2018-01-24 / Restaurant of the Week

Bean’s & Lager KITCHEN AND BAR

The name “Bean’s and Lager” might be catchy, but there’s nothing gimmicky about the excellent food, cocktails, and coffee served here. Husband and wife team Andy Calos and his lovely wife, Viviana, welcome you to their modern, chic restaurant, the only place in Queens for authentic Juan Valdez coffee, hence, the beans! Viviana is an expert barista and brews the best coffee and espresso drinks around. The handsome, backlit bar serves up fabulous cocktails and, yes, lagers, and the seasoned chef cooks up a culinary storm in the brand new kitchen.

Beans and Lager opened in November and is already accumulating a following, despite construction at the train station down the street. It’s simply well worth a little walk for a relaxing evening here. The décor is cozy, cool, and a comfortable place to meet with friends after work or on weekends for everything from excellent coffee, to a freshly mixed drink, to a light snack, to a fabulous full course meal. Best of all, the prices are in reach to all and the service is friendly and professional. Exposed brick and English tile floors set the mood along with soft lighting from industrial chic pendants. The façade is made of glass doors that will all open in warm weather. A raised stage features live jazz on Thursday, February 1st, and every other Thursday after that, with no music charge. Comedy nights occur every other Wednesday and feature up and coming comedians from HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central.

Start with one of their signature cocktails such as the grapefruit mule, a citrusy take on the classic Moscow mule. The Queens Sour mixes Kentucky bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and pineapple for a tangy drink. The Juan Collins shakes tequila with fresh lime juice, agave and seltzer. As the name suggests, there is an impressive selection of beers, stouts, and lagers to choose from, and the list of reasonably priced wines includes vintages from all parts of the world.

Now for the star of the show…the food! There are small plates which are perfect for nibbling at the bar or at your table. Mushroom bruschetta is a house favorite, topped with lemon zested goat cheese upon toasted sourdough bread ($8). Eggplant dip and mixed Mediterranean olives make a great accompaniment to a bottle of wine with friends, served with warm pita bread. The grilled octopus is fantastic, served over crushed red bliss potatoes and dressed with lemon and olive oil. I hear the homemade meatballs are great and I saw the juicy sliders go by, served with oven-roasted, hand-cut fries and topped with your choice of cheese. Sure, there are gourmet wings and sweet potato wedges to share too, as you watch the muted games at the bar and chat with friends.

Butternut squash soup hit the spot on a cold winter night, scented with cumin and topped with a dollop of sour cream and a warm garlic bun on the side ($7). On the cold side, the winter salad is composed with radicchio, romaine lettuce, red onion, dried cranberries, orange segments, and olives with balsamic vinaigrette.

Beans and Lager’s one-page menu offers something for everyone and will change seasonally to take advantage of high quality ingredients and produce in their prime. The Scottish salmon is an impressive fillet of perfectly pan-seared fish, which doesn’t taste the least bit fishy due to its freshness and quality. It was served with a unique ragout of beans, fennel, herbs and lemon and was outstanding. A whole branzino is grilled on the spot and can be shared along with a side of pesto potatoes. The Frenchtrained chef does an excellent job with pan-roasted, French-cut chicken breast, served atop lemon scented couscous ($24) and I even had some left for lunch the next day when it tasted just as good. Dig into a juicy sirloin steak, a 14-ounce ribeye, or a certified Black Angus burger topped with caramelized onion, served with those hand-cut fries.

Beans and Lager welcomes you to try Juan Valdez coffee, perhaps the best in the world, brewed by barista experts who make it just as you like it and mix it into all kinds of coffee drinks, hot and cold. Try some coconut caramel flan with it, ice cream, or coffee affogato, an Italian treat.

Beans and Lager is an ideal spot for weekend brunch, served Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm, followed by dinner service. They’re open six days a week for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch (closed Mondays). Visit their website for tantalizing photos and plan your private party or work event here, with capacity for up to 80 people.

Come for the coffee, the cocktails, the food, the music, the comedy, just come! What are you waiting for?

33-01 36th Avenue
Long Island City


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