Astoria, Bars, Cocktails, Food and Drink, Long Island City, Restaurants
Apr 06, 2015

First Look at Bear’s Spring Cocktail Menu!

A recent rainy Wednesday night was brightened when Bear treated a few of the We Heart Astoria contributors to a sneak peek of their new spring cocktail menu. Many old classics (…)

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A recent rainy Wednesday night was brightened when Bear treated a few of the We Heart Astoria contributors to a sneak peek of their new spring cocktail menu. Many old classics have been whimsically revamped, with delightful results. We were lucky to have photographer Marielle Solan with us to capture all of the goodness!

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Our first drink was the Bloody Beets cocktail, a playful spin on the classic Bloody Mary. The vodka had been infusing in beets since early February, which added a depth of flavor not often found in the brunch staple. The drink was garnished with scallions, a radish, and a pickle, this savory cocktail was a nice, satisfying surprise. If a Bloody Mary is your hangover cure of choice, you’ll definitely want to give this a try.

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The next cocktail was the Train To New Orleans, which featured ginger root-infused rum, soda, fresh orange, and a ginger candy garnish. I could imagine enjoying this light and refreshing cocktail in a sundress on the first warm day of spring, when everyone is out and about celebrating the sunshine.

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You can’t go wrong with an Old Fashioned, but Bear takes it to another level by using pear-infused whiskey. This was Meg’s favorite cocktail of the evening, and for good reason: the crushed orange and bitters complemented the whiskey perfectly. Fans of a classic Old Fashioned just may find a new favorite in this version.

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For myself and Marielle, the standout of the evening was The Siberian, a martini with lemon-infused vodka, organic imported birch sap, and fresh lemon. The sweetness of the birch sap paired nicely with the sourness of the lemon, and everything came together for a clean finish. I don’t order martinis often, but the next time I stop by Bear, this will be my first cocktail!

In addition to the drinks, Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky also presented us with a sampling of some of Bear’s most notable dishes. This was my first time trying Russian/Ukrainian cuisine, and I wish I had started enjoying it sooner!

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We started off with borscht, a beetroot and tomato-based soup, which was the perfect light start for what was to come.

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The borscht was followed by the Zakuski platter: a sampling of traditional “little bites to bite on.” There was so much deliciousness on that platter, but the winner for me was the caviar deviled eggs with salmon roe. They were decadent and comforting at the same time, for a unique treat.

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Also featured was a plate of braised beef tongue, served with radishes, crumbled egg, spinach, and horseradish. If beef tongue sounds scary, fear not: it reminded me of an upscale bologna.

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We also tried an assortment of pickles, red and green tomatoes, and mushrooms pickled and marinated with scallions, with provided a nice contrast to some of the richer items.

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For main dishes, we sampled Bear’s pierogies, which rival the best in the city, and chicken and beef liver stroganoff, which was another welcome twist on the comfort food classic. I would be happy to recommend both of these dishes to someone looking for a solid meal in Queens.

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We finished the night with smetannik, a sour cream cake served with sour cherries. Not overly sweet but very satisfying, the cake was a perfect finish to the evening.

A VERY special thanks goes out to Sasha Pogrebinsky and Natasha Pogrebinsky, who treated us to a fabulous night of food and drinks. Whether you’re already a fan of Bear’s cuisine or a newbie like me, you’ll find something new exciting on their menu!

Bear Restaurant, 12-14 31 Avenue Long Island City, (917) 396-4939 bearnyc.com, Facebook, Twitter

About Lindsay Goyette

Lindsay has been eating and drinking her way through Queens since 2011. A casting director by day and Astoria explorer by night, you can usually find her checking out live music, theatre, or the newest neighborhood spot to enjoy a craft beer.

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