Astoria
Oct 07, 2014

New Fall Eats at The Queens Kickshaw

It is no secret that WHA staff are fans of The Queens Kickshaw. Over the years we’ve enjoyed the quality food, coffee, and more recently the cider offerings. We also (…)

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It is no secret that WHA staff are fans of The Queens Kickshaw. Over the years we’ve enjoyed the quality food, coffee, and more recently the cider offerings. We also love that they change up their menu seasonally, and late last week we stopped by and tried some of the new Fall menu items (disclaimer: this meal was comped).

Here is what we tried. First up was a pair of vegetable dishes.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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First off, I have to say that I’ve never met a roasted Brussels sprout I haven’t liked (I believe it’s the best way to prepare these tiny cabbages), and these were a delight. The sprouts are cut in half lengthwise, roasted until some have high caramelization on the cut side, and then they are placed in a pool of curry crème fraîche. The earthiness of the curry paired with the slightly tangy crème fraîche was a great combination, as Brussels sprouts can be rather flavorful themselves. Nice to have something equally intense to match them so well.

If you were thinking about trying Brussels sprouts sometime, this is a great dish with which to take that leap (I used to detest Brussels sprouts until I tried them roasted).

Shishitos and Eggplant

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Eggplant and peppers are a classic combination and so it went with these. The peppers had a char to them, and that lovely green flavor that is way less pungent than the typical bell pepper. The eggplants were cooked well and had a nice creaminess to them that eggplant gets when it’s cooked properly (slightly raw eggplant is unappealing, to say the least). There were bits of salt crystals which added a nice crunch and enhanced any savory notes present.

Manchego Sandwich

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This is the only new addition to the sandwich section of the menu. They are using the same excellent focaccia on this sandwich as they used on the Burrata sandwich from the summer. There is something about this bread that is really wonderful—it’s soft with a thin crust that has a beautiful sheen to it. It also possesses a sort of savoriness that sets off cheese really well. I’m a big fan of Manchego and of ratatouille, so this sandwich had my number. It had a nice level of umami (from the cheese) and the ratatouille was sweet with a little tang. It was served with their new fall soup.

Fall Squash Soup

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Squash soup is one of the joys of fall and winter, so I was happy to see it on the menu. This was lighter than a lot of butternut squash soups I’ve had, but the texture was thick enough to coat the spoon. It had a gorgeous color and instead of being a simple pureed soup there were chunks of fruity apples and crunchy bits of fennel for texture. The two squashes used in this soup are butternut squash and delicata. On top of the soup is a mix of crème fraîche spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, along with cream and buttermilk.

Here’s a shot of the soup and sandwich together.

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Kickshaw Okonomiyaki

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This small pancake, cut into four pieces, hit a lot of happy savory notes for us. It contains Maitake mushrooms, shaved Brussels sprouts, pickled daikon, and topped with shredded roasted nori. Both housemade Kewpie-style mayo and tonkastu sauce are drawn on the top, adding a rich, savory, and tangy flavor combination to the whole thing. This was a favorite during the tasting.

Butternut Squash Angolotti

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Probably the biggest surprise was the presence of a poached egg in the middle, which you crack and spread the yolk around the dish to thicken the broth. Maitake mushrooms made an appearance again, as well as Trumpet Royale mushrooms. There are also bits of pickled pearl onions, which give a big flavor lift to the dish, adding some tartness to a family of rich flavors. There is also black truffle oil in there. I loved cutting open the angolotti and seeing the bright, sweet butternut squash puree ooze out. The dish tasted very sophisticated to me.

Here’s another view.

butternut-squash-agnolotti-above-the-queens-kickshaw-astoria-queens

“PB & J” Bread Pudding

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I like nut butters, jam/jelly, and bread pudding, so the likelihood that I would enjoy this dish was pretty high. Spoiler: I loved it. And it looks pretty, with stripes that remind me of a zebra, of all things. Anyway, it’s a really smart dish—a mix of textured (not smooth) hazelnut butter and housemade concord grape jam are sandwiched between pieces of soft, sweet bread pudding. It was strewn with a kind of vanilla creme anglaise. This is a really fun dessert and has a lot of elements of nostalgia while being a very grownup sweet.

Here’s a closeup:

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Nom, nom, and nom.

So there you have it! Head to The Queens Kickshaw for some really interesting, flavorful, and creative fall food. I know I’ll be back!

The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11103, (718) 777-0913, thequeenskickshaw.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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