The Five Best Bites at Taste of Sunnyside
Last night's Taste of Sunnyside event served as both a survey of the neighborhood's dining options and a preview of the public plazas planned for the area. Sunnyside Shines, the local business improvement district, is currently in talks with the Department of Transportation to convert the dim parking area beneath the 7 train between 40th and 46th streets into a more welcoming space. Given the crowd that gathered in tents set up for the festival, which reflected Sunnyside's diversity through a range of strong and inventive dishes, this corner of Queens is pushing beyond its identity as a sleepy family-focused community. Here, we take a look at the spots that doled out some of the best bites from the evening.
Salt & Fat, 41-15 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside
Salt & Fat brings sophistication to a stretch of Queens Boulevard otherwise dominated by old school Irish pubs (not that there's anything wrong with those). A meal there, true to the restaurant's name, starts with complimentary popcorn cooked in bacon fat. The menu proceeds with decadent, Korean-influenced small plates, as crafted by chef and owner Daniel Yi, who grew up nearby. At the event, staff painstakingly assembled smooth slabs of pork terrine topped with salmon roe and grain mustard, the most elegant sample of the night.
Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar, 44-07 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside
Venturo is the most recent venture in a trio of restaurants from co-owners Giuseppe Falco and Leo Sacco, and executive chef Michelle Vido (the other two are Vesta and Pachanga Patterson, both in Astoria). The menu is heavy on farm-fresh produce, and Tuesday the team served up black and green lasagna made with eggplant, kale, and béchamel sauce, excellent veggie comfort food. For dessert, there was Baby Jesus cake, a spice cake drizzled with toffee and cream, also a popular item at Vesta.