AGED

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

107-04 70th Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 544-2433

UPDATED ON 2/22/11 AT BOTTOM.

My friend Speeds, finding herself in Queens one evening, shuffled over to bid me hello and grab some dinner. She asked if there was anywhere in specific I wanted to go, and the first place to cross my mind was the newest addition to the Forest Hills dining scene, the highly anticipated Aged. Aged is an American restaurant with a focus (not an exclusivity) on steaks and seafood. It had outdoor seating when it opened a month ago, but this has since vanished. Too bad. I would have come earlier had it remained. The area needs more outdoor restaurants, so hopefully, it will return.



Short user reviews on Yelp have been hot and cold, to say the least. The people who love it, LOVE it and the people who hate it HATE it. I'll say up front that I like Aged, but especially for the price, there is room for improvement.

The interior, with it's faux-rustic chairs and chandeliers, tries to get you into the spirit of eating in a woodsy lodge somewhere in Coloradoland. The menu is full of traditional American dishes without the culinary school flair for nouveaux-artsyness. I think this style fits well here in FoHi, but I say this with some disappointment. I'd like to see a restaurant succeed here while being able to push the envelope.



If Aged is far from trendy, then it's similarly far from cheap. The average appetizer will run you about $14, with the average entree coming in at ten dollars more. We skipped the drinks, so I can't speak for either the wines or cocktails, but I think that $10 or so per glass would be a reasonable guess. Given that the cost is on the high end, I was disappointed with the rolls, which were generic and served with cheap butter in little packets. I would have expected a 2-inch by 2-inch slab of butter on a small plate.



Speeds and I shared two appetizers. The first to come was the Calamari Fritti, a dish we've all had a thousand times if we've had it once. Fried calamari will always play second fiddle to grilled calamari, but this was very good fried calamari. The crust was crispy, the squid itself tender. No complaints here. Second to come (we ordered the appetizers about ten minutes apart from each other) was the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, which was large and impressive. The crab seemed fresh, not fake, and there was almost no breading, a sign of cheap, frozen crap. The cake sat on a remoulade sauce, which was good, but the chef went overboard with it. Half as much would be appreciated. The seaweed it was served under was quite good.




Speeds' entree was the Tilapia Livornese, a tilapia fillet with artichokes, capers, olives, tomatoes, red peppers and shallots. I wasn't expecting much, given that tilapia is so easy to render bland and worthless, but this was very very good. I highly recommend it to your non-red meat eating friends. Especially if they like things with a little bit of sour kick. My choice was the 14 Ounce Hanger Steak, with mashed potatoes and mixed steamed vegetables, which was, frankly, not as good. I ordered it medium rare, but it came closer to medium. Fine, I can live with that. The mashed potatoes were okay, but boring. The vegetables were similarly boring, only way way way more so. I would have preferred french fries. Aged offers sauces, should you like one, and I asked to try two. The Bearnaise and the House Made Steak Sauce. Neither were very good, to be honest, but the Bearnaise was better. The steak sauce was like a very sharp A1. My advice here is to scrap the sauce options and offer Worcestershire.




In conclusion, the meal was overall pretty good, though for a steak house (sorta) my steak was a little weak. I'm glad Aged is here and I plan to return for a follow-up.



Our two appetizers and two entrees cost around $90 with tax and tip.




UPDATE 2/22/11:
Last night, Pike and I showed up at Aged for dinner. I haven't been here in a long time, save for brunch, and since then the message boards have been aglow with the haters. Of course, that's expected. Nine times out of ten, if you want to know whether or not a restaurant is any good, you look in the window. If it's packed, then it's a pretty good sign. Not a perfect system, I'll agree, but one we all use by and large. Aged has never had that problem and while not standing room only, there was a good crowd for a Monday.

Anyway, so Pike and I split two appetizers, the Shrimp Cocktail and a half dozen Oysters. The shrimp were huge. Super jumbo would be a good word. You get four. The oysters were somewhat smaller than the ones I've had in the past, on average, but not salty and not sandy. We enjoyed both quite a bit. Pike ordered the 14oz Filet Mignon and a side of sauteed spinach. It's about four inches thick and was cooked the way it should be. Medium rare. Is this the same steak you'd get at Peter Luger? No. But no such a comparison would be a legitimate one. I ordered the Herb Encrusted Chicken Breast, which came with juilenned vegetables and a a creamy lentil spread over a tart lemongrass cream sauce. I was extremely happy with this choice. The chicken was tender, the sauce was superb, and it worked extremely well with the mashed lentils... especially surprising since nothing works well with mashed lentils. I also ordered a side of steamed asparagus, which was, you know, steamed asparagus.

Thing is, the meal wasn't cheap. These four dishes, plus two sodas (no liquor) and two coffees, plus tax and tip was $125. Long story short, Aged did well last night and I'm sure to recommend them, but expect to pay a pretty penny for it.

3 comments:

Laura Lutz July 27, 2009 at 5:21 PM  

I had the same feeling about it: good, not great. It played everything incredibly *safe*. I also had the crab cake and thought that the seaweed salad was a fresh, interesting addition - why can't there be more touches like that on the menu? We also commented on the butter - talk about a cost-cutting measure! Meh.

The wine was okay, but my husband is a beer drinker...and their "beer" list (at the time we went 3 weeks ago) was embarrassing: Coors, Bud, Corona, Stella, and Guinness - NOTHING on tap, these were all bottles. It's a steakhouse - you'd think they'd offer something a little more interesting.

Overall, my husband and I agreed we'd go to Cabana any day over Aged.

Jon Parker July 27, 2009 at 6:02 PM  

Laura,

Taps seem to be a rarity in FH. Even Dirty Pierre's, theoretically a bar, doesn't have them. But I am surprised. I'd have thought that Aged would have had a microbrew list, if for no other reason than to make them appear more prestigious. And I can't imagine that it's very hard to talk to the Magic Hat distributor.

Now that people have begun eating here, I'm wondering whether or not Aged would beat out Bonfire as a destination?

Jane June 25, 2010 at 4:12 PM  

Went there about a month after they opened. Ordered Oysters which were fine (although we weren't told what kind they were- our guess, blue points), then shared a Porter House. Severely underwhelmed. The steak was average, quality wise, and not cooked to our specification. You're a steak house? Not really.
We were sat by the front window at a row of tables for two. There was so little space between the tables, that we literally had to move our table to be able to go to the restroom. Awkward. Finally, while waiting for our meal and people watching I noticed the bartender pour a rather generous glass of wine. I was impressed, right up up until the manager came hustling over and made the barman pur half of it out. Strange and wasteful. I know glasses wine shouldn't be filled, but come one. With so many other places to go in the neighborhood and beyond, I'll be spending my money else where.

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