Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Crescent Grill: LIC’s New “New American” Rocks!

By: Anne M. Raso

Long Island City seems to be the next Williamsburg with numerous hotels and hip eateries opening up. Crescent Grill appears to be the “go to” restaurant in the neighborhood thanks to the rave reviews both in the press and via word of mouth. It’s a farm to table kind of place with co-own Shaun Dougherty overseeing the picking of the produce, some of which is picked up at the Jackson Heights Farmer’s Market. Brother and co-owner Dan Dougherty operates the Crescent Grill on a day-to-day basis, visiting at each table and asking if everything’s going well. He is an affable, hands-on owner and a friendlier and more concerned restaurateur you will not meet. It is only a four or five block walk from the N train at 39th Avenue in Long Island City but the restaurant will send a complimentary car anywhere in the neighboring area including the nearby subways if you do not want to walk—and you can even call the restaurant last minute when you get off the train! The Dougherty boys are knowledgeable on art and support local artists by selling and exhibiting their art at their gallery near the maître d’s podium in front; they even host events for local artists.
Now, about the food served at this industrial looking former beauty supply warehouse that’s been redone with bright colors, great art and recycled boardwalk lumber (which graces the ceiling)…Crescent Grill serves super-fresh Modern American fair. My dining partner Gail and I started off with the delicious Asparagus Salad (Pickled), which is a reasonable $12. The pickled asparagus were thin and tender and served with a delicious drizzle of lemon juice and EVOO. This is a perfect light appetizer in warm weather, and perfect for vegans and low card dieters…. or people just looking to eat healthily.
Magret Duck
Need we shared the Magret Duck ($29) as a mid course—although it is listed on the menu as an entrée--which features two large chunks of duck breast (probably six ounces each) on a bed of grilled garlic, fiddleheads, strawberry paint (something new to me) and a thickened natural jus based sauce in a clever teardrop shape on the plate. I strongly recommend this for duck lovers—the meat is ultra-fresh, grass-fed, and tender and there is no gamey taste. It tastes more like a very rare filet mignon.
Petite Filet Mignon 
Speaking of filet mignon, next both of us got the Petite Filet Mignon ($39) served with EVOO crushed potato, Tuscan kale, wild mushrooms, cipollini onions—all on top of a wonderful red wine and natural jus sauce. The filet was about six ounces, cooked to medium rare perfection and we almost did not need knives to cut through our meat. This is a great crowd pleaser at CG—and I would definitely go back for more! As sides, we shared the buttery Sugar Snap Peas & Carrots (they were baby carrots, BTW) and Macaroni and Cheese. All sides are $6 unless you want to add lobster to your Mac And Cheese and portions are quite large—I would say that both sides we ordered were 1 ½ cups in size and incredibly tasty. The Mac And Cheese have plenty of seasoned breadcrumbs on top, so if that’s how you like yours, definitely come to CG! I personally fell in love with the Sugar Snap Peas used—they tasted like they were picked on a farm five minutes before the chef sautéed them in OVOO!
Lemon Cheesecake 
Desserts really vary night after night here and we picked out the Lemon Cheesecake ($12), which is served with vanilla crumble on top, yogurt and raspberry sorbet. The cheesecake was lemony to perfection, and I loved the way the pastry chef got a hard yogurt shell on top of the raspberry sorbet—it was nearly as creamy as the sorbet itself, which is handmade on site.

The Crescent Grill is well worth venturing out of Manhattan for, and it took me 35 minutes door to door from my apartment in the East 70s (the walk from the N train 39th Avenue station took only six minutes)! I strongly suggest that you check out their $25 weekend brunch special (Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 4), if you want to test out this acclaimed eatery on the cheap. People are lining up for that every weekend! I will be going back here shortly to check it out myself!

Crescent Grill 
38-40 Crescent Street
Queens, NY 11101
(718) 729-4040
Cuisine: American

Crescent Grill on Urbanspoon

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