Bonfire Grill, Forest Hills

As soon as you walk up the steps at Forest Hills subway stop, you realize you’ve arrived to a new world. Could this really be part of Queens? you might wonder. Forest Hills boasts an adorable, quaint village with high-end retail shops on Austin Street and a bevy of decent restaurants reaching every corner of the neighborhood.

Last night, we tried to get into 5 Burro, a Mexican joint. The place was packed and seemingly uncomfortable so we ditched 5 Burro and went a few doors down to the Bonfire Grill, an American food restaurant that touts its friendliness in its motto written on the website: “Enter a stranger, leave as a friend.” I didn’t make any friends at Bonfire Grill, and, despite my lack of social acumen, I thought the food was pretty good.

Outside, I skimmed the menu, which is packed with salads, appetizers, entrees, and sandwiches. I peered inside to see if there were available tables; there were tables and a bustling bar so we entered.

According to its website, Bonfire Grill  “strives for the perfect balance between intimate and fun, casual and upscale.” The ambiance encouraged warm feelings and the staff members were helpful and accommodating. I’m not sure I’d term the restaurant “fun” or “upscale,” but it’s definitely relaxing.

We began our meal with Bonfire Tapas. Served with three small pieces of French bread, the tapas featured fried goat cheese (yum!) and caramelized onions (even better!).

I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, chock full of avocado, swiss cheese, and chipotle mayonnaise on a huge hoagie roll. For a grilled chicken sandwich, it was definitely delectable, but was too big so I only ate half of it. French fries accompanied the sandwich. My pictures didn’t turn out well, so, sorry to just have boring text.

My dining partner ordered the short rib sandwich, which was “slow cooked” and delivered on a multigrain roll. It tasted great.

If you’re in Forest Hills on a Saturday night and seeking decent food, try Bonfire Grill. Don’t trust Yelp to guide you to a “better” restaurant in the area. As an aside, I can’t tell you how wrong Yelp was in helping us find a GOOD Mexican restaurant in San Diego. Of all places, you’d think we’d be inundated with delicious fajitas and tacos. We weren’t, thanks to Yelp.

Luke’s Lobster Pound: Lobster Roll & Bisque

For the most affordable lobster roll in this city, Luke’s Lobster Pound steps up to the plate and hits a home run. I’m not convinced its anywhere near the epitome of lobster rolls, but it’s darn good!

shi’s eating has already covered our visit to Luke’s, but here’s my take on it.

First, you should know that Luke’s UES locale is not a typical sit-down restaurant. It’s more of a counter-top and high-table joint. Might meet your fancy. I won’t judge. When I went, it wasn’t too crowded. The will I get a table oh no how will I eat my dinner anxiety had no place at Luke’s.

So, the lobster roll. Gobs of lobster pieces are loaded onto a toasted simple top-split bun. The lobster salad is lubricated to my taste and the bun didn’t taste anything like Wonder bread. I hope you know that’s a good thing.

I also ordered lobster bisque and attached high expectations to the small white soup container. Could it be as good as the Tavern at Dan’l Webster Inn? No, not nearly. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend the bisque. Sure, there were bits of lobster, but the liquid was too thin and boring. I was looking for excitement! Flavor!

A few hours following our dinner, I felt hungry again. Was the lobster roll not big enough? I couldn’t tell. When you order two to fill your gut, the deal may not be as convincing. Check out their menus for interesting combination platters if you’re bottomless.

I look forward to trying Luke’s other location. Where’d you find your favorite lobster roll? Can a girl get a hint?

Bliss Bistro::Sunnyside, Queens

BLISS BISTRO

Gesturing to the street sign–46th Street/Bliss–Furry said, “Places around here get a lot of mileage out of that.”

Bliss, my friend, is the that Furry speaks of.

He’s right. They do. Nail shops, fruit stands, bars, Starbucks even (well, if they could, they would). Businesses assure us of their overwhelming bliss-filled essence. And we believe them. (We shouldn’t.)

Bliss Bistro, located on the corner of 46th and Skillman, capitalizes even more on the euphoric-sounding modifier. The restaurant’s name is written in luxurious script on the cream-and-green facade. On top of it, Bliss Bistro is French. How utterly blissful!

Don’t lose yourself in this Sunnyside reverie. The bliss stops here.

It’s a Love Story

I ordered Filet Saumon ($15?): a generous cut of delicate salmon over a ladleful of indifferently spiced lentils and grilled seasonal vegetables. The salmon nicely complemented my lentils. A light meal–exactly what I was hoping for after a week of heavy, mystery meals.

Furry tried their Coq au vin ($13), a sunken dish filled with a tender stew: red wine chicken, mashed potatoes, bacon, and mushrooms in hearty gravy. He wasn’t impressed; not bliss impressed anyway. I found it interesting. Bacon’s inclusion in any meal always grabs me by the taste buds and forces me to slow down to allow the melting fatness to fill me. (Don’t deny it. You’re hungry right now.)

Waitstaff was total Love Story: attentive, nice, prompt.

Another Menu to Burn

Taking advantage of a dry night, we sat in the restaurant’s garden. Bliss Bistro’s interior is moodily lit by candles and waning sunlight through windows. Round tables with lawn furniture lined the fenced-in patio. The smell of burning Citronella wafted over our table, chairs. This is lovely, I thought, as I raised my Blue Moon to the clear blue sky.

And then the mosquitoes landed. Furry took several hits on his arms, while I walked away with only one bite. “Isn’t Queens supposed to be better about mosquitoes?” Furry asked rhetorically. Agreed. Isn’t it the pigs we have to worry about in Queens?

We rushed out of there. Without dessert. What’s up with the mosquito infestation, Bliss Bistro?

Also, a table behind us featured two older ladies discussing important topics (sounded like health care, could have been knitting club) while slamming back Cosmopolitans and other lady-like drinks. So, I’m not sure who their clientele is, but I’m concerned about joining their regular crowd.

Tied Together With (or Without) a Smile

Should you persuade me to try Bliss Bistro again, I’d opt for indoor seating and brunch, perhaps. I’m always fond of bistro brunches–Balthazar among the very most bliss-filled.

I can handle mediocre food, but I prefer to eat and not be eaten during dinner.

Bliss Bistro
4520 Skillman (at 46th Street)
Sunnyside, Queens
46th Street stop on 7 train