Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweet Afton: New Eatery and Bar in Astoria NY

A new hotspot, Sweet Afton, recently opened in Astoria. It's not your typical bar -- it serves a great selection of locally sourced food and boasts a casual atmosphere and a decent beer and cocktail selection.

Upon entering, one feels welcomed by the exposed brick and wooden beams running along the ceiling. Candles light the room with a warm glow, and I knew right away I had chosen the right spot to take a friend from out of town.
I had been told Sweet Afton makes the best burger in town. We sat down at one of the tables surrounding the bar and were greeted by an inexperienced but friendly server. We received our menus and selected an assortment of cocktails, including a spicy habanero-infused cherry margarita. The margarita was spicy and delicious. The menu also featured many local brews; all were great selections. Just don't go to Sweet Afton expecting to find Heinekens and Jagerbombs. It's not the average sports bar.

 We were here for the burgers, but we sampled an assortment of other food: beer battered fried pickles, fries, mac and cheese, and an assortment of Irish bar food.

After ordering and receiving water, served in old wine bottles, we began to chat about the past and food. It was a great place to bring a friend and the atmosphere was just perfect for this occasion. Our silverware arrived in kitchen side towels, which I found clever.

The fried pickles and fries arrived with a huge canister of Baline sea salt, ketchup, and malt vinegar. The fries were delicious and the malt vinegar complemented them nicely. The real treat, though, came when the burgers arrived on pieces of parchment paper.

The burger was delicious, juicy and properly cooked. It was by far the best burger I have had in a long time, if ever. The ratio of fat-to-beef was perfect and the patty practically melted in my mouth. Everything was well balanced. The perfect amount of lettuce, tomato, and onion, and the beef-to-bread ratio was also amazing.  It was clearly a well designed and tested plate, yet simple and local.

As the evening went on, we overheard some talk of the dirty pickle martini, so we ordered one. Anyone who likes pickles will love this martini. It was well balanced with the perfect amount of spirit and pickle juice, garnished with a pickle slice.

In addition to great food, drinks, and atmosphere I was very pleased to know that everything on the menu was sourced locally. On the bottom of the menu, Sweet Afton mentions where they purchase all of their foods: all very local. Even if you're traveling from Manhattan, Sweet Afton is worth the trip.
Apollo's Cred Rating: 9/10
Price Range: $4 - $12
Beer: $5 - $10
Cocktails $7 - $9
Address: 30-09 34th Street, Astoria NY 11103
Phone: 718-777-2570
Take N/W train to 30th Ave stop and walk up to 34th street.

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