I happened upon Peasant a few blocks from one of my favorite restaurants, Public. I was immediately impressed by the space as we walked in, with a large wine bar at the entrance and rustic wooden tables in the back framed by a big brick oven. We couldn't get a table actually, they were booked full, but there is another bar in the basement that serves food. It was one of the coolest dining experiences I've had in New York.

The dynamic at Peasant interesting because of the unfinished peasant-like atmosphere combined with fancy food and wine. The basement bar is even more rustic, with distressed wood paneling on the walls, almost rickety handmade tables that were knotted and bumpy and bench seating. The space was dim and candlelit, and cramped. But I liked it. It is amazing the things you'll pay for in New York: dinner at a rickety table in a dark basement. The menu is Italian, with some good pastas, seafood dishes and some more unique offerings like quail and of course pizza. The food was good, not stellar. I really enjoyed the various olives that were set out in the bar areas that we munched on before taking our table.

I really was impressed by the atmosphere and the overall experience at Peasant. It was a little expensive, which is typical though oxymoronic for something whose name basically means poor, but I guess it goes to show that with simple ingredients you can make great things, and even in what might be though of as grungy a great space can emerge.


RESTO features traditional Belgian food with a New York regional flavor. Farm fresh ingredients incorporated with traditional elements of Belgian cooking yield to an inventive and savory menu. RESTO will stay true to the gastro pub format by offering an assortment of Belgian beer to complement the Belgo-French slanted food.

After studying abroad for a semester in Belgium, I was intrigued when I heard that a new Belgian restaurant was opening in New York City. V and I eventually made our way to Resto for dinner, and after a few drinks while hovering at the bar, we got a table.

The restaurant isn't very large, though there are a good number of tables and seats at the bar. A mirror along the back wall gives the illusion of more space. There is a wide selection of Belgian beers on tap and in bottles, and each is served in its respective glass.

We tried two main or "grand" plates from the menu. First, the burger, with gruyere, red onion, pickle, mayo, and of course a side of frites. Somewhere I had heard that the burgers at Resto were one of the best things on the menu, today, I can't find any reviews elsewhere online saying that. To me the burger was good, though it was overcooked and lacked a juiciness I was hoping for. The frites of course were the real star, and they were crispy and nicely seasoned, served in the traditional cone, set in a metal holder with a little dish on the side for mayo or other frites sauces. The other dish was another traditional Belgian meal: mussels (also with frites). The portion was pretty large, and mussels of course take a while to eat, but they were very good.

Complimenting the food we drank Belgian beers of course, and they were each unique, though I wish our server would have recommended some that might be better with the dishes we ordered, or better suited to our tastes. There's definitely a good selection of beers, some of my favorites included. We finished off the meal with a Belgian waffle with vanilla crème fraiche and a little chocolate. The waffle was not too crispy on the outside - perfectly done, and the crème fraiche gave our meal a tangy finish.

Taverna Kyclades

Taverna Kyclades is your first stop for what Zagat calls "perfectly cooked seafood at a modest price". Step in and immediately feel at home as our friendly staff cater to your every need. Enjoy brilliant dishes made with the freshest ingredients including seafood brought in every morning from the fish-market.

It is always a good sign when a restaurant is crowded, you know right off that it has got something going for it. And in Astoria, in a Greek place, you know it is authentic. Taverna Kyclades is right on my corner, all the way out in Astoria, on the last stop on the N train, yet it is always packed, and gets amazing reviews. I'll have to add mine to that list — even after the up-and-down experience we had at dinner.

Reservations aren't accepted and with my parents in town, we came around 8:30 to put our name on the list for a table. There's no bar, or real waiting area, so we stood on the sidewalk, waiting almost an hour for a table. I eventually got a few menus for us to look at and ordered a round of drinks to hold us over. Eventually we got an outside table and sat down to dinner.

It was worth the wait. We started with a few appetizers, including Fried Calamari, Fried Squash and Eggplant with Garlic Dip, and Pan-Fried Greek Cheese. Note the 'fried' theme. All these dishes were great — to start, I love cheese, and the fried cheese was salty and chewy and hot, with a spritz of lemon juice it was delicious. Along with these appetizers we ordered a carafe of Greek red wine which was good, and reasonably priced.

Continuing our fried theme, we ordered a plate of fried sardines (mom's favorite) as an entree, along with a Swordfish Kebab with Vegetables. I'm not the biggest sardine fan, but these were good even with the bones. The swordfish was tender and moist.

Then, as we were each sampling our variety of dishes, and as the restaurant continued to be very busy, a waiter ran by our table, knocking the entire carafe of wine over and into my white linen shirt. It was a mess, and I quickly went to the bathroom to clean up. As I was walking back to the table, the manager approached me to ask how they could help me with my shirt, and offered to clean it and replace it. By the time I returned to the table, the waiter had cleaned up the mess and replaced the carafe of wine. A few minutes later they quietly gave me some cash to buy a new shirt. So really, even with the unfortunate circumstances, the staff handled it very well, and luckily for me, I was able to get my shirt clean just by soaking it overnight in a little laundry detergent - so in the end we came out ahead!

Even with the spill and the wait, I was really happy with this meal, and I'm sure I'll be back the next time I'm in the mood for some good seafood. There's lots more on the menu that I'd like to try, and plenty of what we had, I'd order again.