I'm wary of quirky restaurants like this–the seats are going to be all smooshed together, theyre not likely to have air conditioning, and you might be at the mercy of whatever is on that nights menu and subject to the whims of a chef in a small hot kitchen. But thats bad quirky and Queens Hideaway was anything but.
I rarely dine in Williamsburg/Greenpoint (I know theyre not the same, as any Greenpoint dweller trying to prove how un-scenester they are would stress, but to me it might as well be one big neighborhood) despite practically everyone I know living there. But I'm trying to branch out and be more social on weeknights, and its easy to convince a friend to join you for dinner when its walking distance to their apartment (me, I'm relegated to G train torment). So, after a few $2 Yuenglings at Zablozki's, Jessica and I headed up Manhattan Ave. in the weird steamy October mist.
I was afraid the small space would be crowded since it was 8pm and they'd had recent write-ups in the New York Times and New York, but thankfully, eaters love sitting outside (I do not) so the back garden was full while the teal-ceilinged interior wasnt near capacity. I knew they had a $5 corkage, which seems silly for a few Woodchuck Ciders, but whatever, because the food is a bargain. There were about four mains that averaged $12 and an equal amount of appetizers hovering around $5. A small bowl of boiled peanuts sits on the table, and at first we dug into them because as Jessica noted, “anything tastes good when youre hungry” (to which I'd add, and tipsy) and we were starving. But the mushy saline legumes grew on us after the first few.
It's strange, because I hate salads when I make them (same with sandwiches) but theyre always so much more impressive at restaurants. Thats likely due to all the little flourishes that dont seem worth the effort for one dish, but doable on a larger scale. My salad had half of a warm apple that had been stewed with chile peppers, which was much more subtle than it sounds, candied walnuts, an amazing cheese from Bobolink Dairy (I cant recall the exact name, its not on their site, but it had a rind washed with pear brandy, I think) that I wish I could go get for lunch right now but Murrays at Grand Central doesnt carry it, all atop a layer of wild looking long-stemmed arugula (stems normally freak me out, very autistic of me, I know and one of my very, very few food phobias). Sweet and peppery.
One of the reasons I dont frequently dine with friends is because they dont/wont eat what I want to, and thats no fun. Jessica is a vegetarian who has loosened up over the years and was hemming and hawing over whether she could eat the gumbo because it had something called sand shark in it, which creeped her out. And I was just like fucking order it, its fish not a mammal. So, I bossed her into eating a shark, then ordered the chicken fried steak, which I'm not normally crazy about (I mean, its just tough breaded beef), but I was swayed by the sides as I often am. The smoky, ham-hocky collard greens and fat butter beans definitely added oomph to the nothing special meat.
We had cheddar cheese crust apple pie and bread pudding supposedly in the style of Paul Prudhomme for dessert (they'd run out of a chocolate cake), which was a bit much, but hey, I needed some fortification for the unnecessarily long ride home (why does it take ten minutes to drive from my apartment to Greenpoint, yet take an hour by subway?). You could starve to death, or at least become bored to death, waiting for an off-hours G train.
Queens Hideaway * Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY