By Carol Brock

FLAMINGO CAFE

192-02 Northern Blvd.Flushing

357-4100

Inside the door there are two, three-foottall, pink plaster flamingos. Maybe you, like I, will want to pat them on the head as you exit the Flamingo Cafe. It's irresistible.

A pastry counter with fab-looking French, Italian and Greek pastries will prove irresistible, too. Flamingo's baker has been making tiny bites, the size of a strawberry, and big cakes suitable for a birthday bash for the past 23 years.

In case you've forgotten the date, they will take one of the chocolate cheesecakes, or a divinely creamy cheese cake , and write a message on it with a cream-filled pastry tube, meeting your specifications.

I musn't neglect to mention that the Flamingo also specializes in making crepes, sweet or savory, by spreading the batter over the heated surface. We watched as they prepared an ice cream-filled crepe, dusting it with sugar after adding a drizzle of chocolate stripes.

You'll also notice a bar and a few tall, round tables for cocktails. The cafe section has rattan tables and comfortable arm chairs, meant more for lounging than dining. The corner location 192nd Street and Northern Boulevard) affords lots of floor to ceiling windows. And there's a fireplace at the end with a separate wing for the smoking area. Flamingo Cafe, which was opened a little over a year ago by Harry Tzikal, is of course painted a soft flamingo pink with touches of green, which include a few, tall green plants. I really liked the glimmer of votive candles placed on the shelves behind the bar reaching to the ceiling. The hanging lights in the pastry shop and the bar are very appealing as well.

You can start your day at Flamingo Cafe with a continental breakfast at nine. Try the croissants, or a Greek spinach or cheese pie, or Greek toast or some cheese or yogurt and all kinds of coffee from cappuccino to espresso or American or Greek single or double. Or make it a hot chocolate depending on the weather.

You can end your day at Flamingo Cafe with coffee and pastry. Or a burger or a light supper. Flamingo heats up about 8 p.m. (A light lunch is also served.) Let me tell you about ours.

Here's the rundown on two visits. We were interested in an early supper and started off with a Greek salad and a Caesar salad with chicken, When they arrived, we “oohed” with pleasure. The deep, generous glass bowls were so attractive, filled with greens and with a pita, quartered, standing fan like around the edge. Both salads were outstanding.The Greek salad had bite sized pieces (not unmanageable chunks) of tomato and cheese and such. The Caesar was delightfully flavorful without being drowned in dressing and Parmesan cheese. The chicken strips that topped it were finger-thick and lusciously moist, a great start. My dining companion ordered spinach ravioli, which consisted of five ravioli drowned in tomato sauce. The sauce was delicious, but if I had my druthers I'd prefer it on the cheese ravioli and the sauce thinner.

On another evening, I had the spinach pie with a very fine spinach filling. My pasta, penne carbonara, a light and lovely version. The sauce was so good, I finally took the large spoon to savor it. Wow, I could and should have used the spoon for the penne instead of a fork.

Naturally, desserts were pastries. We went to the counter and tortuously selected a chocolate truffle and a truffle finale. Some say, that like rubbing the statue of buddha, it brings good luck.With a new millennium coming up, it's the prudent thing to do.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A cafe, bakery and creperie in one. Continental breakfasts. Light lunches and suppers. Heats up at 8 p.m. for coffee, pastries, crepes and burgers. The decor is flamingo pink with rattan tables and lounge chairs.

Chefs' Choice

Homemade spinach pie…$3.50

Chicken and cheese crepe…$6,50

Chocolate filled crepe…$5.50

Penne a' la vodka…$6.95

Cheese ravioli…$7.25

Chicken francese….$7.25

Tiramisu (lady fingers, espresso, powder)..$4.00

Chocolate hazelnut pastry…$3.75

Napoleon…$3.50

Tia Maria Blackout Cake…$3.50.

Dancing Flamingo (specialty coffee: chocolate, espresso)…$4.50.

A vanilla milkshake with Oreo cookies…$3.50

Greek coffee (single or double)…$2.50/$3.50

Food: Continental breakfast, light lunch supper, specialty coffees

Setting: pastry shop/cafe. Flamingo pink, rattan lounge chairs

Hours: Breakfast (9 a.m.), lunch, supper

Reservations: Yes

Parking: Street

Dress: Casual

Children: Lots of favorites

Private parties: To 100

Takeout Yes

Noise level: Background music Handicap access: Yes

Credit cards: Diners & all major cards, except Discover



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