William Hallet: An American Bistro & Bar (36-10 30th Ave., Astoria, NY 11105)
Foie gras sliders you can pinch between your thumb and forefinger on mini brioche with red onion marmalade are just one of the many exciting and inventive offerings showcased at William Hallet, the newest restaurant to open on 30th Ave. These little guys may be tiny, but they pack a deliciously savory punch. And while Astorians may have wept at the closing of Marino & Sons, longtime favorite fish market, the restaurant and bar taking over the newly renovated space promises to soon become every bit just as much of a neighborhood cornerstone.
From the lanterns on the dark wood entryway to the tin ceilings and embossed wallpaper, William Hallet (named after the founding settler of Astoria) feels like a proper New England tavern, with a uniquely new American menu. The kitchen combines the creative culinary forces of Bistro 33's Gary Anza and Hell Gate Social's George Rallis. The bar presently features a full liquor selection, with beer and limited wine.
Presently, hours are from 5PM until business decline daily, but within a few weeks, the closing hours will be extended until 4AM with the full menu available until last call. The hope is to create a neighborhood lounge for those Astorians in the industry, returning to Queens late at night still in want of great food and beverage service. Brunch will then be added, and eventually lunch hours, as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed the scallop appetizer, with gigantic plump seared scallops in a chilled watermelon soup with fresh basil and orange supreme.
And I am already craving the turducken sandwich, a meatloaf of turkey, duck, and chicken topped with crisp bacon and bourbon ketchup on an onion roll. No competition...my favorite meatloaf... ever. Plus it's really fun to say "turducken" over and over again.
Be sure to ask for a ramekin of the bourbon ketchup... literally a Jack Daniels-infused ketchup. It packs a wonderful kick, and with the killer seasoned steak fries, you could quickly go through a pint of it.
Other promising menu items included:
Beef Tenderloin Tartare with pinenuts, avocado, & quail eggs $12
Suckling Pig with potato puree & succotash $14
Seasonal Vegetable Puff Pastry $12
PBLT (Pork Belly, Bibb Lettuce, Tomato) $11
Cobb Salad with crispy poached egg & tarragon creme $12
Ribeye with peppercorn demi-glace (price & steak selection vary daily)
and yes, a Fried Peanut Butter sandwich with bacon, banana, & raspberry jam $8 (they were out of it when we arrived)
Service is exceptionally friendly in a cozy and unpretentious setting.
What are your first impressions of William Hallet?