Brunch Report - AGED

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

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

Other than Q, Aged is arguably the most upscale restaurant we have this side of Danny Brown and their brunch, while not unreasonably priced, wasn't cheap. You get either a coffee or a juice with your meal, but not both, and no complimentary bloody mary, either. There weren't too many patrons during my meal, but the ones that were there reflected that the management has been quite successful in drawing in those who would be right at home on the Upper East Side.

It was raining out this particular late-morning and the interior was dimly lit. In fact, it wasn't bright when I walked in, and they actually dimmed the lights further about halfway through my first cup of coffee. I have no idea why. It was dark on the inside and bleak on the out, and this made me feel as though it was somewhere around 5 in the evening instead of 11:30 in the morning.

Aged's serves the standard brunch options one would find on any self-respecting brunch menu. French toast, waffles, omelette's, a burger, steak and eggs, pancakes, some wraps, eggs benedict, etc. In other words, it's a real brunch menu. I chose the French Toast with Raspberry. Rather than serve two thick slabs of the egg-batter drenched squishy fried bread, they serve six thin whole-grain ones, laid out simply, without any garnish, on a long plate with a dusting of powdered sugar and a hearty drizzling of raspberry preserve syrup. While the meal itself tasted just fine, unfortunately, by making the toast so thin, the preserves soaked through quite easily and it was overly tart. Good thing they gave me butter. My advice, thicken up that toast. As for the garnish, given that Aged is dying to be seen as a Manhattan establishment that just happens to be in Queens, a half dozen raspberries on my raspberry french toast would have been appreciated.

I also ordered a large grapefruit juice and a cup of coffee. One nice touch was that when the cup ranneth dry, I was given a little silver coffee carafe to refill it with at my leisure. Bonus points there. And gone were the cheapo butter packets from my last review. Is it only a brunch thing? I'm sure that someone out there who's eaten at Aged in the last month or so can leave a comment letting us all know.

Regarding the service, I have zero complaints. My waiter was seemed like a very nice guy and was neither AWOL nor routinely bothering me with "how's your meal, sir?" It's nice to be able to read your magazine in peace. So, although the food I ordered certainly had a some room for improvement, it wasn't bad and I can certainly see myself returning to try their other options.

The french toast, grapefruit juice, and coffee, with tax and tip came in just shy of $20.

UPDATE: 4/25/10:
I returned for brunch with Bro today. We got there around 11:45 and they were pretty empty, but packed by 12:30. Despite having three waiters, they were overworked and getting their attention required firing flares into the sky. I ordered the Classic Eggs Benedict, with spinach. Not bad, as far as eggs benedict go. I was pleased. The home fries that came with it were pretty good too. No complaints except the price, which was $17. A little steep in my book. Bro ordered the Omelet, but that's code for "three eggs with bacon". He ordered them scrambled, so hardly an omelet. And again, $12 for three eggs? But who in their right mind would order scrambled eggs for $12?

I know that many among you have been disappointed in the Aged brunch, but I wonder if that disappointment would die down if the prices did too. Bro had never been there before and he was impressed with the interior. He said that it was nice to have a place that felt like more than a ho-hum diner to eat in. He also liked that as the afternoon got older, the crowd got younger. It's a sign of the change, he noted.

UPDATE: 11/25/13: HERE


Brunch Report - Q

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

Brunch Report
108-25 Ascan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 261-6599

I got home Saturday night at about 8am Sunday morning. Waking from my sleep, all three hours of it, I felt... used up. I was still wearing the now-way-more-wrinkled clothes from the night before, my mouth tasted like the business side of a construction site and I was so dehydrated that my knuckles started to crack and bleed. At least I don't get hangovers. Okay, I told myself, shaking off the grogginess, time for food. I stood outside Q, the neighborhood's upscale Thai restaurant, until they opened at the late-for-brunch hour of noon killing time by alternating between the Kings of Leon and talking on the phone.

I was the only customer at Q, which alleges to have a brunch menu. I say "alleges" because it isn't really true unless pad thai counts as a brunch dish (it doesn't). So I ordered the Eggs Benedict (the only brunch option other than mango pancakes). The eggs benedict were served with a small side salad and a hash brown. You can get it made one of three ways: with Canadian bacon, smoked salmon, or filet mignon. Naturally I chose filet mignon... I mean, like, come on. And they were fantastic. Perfect runny eggs, perfect steak, perfect sauce. The perfect brunch.

But great dish aside, Q doesn't seem to really want your brunch business. They open too late, so everyone leaving the 10am church services won't go there, their menu is geared for lunch with the aforementioned exceptions, and it's all a la carte. So my eggs did not come with coffee, or juice, or a mimosa or bread basket. At least the coffee refills were free this time.

This ambivalence is a definite shame. Clearly Q can make a great brunch, and the atmosphere, with its wicker sofas, jazzy lounge music and upscale decor is everything that great bruncheterias should have in my fantasy-laden stereotype-heavy mind.

The eggs benedict, a coffee, a large orange juice, tax and tip cost about $23.


crazy little thing called brunch...

>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009

crazy little thing called brunch...

I moved to Forest Hills after returning from the Victorian dorms and Gothic cathedral libraries and Latin crests of college. At the time, brunch wasn't on the radar. But in the span of mere months, brunch suddenly became important. Brunch! It was rising up, little sister, turning on the light when I was still exhausted. It was breakfast with liquor. It was eggs benedict and espresso. It was waffles that didn't come out of a toaster. It was dating. It was friends. It was flirting with the hostess at Alice's Tea Cup to avoid the two-hour long waits. It was the East Village, where people line up down the block. It was Park Slope, where you can't walk ten feet on a late Sunday morning without someone sticking a mimosa in your face. It was the Meatpacking District eating between celebrities and their tourist gawkers. It was, my MetroCard refills kept telling me, not Forest Hills.

Brunch. Half breakfast, half lunch, it seems, defines the dining character of a neighborhood. The better the brunch options, the better the dinner options. Maybe this is because brunch neighborhoods are foodie neighborhoods and foodie neighborhoods demand a certain level of goodtasteitude that other places are ambivalent about. Maybe its because foodies who need to fight their hangover with a prescription-strength mimosa don't want to walk very far to the pharmacy in the morning and, like tortoises, all magically find their way to living in certain key parts of town.

I lament the lack of brunch options our neck of the woods. See, it's not about being open at the same time as brunch, or about even having a menu with the word "brunch" on top. One lazy day in the not-too-distant past, Bro pointed at one of the sections in the menu of the Forest Hills Diner, "See? Brunch." I just shook my head sadly. Sorry, man. Calling your breakfast menu brunch, or calling your lunch menu brunch just because you offer a complimentary bloody mary with it... Not the same thing. A diner doing brunch is like Miley Cyrus singing Portishead. It's just a foolish waste of time. Brunch requires a certain je nais se quoi.

Speaking of je nais se quoi, there once was a French restaurant on 70th Road called Rouge that had a great brunch. The rest of their food was solidly forgettable, but not so with the brunch. Alas, they passed on to the great MenuPages listing in the sky. Aged now has a brunch, which I vow to try. In fact, I'm going to try to do 'em all. Bonfire, Just Like Mother's, Network, Danny Brown... I'll skip La Terrazza, which does its brunch "buffet style" for those just dying for breakfast to remind them of their stay in a cheap Las Vegas hotel. But I think it's time to start encouraging brunch again. Wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across your head.

Brunch. It's the most important meal of your Sunday afternoon.



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