1010 50th Ave.
Long Island City, NJ 11109
Couple without booze and with tip: $51
Just blocks away from the dropoff where thugs return from their iron vacations, restauranteurs continue to re-zone storefronts in an effort the to offer Manhattan options without having to cross the east river.
After walking through a rather disturbing exhibit at P.S. 1, I followed a crowd that included two ministers, a really tall guy, and my fiance, to Vernon Boulevard, the Smith Street of LIC. Our final destination was Cafe Henri, an unassuming French cafe offering Beef Burgundy as the special. The rest of the menu read more like tapas, and after spending the better part of the day dancing, I figured I would have a crepe and then order a pizza when I got home later. To my surprise, the crepe complete filled me to the brim. Gooey gruyere, fluffy eggs, and juicy ham folded into a paper thin pancake. Your classic crepe, unassuming, yet delicious. Pair it with a bowl of home fries (Henri's version being roasted baby red potatoes moist with butter and dusted with rosemary), and the thought of Domino's quickly retreated into the back of my brain next to the thought of having cereal for dinner.
Before the crepe, the cheese plate. Split among six, we tasted each of the four offerings. Generous portions of herbed goat, swiss, brie, and an unidentified bleu. The bread wasn't exactly fresh, but it was still French, and it was still delicious, cold butter and all.
After the crepe, the bowl of coffee. Coffee at 10pm is usually not the best of ideas, but it was a meal that lasted hours, and a meal that required ordering the 10pm coffee. The problem with the 10pm coffee, however, was that it was more like five coffees, a giant bowl that was better suited for sticky rice, and later that night, say 4am, I thought better of ordering the Grand Moka, but it was too late to change my mind, which was racing about as fast as the condos are going up in LIC.
During the whole meal, live jazz. Hell yes.
So whether you happen to wind up a part of the gentrification or just want to catch the P.S.1 Warm-Up, I suggest you satisfy your dinner hunger at Cafe Henri.