BEST PLACE$ TO FIND $OME GREAT BARGAIN$
by Nick D'Arienzo
Nov 12, 2008 | 7587 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Well, well, well… so we’ve finally got a new President. And President-Elect Obama promises that his first order of business will be to jump-start the economy. But while gas prices have steadily decreased in recent days, and there seems to be a climate of increased optimism in our country, we ain’t exactly singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” just yet, especially with the holidays coming. Here at the QUEENS LEDGER/BROOKLYN STAR, we figured it was our civic duty to point out a couple of establishments worthy of showcasing during these difficulty times, oases of opportunity while the fiscal storm continues to swirl all around us.

Middle Village

DANNY BOY’S

64-56 Dry Harbor Road

(718) 894-3488

The hand-drawn no-frills sign outside this popular Middle Village eatery announces their “Recession Special” (a 1 and ¼ lb. Maine lobster for just $15.95) with the words “While the stock market tanks, why not take advantage of our lobster tank?” But if truth be told, way way way before this economic downturn took hold, DANNY BOY’S has long been a place to go for great value – especially their weeknight Bar Specials. Take, for example, their 10c wings, one of Wednesday night’s Bar Specials, which are among the best around, succulent, juicy and oh-so-spicy. Then there’s Tuesday Tacos, three tacos for $3. You probably wouldn’t expect an Irish pub to be doing this so well, but these are some darn good tacos, folks. But perhaps most impressive here are Thursday’s Bar Specials, which offer Fresh Little Neck Clams at just 25c apiece. They’re as good as any number of area seafood joints, and proof positive that DANNY BOY’S is certainly not just a bar. Not by a long shot.

Williamsburg

DE STEFANO’S

89 Conselyea Street

(718) 384-2836

You might be surprised to find a restaurant as beautiful and as exquisitely detailed as DE STEFANO’S on any “bargain” list. But then, that’s also part of the charm of this friendly and welcoming neighborhood restaurant, one which is equally comfortable catering to the needs of generations of longtime residents of the neighborhood formerly known as “Italian Williamsburg” as it is to the hundreds and hundreds of young newcomers who seem to flock to Williamsburg every month. On Tuesdays and Wednesday’s DE STEFANO’S hosts a Price Fix special for a mere $22.89 that includes a choice of House Salad, Asparagus Bundles, or Soup Du Jour (hopefully, it’s Butternut Sqaush!) as its First Course options; then for the Second Course, you’ve got your choice of Hanger Steak with Pomegranate Reduction, Chicken de Madelena, Native Lobster Ravioli, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and our personal favorite Skirt Steak a La Brasciole (with its crushed pistachios providing exceptional flavor, as well as the maple glazed carrots accompaniment). Especially during this time of year, cuisine at DE STEFANO’S seems exceptionally well suited, as is the way the restaurant’s woods and rust-colored table settings combine to create the perfect warm autumnal ambience. (By the way, it should also be noted that DE STEFANO’s has just begun to introduce a Price Fix option for Thursday and Sunday evenings, as well, which adds their outstanding Eight Ounce Filet Mignon to the mix, as well as a First Course Mozzarella De Crustino option. Hey, this economy will no doubt recover eventually, and maybe one day we’ll even forget what this precarious time was like. But a cozy and flavorful evening of fine dining at DE STEFANO’S – nope, you’re not going to be forgetting that anytime soon.

Astoria

ASTORIA SPORTS COMPLEX

34-38 38th Street

(718) 729-7163

Hey, we’re big fans of the ASTORIA SPORTS COMPLEX here, what with its two-story gym, Olympic size swimming pool, full-length Astroturf soccer field, 6 hi-tech batting cages, and unbelievably immense upstairs space from which to plan the grandest of parties for any occasion. But did you know that the ASTORIA SPORTS COMPLEX has underground parking for a mere $5, and that lets you park for as long as you want. I mean, think about that, folks - $5 parking for an entire day! Now that’s a real bargain, and just another of the many family-friendly examples of attention to detail that characterize the long-time ownership of patriarch Steve Poliseno at this incredibly impressive sports enclave right in the heart of Astoria.

Forest Hills

DIRTY PIERRE’S

13 Station Square

(718) 830-9698

$5 pints would certainly be a bargain any day, but especially so on most everyone’s favorite day of the week (especially die-hard football fans) – Sunday! DIRTY PIERRE’S is taking extra special care to cater to our community’s JETS and GIANTS fans on Sundays, as they offer one of the most sumptuous buffets imaginable, and all for free, simply for patronizing the bar during JETS and GIANTS broadcasts. Long recognized for its outstanding food as well as for its club-like intimate atmosphere, DIRTY PIERRE’S has the benefit of having popular barkeep Raquel Diaz on hand on Sundays (and her home-made Sangria!) supervising, along with owner Jamie File, the outlay of buffet items ranging from Hot Dogs and Hot Wings to Egg, Cheese & Mushroom Casseroles, Spinach and Zucchini with Baby Shrimp, Linguini, and other assorted taste treats that get rotated in and out each week. Sure, you may find other area bars with drink specials during game-time, half-time, or whatever, but trust us, you’re not going to find food this good at any of them!

Middle Village

MASPETH DRY CLEANERS II

71-23 Eliot Avenue

(718) 458-8408

You’ll always get good bang for your buck here at this exceptional dry cleaners, the one with the personal service and attention to detail that prides itself on knowing every customer, even the newest of them, by name. But MASPETH DRY CLEANERS II also goes the extra mile to reward some of their regular patrons and the very best of their customers for their loyalty. For example, if you spend over $10 in dry cleaning, the cost of getting your shirts laundered drops from $1.40 each to a mere 99c. It may not seem such a big thing on an individual basis, but over time, savings like these certainly add up. Which is exactly what we all need to make happen with a financial climate like this.

Forest Hills

CAPOLINEA

66-75 Selfridge Street

(718) 896-8490

No matter what, despite appearances, do not in any way think of CAPOLINEA as just a pizzeria. Mind you, their pizza is unbelievably good, but we are also particular fans here of their abundantly flavored rolls and wraps (particularly Chicken, Peppers & Fresh Mozzarella), which are an incredible bargain at just $5 apiece, especially since the manner in which they’re cut makes you feel like you’re actually getting two at once! But CAPOLINEA also has some pretty savory Pasta Dishes, too, all at or around $10, or even less, like Sausage & Meatballs, Bolognese, Pomodoro, Carbonara, and more (with your choice Spaghetti, Linguini, Ziti, Rigatoni, or Fettucine). The reason for CAPOLINEA’s success, in our opinion? It’s that proprietor Leo Croce welcomes you with the same sense of pride and enthusiasm and traditional cooking as if he were welcoming you into his own home. Which in a lot of ways – since he’s always there! – he kind of is.

Kew Gardens

KEW GARDENS CINEMAS

81-05 Lefferts Boulevard

(718) 441-9835

I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when, upon plunking down a $20 bill for a ticket to APPALOOSA one night (good flick, by the way), I was given $13 dollars and fifty cents change. “That’s all?” I asked. “Bargain nights are $6.50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays” was the matter-of-fact reply. Now that’s a real bargain, folks, especially when most movie houses have long ago eclipsed the $10 mark and online purchases, service charges, etc. can make a lot of movie-going excursions as costly as some dinners. But KEW GARDENS CINEMAS is the antidote to all that – and it’s one of the top destinations for some of our better films, indie fare, and Academy Award contenders, and has a nicely appointed lobby, old-fashioned (and generously portioned) popcorn, and one of the cleanest bathrooms you’ll ever find in a movie theater. We’ll definitely be back again and again. (And by the way, extra special thanks to Jessica, the awesome cashier who pointed it all out in the first place!)

Middle Village

MSK HAIR SALON

63-03 Dry Harbor Road

(718) 424-7393

MSK HAIR SALON is one of the cleanest and most attractive looking barber shops around. Having said that, it is also one of the most reasonable. While a great many area barbers are seeing their prices approach almost $20 a head, MSK knows its clientele well, and offers the bargain prices of $7.99 for Senior Citizens, and for Men & Boys’ haircuts, as well. Not only that, but the barbers here are incredibly versatile and capable of just about any of the newer styles that young people like to fashion, like fades, tapers, etc. You’ll see, just give ‘em a try – it’ll definitely be “worth” it!

Williamsburg

ALLIGATOR LOUNGE

600 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 599-4440

Look, what can we say – especially during an economy like this one, the best kind of food… is FREE FOOD! A former pizzeria, the ALLIGATOR LOUNGE has long been a mainstay of Williamsburg bar-hoppers, thanks largely to its exceedingly generous policy of offering a free personal pizza for each and every drink purchased. Yes, that’s correct – for EACH and EVERY drink purchased! Mind you, these are not just flimsy Buitoni instant pizza cast-offs, these are honest to goodness doughy, cheesy tomato-ey individual pizzas. And they’re free. And they’re delicious! And FREE! So, are you maybe understanding the appeal of this place a little? Hey, see you there!

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