Last night I was lucky enough to attend the soft opening of 60 Beans Coffee and Tea’s brand new kitchen, now 60 Beans Kitchen and Coffee. It was like being at an Astoria movers and shakers convention (yes, I am proud to call myself part of the category). I saw many familiar faces of Astorians I’ve had the pleasure to get to know over my years as Single Girl (Queen of Astoria, The Brass Owl, Astoria Bookshop), and got to know a few more (A Story of Astoria). I brought my bestie Amanda, the mastermind behind the upcoming Zymurgy Sessions (more info on that soon!), and we feasted.
We sat in the back where the comfy couches used to be, now filled with cherry and walnut two tops. The tables themselves are beautiful, handcrafted by the architect, and continue to lend a homey, inviting feel to the space. The fire place was going, the lighting was dim but not dark, the music muted and hip – in short, my perfect atmosphere.
Now, you may recall I had my soft opening at 60 Beans on Valentine’s Day this year, nearly selling out of all my goodies. They were the first to take a chance on Single Girl the business and I’m forever grateful to owners Claudia and Peter for that. Through that experience of selling SGC at 60 Beans and generally being a patron, I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for last night, and I knew it would be quality above all else. I was not disappointed.
We started with the chicken liver pâté, salt cod croquettes and bitter greens salad. The pâté was whipped, topped with whole grain mustard and presented with hearty toast, raisin chutney and housemade pickles. I don’t have a bad thing to say about anything I had last night, but there were some clear stand outs to me and this was one of them. The texture and light tang of the mustard as you spread the rich and flavorful pate on your toast was equally complemented by both the chutney and accompanying pickles. The bitter greens salad was a favorite of Amanda’s, with the smoked croutons (what the what??) balancing out the sharp anchovy vinaigrette. That is definitely another of my favorites and something I would urge you to try.
We moved on to the next course, Amanda having the mussels and me having the rigatoni. I don’t eat mussels, but I soaked a bit of bread in the sauce. It has the right amount of flavor and heat for me, and if I ate mussels, I’d imagine I’d love that part too.
You may think my choice of pasta at a new opening is a little basic. And rigatoni at that! Come on, you’re thinking, you can make that at home. Be adventurous! Try something new! That’s all well and good, but when you have a chance to devour and enjoy an entire plate of homemade rigatoni with lamb Bolognese, you take it. In fact, all their pastas are housemade and would make any Nonna proud. All of this was accompanied by the charred kale sprouts – do you even know what a kale sprout is? I didn’t. Luckily, I was able to talk with Chef Domenick Gianfrancesco and Sous-Chef Pablo Nealon after the meal and ask them all my questions (and compliment them, of course). A kale sprout is similar to a Brussels sprout in flavor, and is essentially a baby kale plant before it grows into what we know as kale. It is exactly what its name implies – it is a kale sprout! The only thing you need to know is that it is delicious and you need to order it.
We followed up with the young chicken entree. Again, you may think, “Chicken? Isn’t that a little basic?”, and again I will say you have to try it. The chicken is brined and is full of flavor and sits atop parsnip puree and roasted root vegetables. I ate a carrot and literally thought, “I didn’t know carrots could taste like that!”.
At this point, I had to put down my fork. Sweets are a priority for me and I wanted to be sure I had room for dessert and a latte. I am so glad I did!
Latte, Cheesecake with Apricot, Salted Caramel Custard
If my descriptions haven’t made you salivate yet and change your dinner plans to be dining here (they officially open tonight!), I say only this: salted caramel custard. SALTED CARAMEL CUSTARD. This was the absolute winner of my night and a must-try for anyone stepping foot in there. Even if you stop in just for dessert and a glass of dessert wine from their extensive menu, get this. You will thank me later. I mean, is anyone really surprised that my takeaway favorite is a dessert offering? I think not.
I know there are still some menu tweaks happening, so while I can’t guarantee everything I ate last night will be exactly the same tonight, I can guarantee that the quality of experience will be. I’m pretty sure the menu will be somewhat seasonal and subject to the best ingredients available at that time. Again, are we surprised by the commitment to excellence? I think not.
They’ll be open for regular coffee shop hours today until 5pm with dinner service starting at 5:30pm. No worries though – you can still stop in for your post-work/pre-evening latte anytime until closing.
Congratulations to 60 Beans Kitchen and Coffee on their new venture! Can’t wait to be back here again soon, supporting my locals and perpetuating the good 🙂