Astoria, Bars, Beer and Wine
Jan 13, 2013

Yay for The Strand Smokehouse

While there’s been a whole lot of controversy about The Strand, some loving its communal, friendly vibe while others complaining about a disruption in the nabe, I went over to check it out myself to form my own opinion. I’m happy to say that I found it nothing but pleasant, social and really different from the other watering holes we already have in Astoria.

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While there’s been a whole lot of controversy about The Strand, some loving its communal, friendly vibe while others complaining about a disruption in the nabe, I went over to check it out myself to form my own opinion.  I’m happy to say that I found it nothing but pleasant, social and really different from the other watering holes we already have in Astoria.

The Setting:
From the minute I stepped in, I was amazed by the size of the space, which housed rows and rows of picnic tables, which were more or less occupied on a random Sunday night.  This was a really good sign, I thought, as you can really judge the pedigree of a place on an off night.

There’s a huge bar that’s located to the immediate left of the entrance where you can find 16 locally brewed beers that will change by the season, whiskey in some laaarge barrels and over to the back of the bar is the food counter.  I loved that its all really casual and that there’s s no table service, which means you’re in control of when you get your food and drink.  Not only do they have barbecued meats such as ribs and brisket, but also homemade roast beef and plenty of interesting sides.

The Food:
Since I’m a lover of meat, I couldn’t resist splitting a baby back half rib platter and a generous helping of roast beef, together with two sides of baked beans and roasted beets, with my husband.  It all seemed like a great combination, providing a mix of indulgence with earthy elements from the veggies.

The ribs were pretty good I’d say but not awesome, and they had to be spruced up with The Strand’s Carolina-style BBQ sauce.  However, where they really shined was with the roast beef – not surprisingly, I’ve heard that this item sells out quite frequently, and if you really want it, you better get there early.  The meat is tender, juicy and so flavorful – cut a bit thick so you can taste all its meaty glory.

For me, just as exciting as the meat were the sides, which I enjoyed very much.  The beets were especially excellent, cut not too thick and dressed simply with some fresh parsley, they exuded freshness.  While the beans were a lot heartier, they were executed really nicely too, resembling a rich, deeply-flavored veggie stew.

The Service:
Since the whole place functions pretty casually, I can’t say much about the service, except for the fact that as soon as we finished our meal, our tray was removed and the table wiped.  It was great, unobtrusive service that I can’t say I always find at either Beer Garden.

The Cost:
In terms of costs, they’re pretty moderate, with the above mentioned meal and drinks only setting  us back $40 (no tip required!)

The Strand Smokehouse25-27 Broadway, Astoria.  718.440.3231 

6 Comments

judith

Guys, I totally hear your point on the tipping, but I also continue to think that it’s very discretionary. Tipping is in the eye of the beholder, at least I interpret it that way – there are no hard/cold rules.

Ernie – Not sure about the noise level issue. When I was there personally, I didn’t see it as disruptive, as everyone stayed inside, but I’m thinking it may be an issue when the weather gets warmer. Also, it may make sense to cut off the outside patio at a certain point in the evening.

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Johfa Rahn

@Ali- you beat me to it, and took the exact three words I was going to use to start this comment — ” no tip required?”. Overall thought the review was well done but killed at the very end! We can get into a whole discussion here about tipping front of house and tipping back of house…prime example: at pita pan, there ad tip jars. I ask the young girl behind the register if they share the tips with the guys making the gyros TWO FEET BEHIND THEM. She said ‘ no,.’. Does it make sense the person making your sandwich dosnt get a tip even a PORTION of the tip? Yet the person using a computer, tapping four buttons, and making change gets a tip. Curious for opinions here.
In the case of strand, I did not eat first time I was there, but when I did order my drink from the cafeteria style ‘bar,’ I surely tipped my ‘bartender’ as I usually do.

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ernie

What do you think about the issues the neighborhood has with their backyard? Did you see it for yourself how they are a nuisance to the people in their community? Shouldn’t they just keep it inside and not bother the neighbors? Did you see the poor employees shuttling between strand and bakeway?

I would hope everyone leaves a tip and stays out of the backyard.

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judith

True – you are right. Tipping is very discretionary though so if you feel that you don’t want to leave a tip, it’s up to you. I didn’t leave one for the food service and I personally didn’t get a beer. But yes, everyone should tip at their discretion.

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Ali - YumVeggieBurger

no tip required? I would hope that you aren’t encouraging people to forgo tipping their bartenders at a place that you say you enjoyed visiting. It may not be “required” to tip at an establishment where you line up and get your food at the counter cafeteria style, but it is still customary to tip the bartender who pours your drink.

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Jaclyn

I love this place and have been several times. I am in LOVE with the biscuits. I hope they can ride out the storm and stick around, it’s definitely a welcome change.

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