Astoria, Brunch, Restaurants, Vegetarian and Vegan, WHA Hearts
Mar 29, 2014

Rainy Day Eats – Meg Hearts Brunch at Mar’s

Today I had to be down in the southern part of Astoria, so I decided to have brunch at Mar’s on this rainy, chilly spring day. Last time I had (…)

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Today I had to be down in the southern part of Astoria, so I decided to have brunch at Mar’s on this rainy, chilly spring day. Last time I had brunch there was this past October, so it really was time for another visit. And let me tell you—my meal was delicious and exactly what I wanted.

dining-room-mars-astoria-queens

I like to eat brunch on the early side, so I arrived at Mar’s around 11:30 a.m. It was very mellow in there and I knew that it was just the vibe I wanted after all the excitement this week. I loved having the chance to just sit and relax in lovely surroundings—and the stylings of Chet Baker on the sound system was an extra added bonus.

I had studied the menu before I arrived so I knew what I wanted—kale salad, sausage or bacon, and a cappuccino. I asked my server which he would recommend and he said the lamb sausage was particularly delicious, so I ordered that.

So first, the kale salad—holy business, it is gooooooood!

kale-salad-mars-astoria-queens

Tuscan kale is cut into thin ribbons with the addition of toasted almonds, chunks of avocado, sliced pickled egg, small cubes of ricotta salata, and lemon and olive oil. At first I thought the pickled egg, with its reddish exterior, was pieces of red skinned new potatoes, but it was the white of the egg with a red exterior—perhaps pickled in red wine vinegar or something like that (the yellow hard yolk was crumbled and tossed atop the whole salad). They had a lovely sharp pickled flavor but it did not overwhelm the rest of the salad. The lemon flavor was more pronounced, lending a clean tang to the whole thing. Kale goes especially well with acid like vinegar and lemon, so this was a harmonious marriage of flavors. I also liked how the almonds retained their crunch in the salad, adding a pleasing contrast in texture. The ricotta salata contributed just the right amount of saltiness, and the avocadoes were creamy like good avocadoes tend to be.

Overall, I thought this was a spectacular salad, and a stellar vegetarian option in the neighborhood. I can’t wait to head back and have it again!

Along with that I had the sausage side (made with lamb), and I did wonder what kind of form it would take. Turns out it was a little coiled sausage that came with sections of char from being on the grill for so long. It had a lovely savoriness to it that was a good accompaniment to the bright flavors of the kale salad. I also loved the serving size—just enough.

lamb-sausage-mars-astoria-queens

Along with that, I had a cappuccino that was just really solidly made. I am a fan of the Danesi coffee served at their sister restaurant, Sparrow, so I expected to like it, and I did!

cappuccino-mars-astoria-queens

All in all, this was one of the loveliest brunches I’ve had in Astoria. I have to add that the attentiveness of the staff also made my experience a very positive one. I never felt abandoned, as can happen sometimes as a solo diner, and my server displayed that terrific balance of friendliness and professionalism while giving me plenty of room to enjoy my meal at my own pace.

Thanks so much to Mar’s for offering such a warm brunching experience! I look forward to my next visit.

Mar’s, 34-21 34th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106, (718) 685-2480, lifeatmars.com

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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