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The Austin Steak and Ale House is a popular Kew Gardens watering hole with lots of old time pubby atmosphere. It is a warren of several rooms running between Austin Street and the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Their selection of brews is impressive, with 21 on tap and an even greater number bottled. It's a lively place to stop for a cold one.
A bit of history about the building is that for a while, in the 1930s the apartment upstairs was home to a child named Jacob Cohen. Jacob Cohen went on to become Rodney Dangerfield. There's no plaque, though. Some people get no respect.
On a recent Tuesday evening we were looking for a dinner destination to pair with a movie at the Kew Gardens Cinema, our favorite Queens venue for foreign and otherwise-artsy films. Austin Ale House's bar was jumping, but the dining room was quiet. This worked to our disadvantage since our server was also assigned to tables in other parts of the establishment, and they were getting the lion's share of her attention. Although my companion informed her of his extreme thirst upon arrival, it took an inordinate amount of time until his first brew materialized.
The food was equally slow in arriving. The psychic bus boy must have intuited my tendency to fill myself up on bread if allowed to go unchecked. Well before the arrival of any other edibles, he sauntered over to our table, sized up the situation, and snatched away the bread basket and bread and butter plates without explanation. How kind of him to save me from my foibles.
The first sustenance to arrive after the disappearance of the bread was popcorn chicken, listed on the menu as a chef's special appetizer. It was battered, fried "chicken tenders" served with a spicy dipping sauce of the buffalo wings persuasion. They were palatable enough for mindless munching with your suds while watching the game on the TVs which seem to be everywhere.
Both of our salads were above reproach. The Caesar salad was well dressed with dressing that properly contained a touch of anchovy. The garden salad that is included with entrees was nicely composed, and Austin's bleu cheese dressing is creamy-chunky perfection.
We chose entrees from the chef's specials. One was a filet mignon and grilled shrimp combo plate, the other was broiled scrod. When I dithered between fries and onion rings, I was accommodatingly offered both.
Both the fries and the onion rings were rewarding indulgences, although not as hot as they should have been when presented. The grilled shrimp were fresh tasting and grilled just enough to retain their juiciness and remain tender. Unfortunately the only discernable flavor of the accompanying filet was slightly fishy, presumably from sharing the grill with seafood. The broiled scrod was less than appealing with a slight bitter aftertaste.
The Bottom Line
The Austin Steak and Ale House is a convivial place for drinking and pub grub. Stick with the basics. During weekdays, if the dining room is sparsely populated, sit closer to the bar for more efficient service. Different special deals each night of week. Check their website.
Austin Steak and
82-72 Austin St.
Kew Gardens, NY
Cuisine: Classic pub fare, steaks,
Setting: Classic pub setting.
Service: Friendly, but erratic
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily, Sunday
Alcohol: Full bar, great beer selection
Music: Karaoke and other musical events
usually beginning at 11 p.m.
Credit cards: Yes
Noise level: Bar is noisy. Dining room
Handicap accessible: Yes
Caesar salad... $4.95/$8.95
Buffalo chicken wings... $6.95
Grilled shrimp... $19.95
Onion rings... $4.95
French fries... $3.50
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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