Alpha Astoria

2 german girls review greek cafes in Astoria Queens

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Crescent and Vine -- Ditmars and Crescent

Hey remember when we claimed we were back but then we didn’t actually post anything for over a month? Good times. On with the Cafeing! And yes, in our world, cafe is a verb.

This is the Outback Steak House of blogs (No rules. Just right. Not at all representative of the culture our product is based on.). In that spirit we have chosen to review not one of the remaining Greek Cafes on our list but instead focus on the newest Astoria bar, Crescent and Vine. I assure all readers that this was a difficult decision as we had originally planned to go to Cavo where there may be a tree growing out of the wall but we were eventually won over by the proximity of Crescent and Vine to Brianna’s apartment (Like everything in Astoria, the bar is far away from Amy’s apartment since she has recently relocated to fancy new digs in Jackson Heights. This move in no way effects her willingness to bestow uneducated judgment on eating establishments in Astoria. On that note, allegedly Mr. Amy is going to start his own blog about street-vendors in Jackson Heights. We'll keep you updated). Also, Crescent and Vine promised us booze.

At first this place felt very hip. While we felt totally Greek enough to be there (first time ever) we did risk being escorted out for being “too old,” “too lame,” "tragically unhip," and “not wearing any retro 70s clothing items.” Once we settled into our seats -- located in the front on a raised stage, right by the windows, as is appropriate for VIPs like us– and spent a good 10mins surveying the room we realized that the other patrons were actually an eclectic mix of 24 year old hipsters and 45 year old guys pregnant with beer baby triplets. Turns out we were young enough and hot enough to be sitting in the best seats in the house. Score! We gave the bar +5 for that nice surprise, though this observation did make judging "patron attractiveness" rather complicated (see below).

The bartender manning the bottles when we arrived was attentive and friendly, it also helped that (at least in the dim light) he was adorable. After sitting down we were repeatedly checked on by a guy in a beret who was also helpful and nice (though the beret made it all but impossible to call him cute -- seriously, who wears a beret?). It took us a good 30 minutes to confirm that he was a bar employee and not just an overly interested customer. We got our menu from the bar, and placed our order at the bar, and the food was delivered quickly and nicely to our table. All the employees were incredibly attentive and helpful, which may have been a "first week open- yay!" kind of service, but hopefully they will be able to maintain.

Both of us have been in a wine club for a year and half now so you’d think we’d be well versed in judging wines, but the club focuses more on getting drunk and gossiping than actually learning about wine, so you’d be wrong. That said, Crescent and Vine totally delivered on the getting drunk and gossiping portion of the evening – we were quite successful at both. We started the evening with two glasses of red wine though for a place with “vine” in its name Crescent and Vine has very few wines on the menu. We’re hoping that they have some sort of interesting monthly rotation scheme planned but even if they don’t Brianna could drink the Angeline Pinot Noir every night for the rest of her life (well, if she could afford it, the wine is a pricey $11/glass. For that money she could buy a bottle of cheap champagne and drink in her underwear at home while watching The Girls Next Door like God intended). Amy had the DM Guscon Malbac, a variety of wine she is wholly unfamiliar with. It smelled good, and kind of oaky, and drank very smoothly, though didn't have many distingushing flavors. So it was easy to drink (good!), but didn't taste like much (bad). If you're looking to get drunk without flavor, Malbac seems to be the way to go. Or else, Amy has a very undistingished palate, which she fully admits is possible. We tried to order a second round of the Pinot Noir but obviously other patrons had noticed that Brianna was drinking it and the subsequent rush to follow her lead resulted in the bar running out of this wine. We instead took the bartenders recommendation on reds and ended up paying $14/glass for a wine whose name we forgot to write down. Though the wines were pricey, you got a little more than a glass out of each of them because they were decanted into a small carafe. It turns out to be around 2 properly filled wine glasses or 1 1/4 bar filled wine glasses.

For "dinner", we ordered a bunch of salted pork products and cheese – in a nod to our heart health the good people at Crescent and Vine gave us some free apples slices with our order which we laughed at between burps. Our plate of fatty goodness included salami, prosciutto, salsiccia, goat cheese, stilton, manchego and romano (we forgot to write down the actual names of the cheeses because we are way out of practice when it comes to reviewing resturants.). The cheeses were all stealer and the salsiccia (a cured product we had never had before) was a big win, it tasted a bit like soprasata without with the spice. The prosciutto was a bit tough and overly thick and the salami was fairly boring – we recommend that Crescent and Vine consider sourcing their meats from nearby Rosarrio’s where the pork is always palatable. We also ordered a plate of bruscetta which supposedly had white balsamic vinegar on it – either white balsamic vinegar is actually brown or the menu lied or they ran out and substituted standard issue brown balsamic, either way it was yummy-- Amy thought it was the stand out of the evening.

Both of us had no luck racking our brains trying to remember what deli or dentist office or subpar pizza place occupied the space before this little bar moved into town, and the décor doesn’t give much away in terms of the buildings origin. There are rumors that it is owned by the same folks that own Fatty's Cafe next door, though that has not been confirmed. We’re also not sure if the brassy tin roof is authentic or not but we covet it either way. The also served all of our food on unmatched plates that made Brianna jealous of the thrift store scavenging skills of whoever outfitted Crescent and Vine with dishes. Before you read this next sentence we’d like to admit that it is possible that we are about to seem old and uncool, we’re pretty much ok with that. The music was too loud. This seems to be a running complaint about many places we've reviewed. Trust us, we know it’s a bar, and we know that bars play loud music so that people will not be able to talk and thus will focus on drinking more and then have to buy more drinks... but we had gossip to cover! It’s not like Crescent and Vine has any ambitions of becoming a club so it seems like the music could be a little quieter, you’ll make up for the lost drink costs by charging $14 for a glass of wine.

Food: 4
Service: 5
Ambiance: 4.5
Staff Attractiveness: 4
Patron Attractiveness: 4/2

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  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    Crescent and Vine is owned by the same folks at Fatty's.

    When i was in High School at the Prep just up the street (i graduated 10 eek! years ago) it was a crappy lotto/candy/news store that didn't seem to mind selling underage high school students cigarettes (and it's not like they didn't know 90% of their patrons were from the prep...we had a dress code and all looked alike!)

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger Jenonymous said…

    I live up the street from C&V, and let me add: Yes, Ferdinand ("Fatty" of Fatty's) is part-owner of the joint. There used to be some kind of craptastic deli/sandwich place in the space before. Yes, the music is a tad loud sometimes, and the same can be said of the sister place next door. I love the staff, the booze, and the food at both places. And yes, both venues are very age-diverse, so a fat chick like me can kick back dins and a few drinks without feeling self-conscious--AND still have a great conversation with whomever I'm sitting next to.

  • At 8:59 PM, Blogger mia said…

    the tin ceiling is original.
    (chatted up fatty - very likely the beret wearer. and the other owner - I'm guessing the adorable one).

    the music next door is much better I think (and it was pretty quiet when I was in C&V - and I have a pretty low loud tolerance, so fear not.)

  • At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the drink markups at C/V and Fatty's are outrageous! I just looked up the Angeline Pinot Noir and found it selling for $9.99. Honestly, I walk by both of them often and they are often empty; it seems like they would do such great business if they were just a little less greedy.

  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger blur said…

    Hmmm, I bet everyone thinks that dude is cute. I don't recall the beret guy though. I will say that your observations seems spot on. I was sort of anti about the place until I had the bruschetta. The alcohol isn't special in price and the chocolate stout is the only different alcohol they have. I went with two gal friends of mine and there were two drunks outside harassing chicks walking by and then hit on my friend on her way in. Something to the effect of "Heeey cutieee!".
    Then there was this creepy old dude standing at the bar and staring at girls the whole night and he was finally asked to leave. So I think they better lower their prices or become better bouncers cause I'm not paying that much for wine in Astoria unless I can sip it in peace.

  • At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    blah blah blah blah

  • At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Nelda Doll said…

    Nelda here--Crescent&Vine is diVINE! LOLZ.
    The staff is attractive and wise...and their olives are very salty;)
    I suggest the goat cheese!

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