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Dining Out: Anna’s gives you everything your belly yearns for

Anna’s Place

97-11 Queens Blvd. Rego Park

897-3035

Irish-born Anna Walsh has been here in the US for 20 years. Though she took over Jaeger’s in Rego Park from the Jaeger family and christened it Anna’s Place two years ago, there are still steins about, but now scenes of Ireland line the walls from front to back. Of course there are customers who speak with a brogue, and waitresses do, too.

I especially like the chumminess of the seating in the wrought iron booths opposite the bar up front. Others may prefer the serenity of the lighter, brighter dining room in the rear just past the open salad bar with it's peach cloths and napkins.

Yes, you’ll find sauerbraten with red cabbage and potato dumplings on the menu and breaded, sautéed wiener schnitzel. But there’s also beer-batter fish and chips with tartar sauce and shepherd’s pie, a beef pie topped with vegetable and potato. On Sundays you may have an Irish breakfast or a traditional American brunch.

And Anna’s is an all-inclusive menu: portobello mushrooms, fried calamari, pan-roasted crab cakes, Japanese dumplings with dipping sauce, baby back ribs with barbecue sauce, grilled fillet of salmon with orange ginger sauce, New York sirloin steak.

We settled into the back dining room early on a snowy evening. And perused the menu noting beers on tap including a stein of Spaten and a stein of pilsner and Guinness stout. Our dark haired, fair skinned, Irish lass handed us a list of the specials of the evening with prices included (Thank you very much). Roast goose headed the list. Since that’s a rare bird these days, “That's for to me.” My dining companion decided on the roast pork special, 3/4-inch thick slices with rich brown gravy.

The bread basket held white rolls and bread flats. We nibbled. We shared an order of baked stuffed clams, four of them, delightful with a crumb filling, chunks of clam and lemon wedges for added zest.

Dinner includes an open salad bar and we sampled its wares. My companion topped salad greens with cut up tomatoes, whole beets and dressing, and ladled up a cup of barley soup pronouncing it “nice and thick.” The whole beets tempted me, as did a bit of Russian salad - cooked vegetables dressed with mayonnaise.

I must say, our entrees were accompanied with appealing vegetables. The roast pork had mashed yellow turnips and red cabbage. I had the most delicious creamed spinach with a mace/nutmeg spicing which I adored. And the cornbread stuffing for the goose was more so. The potato was a finger shaped croquette and it, too, was outstanding. In the next booth (Here, there are booths around the outside) a very friendly diner commented favorably on the sauerbraten and, particularly, the large, round potato dumpling.

There was an array of cakes for dessert, including the ever-popular chocolate mousse and cheesecake. Hazelnut was our choice, and it was prettily plated and, more important, most delicious. It made a great share. Anna's coffees run the gamut from Irish with Jameson's Irish Whiskey, to Italian with sambuca, to Mexican with Kahlua, to German with Asbach Urlat brandy, to French with Grand Marnier, to Scottish with Drambuie.

I’m going to keep Anna's Place in mind for St Patrick’s Day and corned beef and cabbage served with boiled potatoes and top it off with one, or even two, Irish coffees.

And when I'm in the mood to go “Dutch,” I’ll keep in mind the Hungarian beef goulash with buttered noodles and may even start off with the Hungarian goulash soup and a tossed spinach salad with bacon. Bratwurst or knockwurst, both off them with sauerkraut, accompanied by a stein of beer, is another way to go.

If I’m feeling Continental, I’ll spoon into French onion soup followed by broiled filet of sole with white wine and lemon sauce, or chicken paillard (sauteed chicken cutlet) for an entree and chocolate mousse pie for dessert. Crab cakes and baby back ribs would be very American - the old South.

So, Anna's Place takes care of all your dining whims in an Irish setting with a few steins of beer.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Owner, new. Manager of 30 years. Continental with Irish/ German specialties. Open salad bar. Cozy bar area seating. Light and bright rear dining room in rear. Some service with a brogue.

CHEF'S CHOICE

Chicken Fingers (with honey mustard sauce, French fries)...S6.95

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (4)...$8.95

Japanese Dumplings (with dipping sauce)...$6.95

Weiner Schnitzel (breaded and sauteed)...$14.95

Shepherd's Pie (beef pie topped with vegetables & potato)...$8.95

Sauerbraten (marinated the old way, potato dumpling, red cabbage)...$16.95

Chocolate Mousse Cake...S4.50

Cheese Cake...$4.50

Cuisine: German/Irish/Continental

Setting: Irish scenes & beer steins

Service: Some with brogue

Hours: L&D 7 days. Brunch (& Irish brkft.)

Parking: validated

Location: Two blocks from Sears

Dress: Neat casual

Credit cards: All major

Children: Accommodated

Private Parties: To 60

Takeout: Yes

Off premise catering: None

Noise Level: Quiet

Smoking: Bar

Handicap access: Yes

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