Home / Lifestyle / The Bonnie review: Great drinks dwarf mediocre food

The Bonnie review: Great drinks dwarf mediocre food

Shaun Van Alphen is the Chef at The Bonnie restaurant in Astoria, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (Barbara Alper for New York Daily News) Barbara Alper/for New York Daily News

Shaun Van Alphen is the Chef at The Bonnie restaurant in Astoria, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (Barbara Alper for New York Daily News)

Enlarge The Bonnie restaurant in Astoria makes a Black Jack cocktail, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (Barbara Alper for New York Daily News) Barbara Alper/for New York Daily News

The Bonnie restaurant in Astoria makes a Black Jack cocktail, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (Barbara Alper for New York Daily News)

Enlarge

Left, The Bonnie’s chef, Shaun Van Alphen, with one of his creations. Right, the gastropub’s Black Jack cocktail.

If you’re going to do a gastropub, you need to get both parts of that right.

The Bonnie in Astoria pays more attention to the pub portion, so foodies will have to choose carefully to avoid disappointment.

You get a hint of this as soon as you scope out the space: The eatery boasts two fully equipped bars and there are plenty of small, “drinks-only” tables scattered around. (Full-size tables are out back in the sizable garden area and in the front room.) The décor and vibe seem aimed at a younger crowd: brick walls, tile floor and modern rock on the sound system.

Mixologist Mike Di Tota, who’s also also the booze brain behind sister gastropub Sweet Afton (a few blocks away), oversees the drinks program. By all means, check out one of Di Tota’s cocktails. He’s known for his botanic creations, and the Black Jack ($ 11) is a great example, mixing rye, Cardamaro (an herb-infused amaro), grapefruit, bitters and black tea with thyme. It’s tart and terrific. Beers and wines are well chosen and roam the globe: We liked the Singlecut Mahogany Ale ($ 7) and the La Chouffe Belgian Ale ($ 9).

Tempura asparagus with herb-horseradish sauce.Barbara Alper/for New York Daily News

Tempura asparagus with herb-horseradish sauce.

Food is not as assured. In fact, while there are a few bright spots, much of the menu from chef Shaun Val Alphen, who’s done stints at Momofuku, Jean-Georges and Blue Hill, seems like an afterthought. Like the chicken wings, which are crispy and have exactly zero flavor. A hunk of grilled lemon doesn’t help.

The avocado deviled eggs are tasty enough, especially with the fried jalapeno, but forlorn-looking on their plate. A beet-apricot salad boasts an excellent maple-mustard vinaigrette but all else — frisee, beets, mushy apricots and goat cheese — is “oh well.” The starter to try is the asparagus tempura, dusted with matcha tea powder. With its zippy herb-horseradish sauce, it’s simple finger-food perfection.

Order the cheeseboard, with a selection of Murray's cheese, as a starter or dessert.Barbara Alper/for New York Daily News

Order the cheeseboard, with a selection of Murray’s cheese, as a starter or dessert.

Order a cheese plate as a main (or a dessert, since The Bonnie has none). The bread and Granny Smith accompaniments are stingy and unmemorable, but the cheeses (from Murray’s) rocked: an intense, savory Shropshire blue, a mild and smooth goat Gouda, and a nutty Salva Cremasco.

The Bonnie gastropub in Astoria, Queens.Barbara Alper/for New York Daily News

The Bonnie gastropub in Astoria, Queens.

The serviceable Bonnie Burger is made with a Pat LaFrieda blend that lends a mineral tang to each mouthful; fries are decent but cost extra.

The PEI mussels, however, were really slapdash: While the “spring vegetable broth” tasted fresh, the advertised grilled ramps were AWOL, and the actual bivalves were teeny.

The soft-shell-crab sandwich was a howler: a sad speck of crab dwarfed by bun. And where were the charred pea greens that the menu promised?

So if you’re looking for a great spot for a drink (or two), aim for The Bonnie. Diners, however, are advised to adjust their sights — and expectations.

Tags:
new york restaurant reviews ,
new york restaurants ,
queens restaurants

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Read previous post:
Minn. mom shares first photos of surviving conjoined twin

facebook Amber McCullough posted the first photos of her daughter Hannah, who survived complicated separation surgery from her conjoined twin,...

Close