(Buffalo Chicken, Southwestern Burger, & Pulled Pork Slider with fries for $12)
Lounge 47 (47-10 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City)
It's one of those places I have obliviously strolled right past on numerous occasions. The front window doesn't scream anything in particular. The name doesn't suggest anything drool-worthy. The interior is as laid back and comfortable as its title. But hidden behind this very chill, retro lounge is a surprisingly versatile and all-around delicious menu. One that actually beats many of the more well-known heavy hitters on this street. Where else in LIC can you mix-and-match your sliders with fries, grab a fragrant bowl of coconut-ginger chicken soup, or savor a mole, falafel, or a traditional shepherd's pie? "I just wanted to create a menu that has a good, delicious variety, but is simple, and accessible to everone," explains Min Chen, the brains behind the menu. And she has done just that. It's a quirky and fun little assortment of tapas, sandwiches, and entrees--each one so surprisingly tasty that it makes you want to come back again and again to see what other little gems you can discover.
I have tried my fair share of frickles, and these win the award for the tastiest I have ever had in NYC--without any competition. These pickles are sliced thin, breaded, and fried to golden, crispy perfection, accompanied with sauces of your choosing (BBQ, chipotle, and roasted garlic pictured above). Most frickles are cut so thick that the batter is crispy and the insides still raw, rendering the inner coating soggy. These are the perfect marriage of crunch and tenderness.
Wasabi deviled eggs add a playful little kick to what are already flawless southern classics, the yolk whipped to velvety perfection.
At just $4, a cup of the cilantro-kissed and rice-studded Asian chicken soup is the perfect Thai remedy for the winter months--surprisingly simple but wonderful.
The white bean soup is loaded with hearty vegetables and wilted watercress, yet harbors a luxurious creaminess created by the addition of a parmesan rind to the basic stock, which is all topped with buttery, crunchy, homemade croutons, creating a hearty playground of flavor and texture alike.
The grown-up macaroni & cheese is a creamy 3-cheese rendition with just a whisper of mustard powder giving it a wonderful extra dimension, capped with a crunchy rosemary crumb topping. It's a generous portion, perfect for sharing.
Small plates (still generously portioned) range from $4-$10, with the larger items and sandwiches ranging from $9-$14.
A full bar menu offers everything from a glass of Argentine Malbec to a spirited cocktail list, employing ingredients like wild blueberry juice or Jamaican ginger beer. With seating ranging from couches and coffee tables for lounging in the front, to full banquettes and tables for dinner service in back, Lounge 47 is the ideal lunch spot, after dinner cocktail perch, or the perfect solution for friends who can't agree on one cuisine in particular--there's something here for everyone.