Astoria, Astoria Arrivals, Cocktails, Dessert, Featured, Restaurants, Vegetarian and Vegan
Feb 14, 2014

We Tried Front Toward Enemy and Liked It

Last night we got the chance to try out Astoria’s latest offering, Front Toward Enemy. After being a bit put-off by the name (it references a M18 Claymore Mine) and (…)

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Last night we got the chance to try out Astoria’s latest offering, Front Toward Enemy. After being a bit put-off by the name (it references a M18 Claymore Mine) and the weird and—ultimately taken down—image of a woman in a gas mask, we’ve come around on FTE.

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It turns out that one of Front Toward Enemy’s owners, Scott is formerly of Dutch Kills in Long Island City, and has brought over their quality cocktail sensibility and unique ice program. The 130-seat restaurant seems it would be equally a great place for a first date, a gathering spot for after work cocktails, or just dinner out. The room is decidedly masculine: tall banquettes are upholstered in leather like materials, heavy looking wood tables have been custom built by one of the owners out on Long Island, and metal accents and filament bulb lighting abound.

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The Drinks

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At Front Toward Enemy, drinks are king. Each cocktail is expertly mixed by their suspender & bow tie clad staff, and made of fresh and high quality ingredients. We sampled a number of cocktails, and enjoyed each one. Mackenzi’s favorites included the Trump Card and The Rockefeller, which came served with one giant square ice cube and two slices of candied ginger. Meg enjoyed a classic Tom Collins, complete with a thick dowel of ice, and the Bow & Arrow, which had a delightful tang from the lime and pineapple juice, along with bourbon mescal, with a slightly spicy finish of cinnamon. All cocktails are $12.

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Mackenzi’s favorite cocktail of the evening, The Rockefeller.

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Meg really enjoyed the Bow & Arrow cocktail.

Two beers were also recommended highly—Empire Brewing Co’s White Aphrodesiac (flavored with lavender), and Boulder Beer’s Shake Chocolate, which apparently does resemble a chocolate shake.

For Dinner

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While the drinks at Front Toward Enemy are a solid 10 out of 10, and a great addition the the neighborhood’s cocktail offerings, the food doesn’t quite match that level of artistry—yet. We tried a large assortment of dishes and found that some of the simplest—bread with sea salt/cracked pepper butter, salads—were the best. The much anticipated Chickpea Fries were somewhat confusing and had a texture that wasn’t 100% enjoyed. They firmed up as they cooled down, but for the most part resembled rectangles of deep-fried hummus. That said, the sriracha mayo that came with it was awesome.

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Standouts for Mackenzi included the ‘snack’ mac & cheese, and the ‘sides’ fries with parmesan & truffle oil and broccoli rabe. Meg really enjoyed the walnut crusted goat cheese salad, which included greens more on the bitter herb side (watercress and endive), some sliced apple, and a well-balanced vinaigrette that balanced with the greens (which are pretty naturally assertive). The salad was topped with a substantial orb of chevre with a firm crust. The fish and chips were also tasty and comforting, consisting of two pleasantly thick pieces of beer battered cod accompanied by crispy fries, a well-balanced tartar sauce, and a side of crushed peas that were savory and sweet at the same time.

A few of the dishes that came recommended by our server, Monica, were the braised lamb shoulder, the burger, and the oysters also come highly recommended.

Desserts 

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If desserts are your thing, you are in for a real treat. The somewhat salty sticky toffee pudding was a lovely combination of salty and sweet, and the chocolate pudding—Meg’s favorite—with a crunchy brioche crouton buried within was even better. Fruity dessert lovers, the apple & berry compote was a solid offering, a not overly sweet filling topped with a hearty crumble topping that we loved. If bananas are your bag, the banana bread and butter pudding will no doubt satisfy with its truly accurate flavor profile.

Overall we felt well-taken care of and the staff was very happy to answer any questions we had about the food, drinks, and space. Though the atmosphere is bordering on dark and moody, the attitude of the staff was upbeat and positive without harshing the space’s mellow. We loved bantering with Monica and she made us feel welcome and valued as a patron. The rest of the staff, including the waiter that took our drink order, to the manager, to the owner, were friendly and obviously happy to be there.

In the back of the dining room is a platform, jutting out from the wall on a pseudo-second level, is where a DJ will spin and live music will be performed. The live music—potentially both acoustic and amplified—will likely be trios playing a variety of genres. They are committed to being sensitive to the sound levels emanating from the place, so it sounds like they’ll do their best to be good neighbors in this respect.

We see ourselves coming back for sure, and truly enjoyed our first visit to Front Toward Enemy! How about you—have you been? We’d love to know. Leave a comment and let us know your impression of the new kid on the block.

Front Toward Enemy, 40-11 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103, www.fronttowardenemynyc.com

15 Comments

PM

Ron Swanson has a Claymore Mine on his desk in Parks and Recreation (along with a mini Czech Hedgehog in his office). I wonder if that influenced it’s place in the world of hipsterdom.

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ccpow

Can I ask those who have been recently why it was so loud? We stopped in Thursday night and the music was blasting. Walking past it this weekend, there was also BLASTING music. On non-live-music nights, can anyone report if it was quieter? I hate to sound old and crotchety, but just wanting to know! Thanks!

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Jon

Naming a restaurant after a slogan printed on mine, an instrument of suffering that leaves people maimed or dead, is about the most off-putting thing a restauranteur can do in my book. Vietnam War era weapons just don’t pique my appetite. I will chalk this up to a misguided hipster attempt to stand out rather than intentional callousness and will give the place a try, but only thanks to this review and the trust I have in Mackenzi & Co’s taste in food and drink.

Reply
Mark

We were also there last night and I agree, this place is awesome. I hope the service and food stay top notch because it has potential to be one of our new spots when we are in NY.

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