25-27 Broadway (29th Street)
City: Queens, NY
Phone: (718) 545-2120
Mon-Fri 5 pm - 4 am
Sat-Sun 11 am - 4 am
Site: Visit the restaurant site
There are certain words and word pairings that make my ears perk up immediately. One of them is, “beer hall.” Another is, “smokehouse.” When it was brought to my attention that those words were part of the Strand Smokehouse in Astoria’s mantra, I was there in half a beat. Rising like a phoenix from the carcass of a Blockbuster Video in 2012, the Strand has been focusing on killer barbecue and barreled whiskey since opening. The space is large, spacious, and filled with long wooden tables for communal dining. The icing on the cake of the wonderful ambiance of the joint was when a folk band popped up and started playing tunes near the end of my meal. What a delight!
I’d have to look back through the archives to see if I’ve described a burger as a flavor explosion before. I suppose the past is irrelevant, because the Strand’s Brunch Burger exploded all over my burger-loving soul. Every element was distinct and incredible. The sunny side egg oozed all over my hands and plate with my first bite, which I found enjoyable from a visual, tactile and gustational standpoint. The pepper jack cheese was kickin’ with a tasty groove. The burger was also topped with spicy mayo, which loyal readers will know gets automatic points from me.
The patty and the bun were stories unto themselves. The patty was significant in size, texture, and flavor. Though it broke in half under its own weight as I ate it, I enjoyed the messy game that was finishing this burger. The bun was also enormous, though the reason for its size was clear; this Texas-sized burger needed extreme support from a monstrous bun. Though it was moist and delicious, it was the one element of the burger I was unable to completely finish.
The burger came with crispy fries and a side salad, both of which were good, even if the whole plate seemed impossible to completely defeat.
The brunch experience at the Strand was outstanding. The burger was tops and the band was a lot of fun. The service was fantastic and the atmosphere was great. Is that enough adulation for you, burger-lovers?
Review By: Brad Garoon