Brunch Report - OLD VIENNA CAFE

>> Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brunch Report
108-22 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-8436

I have yet to dine at Old Vienna Cafe for dinner, so I've been hesitant to go there for brunch. Somehow, I thought it might spoil whatever experience I would have had come sundown. I admit that it was a silly notion, but it's the only one I've got. Anyway, I finally did go. Pike and I found ourselves seated just this morning, the night after the big (and so far, only) snowfall of the winter.

I am reluctant to say that Old Vienna was pretty sparsely populated because one might think that this has anything to do with the weather. In truth, I've walked past it dozens of times and have never seen very many people eating there. Meanwhile, just a few feet away, Cheeburger is standing room only. Naturally, getting a table was a breeze. 

Pike and I ordered some coffees (very good coffee, by the way) and noticed that there isn't really much in the way of a brunch menu here. Mostly, it's lunch and even the brunchy options share a page with a selection of sandwiches. Bro would have been tickled pink to have eaten here though, as they have a large selection of crepes. 

Pike and I had very different opinions on what we ordered this morning. I ordered the Classic Eggs Benedict, which were made the classic way. Poached eggs with ham on an English muffin under Hollandaise sauce. It came with a side salad which was very pleasant and the whole meal, in my opinion, was everything it was supposed to be. Pike, on the other hand, ordered Steak and Eggs and he was none too impressed. He specifically ordered the steak, a small NY strip, medium rare, but it came medium well and he left half of it on the plate. It came with a side of home fries, which he thought even less of than the steak. "I had three bites and that was enough" he told me. How about the eggs? I asked. "They're fine. They're scrambled. The coffee's good though." So I'd sum it up with: hir or miss. I'd like to return to try the crepes though. And they had a French toast that looked interesting.

The service was overall weak. There were too few people here to warrant having to wave our arms in the air to flag a waiter fifteen feet away, but that's a petty complaint. What isn't petty is that brunch didn't come with coffee or mimosas or juice. It's an a la cart extra. They aren't encouraging any more seats to fill up by having you pay for a brunch tradition. On the plus side, you'll never wait for a table.

Expect to pay between $8 and $13 for the food, plus coffee, plus juice, plus booze. Overall, everything included, we spent $40. Two brunch entrees, two coffees, and a mimosa, plus tax and tip.


Susan January 22, 2012 at 4:45 PM  

Shame that Pike's steak wasn't cooked to order. I ordered the steak for dinner one night and thought it to be excellent.

Matter-of-fact, my feeling was that the dinner portions were tremendous (I ordered a salad for an appetizer that was enough to easily feed two), and it would behoove Old Vienna to cut the portion sizes and the prices accordingly.

Like yourself, the 3 times I've eaten there (once for dinner; twice for cake and coffee) the restuarant was fairly empty. Service has been hit or miss for me. One of my biggest gripes was that when I went for dinner I really wanted their lamb burger and even though we ate early and the restaurant was empty, they "ran out" of burgers.

On the up side, I agree that their coffee/cappuccino's are excellent, and the cakes I've tasted have been superb.

With that said, I don't see Old Vienna hanging around that much longer. To your point, they've done little to bring in the crowds, and rent for that location has to be on the high end.

Ellen M.,  May 23, 2012 at 3:46 PM  

I've only been to Old Vienna Cafe once and I must comment. It has to be the worst place in all of Forest Hills. I was there for lunch and 1) The service was terrible even though there were only 5 other people in the place. The waiter stood around staring into space, but certainly not checking on me or my order. It should not have taken 1/2 hour between salad and sandwich with only 5 other customers in the place. 2) The food was terrible. I had a beet and herring salad that had obviously been pre-made and kept in the fridge. All that keeping it in the fridge accomplished was to completely dull the taste of the beets and the herring to the point of tasteless. My schnitzel sandwich was awful. More than that I cannot say, as I have tried to wipe it from my mind. 3) Dessert - sorry, didn't have any as my waiter was too self-absorbed to even ask me if I wanted coffee or anything else. 4) For a place that has not been in business that long, it is already in dire need of refurbishment. I spent my lunch hour staring at scuffed woodwork that desperately needed a scrub and a paint job - that is, when I wasn't staring at the badly stained cushion of the chair at the next table.

Definitely not worth a return trip.

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