2017-09-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Sugar Freak

If you are already a fan of Sugar Freak, you will be over the moon about the new, enlarged Sugar Freak, just across from its original location on 30th Avenue. Chef Christian Fajardo, Restaurateur James Paloumbis, and the whole Sugar Freak team have collaborated to strengthen and expand this successful restaurant brand for more people to enjoy.

All the original, authentic family recipes from Sugar Freak have traveled across the avenue along with all the original, authentic furnishings, many of which were salvaged from New Orleans, post-Katrina. Antique dressers support the bar, topped with remnants of broken dishes under glass. Pendant lights above the bar are fashioned from glass milk bottles and mason jars, and period wallpaper adorns the walls, along with antique plates and saucers. The overall effect is one of authenticity and sincerity, like a visit to your dear aunt in the French Quarter, where she makes everything from scratch.

Likewise, the expert chef makes everything from scratch at Sugar Freak from fine ingredients, including the freshest seafood, chicken, and vegetables, and nothing is frozen. The menu will change seasonally to take advantage of optimum ingredients, while sticking to the classics like jambalaya, etouffee, Po’ boys and more. The baked goods are outrageously decadent so I’m warning you to save room for dessert.

Start with a refreshing cocktail such as the Pimm’s cup or Sazerac, or one of the mixologist’s tasty concoctions. Several craft beers are on tap flow from the built-in lines and are always fresh and cold.

Blayze, our friendly waitress, brought us some tempting appetizers to start with such as the beignet sliders, which are gently sweet pastries filled with breaded chicken breast, or juicy beef topped with crunchy cole slaw and horseradish mayo with three to an order. Next came oysters two ways: oysters Rockefeller, baked with creamed spinach and bacon, and charbroiled oysters, served crispy with herb butter, the chef’s special seasoning, and parmesan cheese. These oysters are fresh, delicious, and perfect for sharing, served half a dozen or a whole dozen to an order. Also, share the deviled eggs, made with Creole mustard and topped with crunchy bacon bits. The Pop Allis are chunks of tender alligator meat, fried golden and crunchy, served with homemade potato chips.

Sugar Freak is a fun and casual place that encourages group meals and getting your hands dirty while you dig into traditional Louisiana style dishes. Order a house salad in a jar, where all the ingredients go into a big jar along with a drizzle of your dressing and mixed to serve for the table. Perhaps the best example is Sugar Freak’s famous Seafood boil where you choose a pound of your favorite seafood and it’s boiled in a buttery sauce along with your choice of corn on the cob, potatoes, smoked sausage, or noodles to soak up the delicious broth. Our Seafood Boil Combo was a treat, with a 1.5 pound lobster, enormous mussels, sweet clams, and shrimp. The Boil is served in a bucket with brown paper to cover your table, a bib, and plastic gloves to protect your hands and clothes if you wish. We dug in without reservation and had the best Seafood Boil ever, and sopped up the sauce with spaghetti-type noodles. Traditional Cajun dishes include smoky jambalaya made with perfectly cooked rice, chicken, and andouille sausage with spicy Creole gravy. Add clams, mussels, shrimp, and catfish for the seafood jambalaya. Crawfish etouffee is a rice stew with crawfish and a spicy Creole gravy. Share a basket of fried chicken, or waffles and chicken, or the unique blackened catfish in a waffle taco with cole slaw and horseradish mayo. Kids and adults love the Sugar Freak mac ‘n cheese and it can be topped with sweet corn and bacon, or crawfish.

Wrap both hands around a traditional sandwich called the “po’boy” made on a soft hero and filled with fried oysters, blackened catfish, bbq chicken, fried chicken, or roast beef and shrimp. The “Muffuletta” sandwich is made on a round roll and layered with mozzarella, provolone, ham, salami, and mortadella with their signature olive spread.

The Brunch menu offers “eggs in purgatory” with three poached eggs, spicy tomato sauce, cheesy grits and parmesan. Shrimp and grits is a classic dish, and the Sugar Freak breakfast will keep you going until Monday with 3 eggs, buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy, grits, hash browns, bacon or sausage.

Sugar Freak’s house-made desserts are irresistible, with kudos for the banana pudding and fried banana pudding, which is off the hook. Beignets, cupcakes, and bread pudding topped with pralines and bacon are just some of the offerings, but many more are on the way, with a seasonal rotation planned.

Sugar Freak is a concept that is ready to spread its wings and soar. For consistently delicious N’Orleans-style fare, great cocktails and beers, and excellent service, we’ll all be Sugar Freaks soon! They’re open seven days a week; Mon-Thurs. from 5pm and Fri. from 4pm for dinner, and Saturday and Sunday for brunch from 10:00 – 3:30, followed by dinner service at 4:30. Soon, they’ll be open for lunch and for deliveries so stay tuned to their website for more information. Walk, train, bike, or drive on over to the newly expanded Sugar Freak, offering the unique dishes and drinks of New Orleans right here in Astoria.

37-11 30th Avenue, Astoria


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