Eco Table (33-20 31st Ave., Astoria)
Eat Green. Live Well. Drink Wine. Be Happy. The website for Astoria's newest arrival flashes this slogan, along with several trendy phrases in the restaurant world. Terms like eco-friendly, artisanal, locally-sourced, & sustainable. As the name implies, it seems Eco-Table doesn't merely practice these concepts; it was developed around them. Even the table water served is filtered with the Natura purification system. But on a street like 31st Avenue where hot restaurants are springing up like dandelions, a trendy concept is not enough to make a successful business alone.
Well, if the first few hours of business are any indicator, Eco Table is not only delivering on its promises, it's fantastically surpassing them. If the quality of service and food sustain beyond today's opening, this place will be bursting at the seams in practically no time at all. Service was genuine and attentive. The owner, Jimmy, even stopped by the table a few times to insure our experience was pleasant.
To begin, we shared the mac & cheese with 'shrooms. Miniature shells are blanketed in a cheesy bechamel, studded with tender, earthy, wild mushrooms. The dish arrived bubbling, and a golden gruyere crust broke way to an exceptional take on a comfort favorite.
The bowl of beets was outrageously delicious, and more than enough to share. The photo shows merely the top layer of a bowl that stood nearly a full foot tall, like an enormous overturned porcelain lampshade piled with gargantuan tangy, tender red beets, sweet candied pecans, plump orange segments that exploded with juice at the bite, a drizzle of white balsamic vinaigrette, and what must have equalled an entire loaf of goat cheese crumbled on top.
The grilled free range chicken sandwich arrived juicy and tender on crunchy toasted rustic bread, with a drizzle of honey-balsamic, and baby organic greens.
French fries are hand cut, and rival any competition in the neighborhood. At our server's suggestion, we enjoyed them with a ramekin of spicy chipotle sauce. Nothing spells comfort like crisp fresh potato strings dipped in southwestern mayo.
The buffalo chicken flatbread was a true "wow dish" that will keep me coming back. The misshapen pita is made fresh on the premises, and grilled, giving a crunchy bottom and fluffy, delicious tenderness inside. The paisley shaped bread is then drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, and topped with julienned strips of buffalo spiced chicken, gruyere cheese, a sprinkling of herbs, and sweet fire-roasted tomatoes. Delicious.
A shout-out to the Greek neighborhood, roasted lemon potatoes are actually sliced fingerlings with meyer lemon, which we quite easily devoured.
Presently, Eco Table is only open from lunch until midnight, as well as brunch on weekends. Eventually, they plan on remaining open 24 hours on the weekends, and opening for breakfast within the next few weeks. Breakfast items include frittatas, berry-stuffed french toast, a poblano benedict with serrano ham and cilantro hollandaise, as well as pecan apple cakes and parisian waffles. Other dinner items that jumped off the page included a panko-crusted spinach-feta-sundried tomato veggie burger, seasonal ravioli (today's selection was lobster alla vodka), mint chimichurri lamb chops, and line-caught pan-roasted halibut with smoked paprika.
While they await their liquor license, a complimentary glass of wine is being served with dinner this evening. Soon, they will also be offering fresh smoothies, homemade sodas, and fruit-infused lemonades.
Eco Table seems extremely promising, to say the very least... Please weigh in below with a comment about your first impressions/experiences.