Situated on the outskirts of Astoria, Astor Bake Shop may seem out-of-the-way to the average person. I assure you that the 10-minute walk from the train is completely worth it.
Astor Bake Shop is a small, many-windowed cafe with cute wooden tables and chairs. An enticing and appetizing display case filled with baked goodies faces the dining area. A small kitchen, at the far end of the cafe, runs perpendicular to the display case, encouraging an intimate feel to the dining space.
What is Astor Bake Shop known for? I can’t tell. What I do know is that they’ve got creative drinks (gingerade, sea salt lemonade) and solid burgers on their menu.
We started our meal with an heirloom tomato salad with watermelon and feta. The mild flavor of the cheese nicely accompanied the bursting fresh taste of the watermelon. Generously, the chef halved the salad and put it on two plates for us.
I ordered the cheddar burger while my dining partner got the Croque Madame. Lacking the La Frieda blends of Manhattan, Astor Bake Shop quickly recovers with a solid, meaty burger. The toppings included were tomato, lettuce, and cucumber–an interesting addition. The crisp coolness of the cucumber accented the saltiness of the cheddar. Yum.
Though deluxe in flavor, the burger paled in comparison to MDP’s Croque Madame, which is a toasted sandwich filled with cheese, ham, and an egg. The saltiness of the ham delighted my tastebuds. I’m not a fan of salt, but both the burger and the Croque Madam contained *just* the right amount.
For dessert, we ordered a chocolate cupcake with white piping on top, so that it resembled a Tastykake cupcake of yore. The cake was dense and could have been moister, but MDP and I chalked up its dryness to the refrigeration of the display case. On the large side, the cupcake featured a thin layer of chocolate frosting on its top, which was, proportionally, not enough for the cupcake, in my opinion.
I wouldn’t recommend the baked goods at Astor Bake Shop–unless, of course, you arrive as they’re taking the confections from the oven–but wholeheartedly support their brunch and dinner menus.
Take a stroll down Astoria Boulevard to Astor Bake Shop. You won’t regret it.
12-23 Astoria Boulevard
Take the N, Q to Astoria Boulevard. Walk about 10 blocks northwest.