Alpha Astoria

2 german girls review greek cafes in Astoria Queens

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Grand Cafe -- 30th Ave and 36th St

Grand Café is the Café that sort of inspired this blog (well for Brianna at least) – it’s surprising that it has taken us so long to review it. Brianna will admit that she’s mostly just a sucker for the cute clock above the door. Once inside we found out they also have a huge salt water fish tank, another thing Brianna is a sucker for. Unfortunately the rest of the interior is vaguely tacky and the music a bit too loud.

The menu is eclectic, though probably no more so than most of the other Greek café that we’ve reviewed. The menu does contain some surprising options:

  • Nacho Supreme: We long ago gave up on Greek Café’s serving mainly Greek food (Grand does not serve gyros or solvaki or any of the other stereotypical Greek fare) but nachos? Brianna is a huge Mexican food snob and doesn’t really trust anything Mexican East of the Mississippi but even Amy wouldn’t trust the Greek version of Nachos

  • Tropical Rage Smothy (no that is not our misspelling -- shocking, we know.) (available in Strawberry Extreme, Orange Crème and… Tropical Rage (“I’d like a Tropical Rage Tropical Rage”, “Give me a double Tropical Rage”, “Trop Rage to the second power!”)): Are the tropics very very angry with us or is tropical just a very popular fad?

We were once again impressed with the glassware – the waiter brought us a huge bottle of water in this adorable bottle. The Frappes ($3.75 – just as sweet and milky as we like them) were served in the traditional Greek Frappe glass. We’re still wondering why everyone has the same glasses and where they’re buying them (they are NOT buying them in Greece where frappes are served in a wide variety of different glasses).

Amy ordered French toast ($6.50)(which is so nice that they’ve chosen to list it on the menu twice…) and Brianna ordered a Cobb Salad ($12 – wtf?). Both meals were served on cheery yellow fiesta-wear-like plate which probably bought them an extra .5 points. The French toast was served with an adorable teeny glass bottle of syrup, and topped with a few decorative strawberries. All in all, it was a pleasing aesthetic and culinary experience. The French toast was just the thing to put Amy in the mood for a Sunday brunch at Grand Café (until 4) sometime soon (no word on if they offer free booze as all good brunch places should). Fried carbohydrates covered in syrup top Amy’s list of favorite foods, and this did not disappoint with thick slices of bread toasted to a golden perfection. Brianna’s salad had a wide variety of greens, some perfectly ripe avocado slices, yummy grilled chicken, a ton of olives (way too many in Brianna’s opinion, perhaps this is the Greek touch) and mystery salad dressing (they said it would be blue cheese and it defiantly was not. It was also not ranch.).

Service was relatively good though it did take them forever to bring us the check. All of the waiters appeared to be male, something we can’t recall noting anywhere else. All of the boys were cute enough, though not as stunning as the girls in many of the other cafes.

Overall Grand Cafe was a solid experience but not really a stand out. We were happy enough with our meal but in the end their scores turned out to be just so-so. If you’re in the neighborhood, go ahead and check it out (if you’re not distracted by the 8 million other café’s that seem to occupy café-row near 30th and Steinway).

Patron Attractiveness: 3.5
Staff Attractiveness: 3
Food: 3.5
Ambiance: 3.5
Service: 3.5