history all its own. In 1922, the Pilot Radio Company was founded and later made radios and parts during World War II. Soon after, with the rise of newspapers, the factory started making paper into the 1970’s when it was shuttered. Thanks to owner Gal Sela, the historic building was transformed into an “industrial chic” hotel, much like a phoenix rising out of the ashes. A walk through the lobby is a treat, with artifacts and antiques from Astoria’s former industrial age. Mundo is the place to be, and you’ll be lured into the sultry bar, softly lit by multi-colored, beaded lanterns, soft music, and the sound of a martini shaker blending their fabulous cocktails. The name Mundo is so apropos, as this cosmopolitan restaurant features an eclectic mixture of Mediterranean dishes from Turkey, Israel, Greece, and Italy, as well as American favorites all executed in superb style. Mundo also reflects the crowd, which includes hotel guests from around the world and the US, as well as local hipsters, couples, and friends enjoying happy hour at the bar with appetizers, and dinner at cozy, candle-lit tables. A focal point in the room is the impressive column from ceiling to floor, stacked with thousands of books, that supports the spiral staircase leading to three private event spaces available for your private function.

The staff is well-trained, warm and friendly, led by the charming Francesco, who makes everyone feel at home. We started with a couple of Mundo’s signature cocktails: the spicy Pachamama and Blueberry Fusion, both of which were perfectly mixed and beautifully served. Fine wines are reasonably priced and there are craft beers, including Astoria’s own “Singlecut.”

We drooled over the stunningly beautiful and delicious appetizers, with kudos for the carpaccio of beef, sliced paper thin and drizzled with date syrup, a dab of tahini, and eggplant cream ($14). The delicate flavors simply melt on your tongue and the grilled bread has a nice crunch. The lump crab cakes are…well…crabby, meaning loaded with sweet crabmeat and mild seasonings, just as they should be. With two generous crab cakes to a serving, this appetizer is ideal for sharing, or could even suffice as an entrée. I had read so much online about the “Red Sonja” and indeed this Turkish style, red lentil appetizer was delicious and beautifully presented upon supple leaves of Bibb lettuce with lemon wedges ($10). Grilled Spanish octopus is so tender, prepared with chick peas, haricots verts (green beans), and roasted peppers with a tangy dressing. Spiced tuna tartare with avocado mousse is another great starter, as is the citrus marinated raw fluke.

One could easily make a dinner out of several appetizers, though you won’t want to miss the entrees at Mundo. Filet mignon is one of their most popular dishes, grilled to order and served with mashed potatoes, roasted beets and a red wine reduction. Grilled lamb chops come four to an order, along with roasted fingerling potatoes and fresh asparagus. Mundo does a great job with fish, as we experienced with the panroasted halibut served with sautéed spinach, shallots, red bliss potatoes and a puddle of champagne cream sauce. This hunk of perfectly flaky, white halibut was juicy, flavorful, and went well with a buttery chardonnay. Steamed branzino and grilled salmon are also perfectly executed. Pappardelle pasta with gorgonzola, artichokes and black olives is just one of the meatless options, and there are plenty of other vegetarian items to choose among. Oh yes, there’s a Factory Burger too, as well as a grilled rib eye.

For dessert, try creamy espresso crème brulee, panna cotta, chocolate fondant, or cool gelato along with an espresso or coffee. Mundo offers a lovely brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm. Sunday’s Jazz Brunch is extra special, so make your reservations now. Happy hour runs from 5-7pm Monday to Friday with house drinks and select wines for $5 and $4 beer, with specially priced bar nibbles.

Mundo is a unique restaurant inside a unique hotel. Expand your world with a trip to Mundo in the Paper Factory Hotel. This is the perfect venue for a dream wedding, private party, or corporate event, with 122 rooms for out of town guests and a subway stop right on the corner that brings you to Manhattan in just two stops. Visit their website for beautiful photos and menus, and follow them on social media.

(in the Paper Factory Hotel)

37-06 36th Street, Long Island City
718.70MUNDO (718.706.8696)

www.mundonewyork.com

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