Does being a chef to a celebrity make you a celebrity chef? It would seem so, judging by the crush of patrons vying for tables at Astoria’s brand new gastropub, The Pomeroy.
Bo O’Conner, at the helm in the kitchen, was most recently the personal chef to Madame Gaga on her world tour.
Their friendship dates back to when Lady G.G. was still Stefani and Bo’s schoolmate at Convent of the Sacred Heart, an elite independent Catholic girls’ school in Manhattan. To underscore her loyalty, the pop star was present at the restaurant’s opening Oct. 7.
The Pomeroy, named for the old moniker of nearby 37th Avenue, is a gastropub with the emphasis on gastro.
The petite space was fitted out by British designer Benjamin Kay of Adorn Designs with lots of repurposed wood and vintage artifacts that conform perfectly to the young hipster aesthetic. Our favorite touch was a chandelier fabricated from a recycled hanging produce scale.
For a gastropub, the selection of libations was a bit slim. There was a decent collection of specialty cocktails, but a meager bunch of craft brews, and not a single one from Queens. The wine list, too, was rather abbreviated.
The menu is populated by crowd-pleasers, but not necessarily the usual clichés.
After getting hyper-hungry from waiting half an hour for a table, we were drawn to the fried munchies.
Frickles, that is fried pickles, come in a light, crunchy coating, paired with yogurt dill dip, perhaps a nod to the neighborhood. Very noshable, but more of a sharing than a solo dish.
Arancini, rice balls, and polenta fries had a lot in common. They boil down to deep fried cheesy starch, served with the same pleasantly spicy Pomodoro dipping sauce, so you might as well make a decision based on your grain preference. Both were made for satisfying snacking.
The fried chicken, which they seem to tout as one of their specialties, was crunchy and juicy, but not memorable for its flavor. The two accompanying sauces, honey carrot and herb jalapeno were a partial save.
The sea scallops and the short ribs are the two undeniable stars of the menu. The scallops line up between generous shmears of cauliflower and corn purees and are crowned by a scattering of slivered sugar snap peas and microgreens. If you like sweet without cloying, this is your dish.
The red wine and chipotle braised short ribs, on the other hand, are rib sticking with a kick.
You’ll enjoy the same sublime cauliflower puree as with the scallops, but with pickled shallots and a soul satisfying brown gravy.
Desserts here are undeniably house made, and comfortingly homey. None were overly sweet.
The berry crumble combined luscious berries with mascarpone. The pecan bar also was topped with mascarpone. The bread pudding didn’t quite reach perfection because of a few dry spots, but the slathering of gooey fudge sauce was sufficient to warrant forgiveness.
Is a trend starting for celebrity chefs in Queens? First there was Mu Ramen’s Jonathan Smookler, a Korean adoptee raised by Jewish American parents who is something of a Queens culinary celebrity. Now Ms. O’Connor, another Korean adoptee raised by Irish-American parents seems to be achieving overnight stardom, in part because of her connections. But even if O’Connor wasn’t pals with Lady Gaga, the Pomeroy would still rock.
Suzanne Parker is the TimesLedger’s restaurant critic and author of “Eating Like Queens: A Guide to Ethnic Dining in America’s Melting Pot, Queens, N.Y.” She can be reached by e-mail at qnsfo
36-12 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria
Price Range: Snacks: $4—$10, Small Plates: $11—$15, Large Plates: $14—$28
Cuisine: Gastropub grub
Service: Getting there with a few wrinkles
Hours: Dinner Sundays to Wednesdays from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., and Thursdays to Saturdays from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m., closed on Mondays.
Alcohol: Full bar
Children: Preferably of drinking age
Credit cards: Yes
Noise level: Noisy
Handicap accessible: Yes