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Going out to celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an especially poignant holiday for New Yorkers this year.

Here is a small sampling of restaurants in Queens where families and old or soon-to-be friends can share traditional or innovative cuisine — and perhaps find that despite terrorist attacks and plane crashes, there is still much to be thankful for.

The New Flagship Diner

138-30 Queens Blvd.

Briarwood

Tel. (718) 523-6020

Fax (718) 523-7417

Accepts all major credit cards, free parking

The New Flagship Diner has been an institution in Briarwood since 1965. Thirty thousand people eat there each month, said co-owner Vincent Pupplo. “Nobody has ever complained that the food made them sick,” he quipped. This is no small boast for a diner that is open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The dishes are made from scratch, — with “the best ingredients,” said co-owner and chef Jimmy Skartsiaris — for meals for every time of day. There are early-bird breakfasts, lunch specials, entree menus (including wine) and midnight party-animal snacks.

Skartsiaris designs the recipes and is especially proud of this year’s Thanksgiving menu. For prices that range from $14.95 (á la carte) to a full dinner, $22.95, customers can enjoy the traditional roast turkey with chestnut stuffing. Or, for the more adventuresome, there are barbecued baby back ribs and BBQ shrimp. All entrees include cup of soup, tossed salad, potato, vegetable and a complimentary glass of house wine.

Full dinner includes selected appetizer, soup, tossed salad, entree, potato, vegetable, beverage and dessert (cheesecake $1.25 extra).

La France

111-08 Queens Blvd.

Forest Hills

Tel (718) 520-6488

Available for private parties

Accepts all major credit cards

Newly installed on Queens Boulevard is La France, specializing in kosher French haute cuisine. This means no dairy, since meat is served. “It makes the food easier on the palette and the stomach,” says owner and chef Stanislav Kowal. Although he is also trained in Italian and German cooking, he believes patrons prefer light French food.

He has adapted standard provincial recipes to American favorites. To this end, hiscrepes are stuffed with halibut, salmon and filet of sole, seasoned with pepper and olive oil. This is garnished with tofu cream. Among the items on the menu are lamb chops, veal chops and a variety of salads.

To celebrate his first Thanksgiving in his new restaurant, Kowal is offering a tribute to the chosen bird. For $24.95, customers can have turkey soup with pumpkin roll or garden salad and turkey with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with nuts, and red cabbage. Dessert is an American favorite, Baked Alaska. There is also coffee or tea. A glass of fine French wine tops off the meal.

Kowal’s vision is starting to pay off. To date, he has 45 reservationsfor Thanksgiving and more coming in.

Mélange Grill & Café

70-28 Austin Street

Forest Hills, NY 11375

(718) 268-4524

Fax (718)

Accepts all major credit cards

Parking available ($1 per hour with restaurant validation)

With 25 years in the same location, owner Frank Natale knows his clientele. They enjoy his mixture (hence the name of the restaurant) of “continental food with an Italian twist”. The menu includes sandwiches, steaks and fries, various pasta entrees and meat or poultry dishes.

Customers also relish the variety at his establishment. There is nightly entertainment. Also, there’s a karaoke bar every Wednesday evening. On weekends, the restaurant turns into a club with dancing and parties.

Especially important for families, Natale’s children’s menu ($7.95) caters to the discriminating tastes of the youngest diner.

For Thanksgiving, the little ones can order soup or salad with turkey or a chicken fingers platter with french fries, for the above price. Adults have a choice of any number of four-course dinners. For $24.95, they can order soup: tortellini consommé or crème of broccoli with shrimp, fresh garden or Caesar salad, fresh roasted turkey with apple chestnut stuffing, and fresh yams. Or if they prefer, there is baked Virginia ham or prime rib. Dessert of either pumpkin or apple pie completes the meal accompanied by coffee or tea.

Manager Marcos Gutierrez suggests that first timers try the seafood combination of mussels, calamari, shrimp and tuna in a white wine sauce. It is a specialty of the house and good way to begin a festive meal.

Baluchi’s Indian Food

113-30 Queens Blvd. (at 76th Road)

Forest Hills

(718) 793-5858

www.baluchis.com

Accepts all major credit cards

Parking available

Delivery available

For those who want something more innovative for Thanksgiving, there’s Baluchi’s Indian Food. The restaurant is part of a franchise and the only representative outside of Manhattan. Manager Vivek Satsangi describes the menu as “an eclectic offering from various Indian regions”.

In honor of thanksgiving, there will be a special buffet with complimentary dessert. Also, the regular menu is 50 percent off and includes chicken cooked in tomato cream sauce, hot and spicy lamb, Baluchi’s shrimp curry and many vegetarian dishes.

Although the recipes are created at the central location in Manhattan, the chain is noted for its distinctive and inexpensive selection. Prices range from $12.95 to $19.95.

As an added treat, there is often have live Indian music.

Reach Qguide writer Loretta Campbell by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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