There is finally a worthy culinary — and generally relaxing — destination away from the chaos of Astoria’s 30th Avenue restaurant row, but still close enough to catch a ride home.
Between the vast array of tasty tapas and the wide selection of micro-brewed beers, there is more than one reason to visit Metro Tapas Bar and Lounge in Woodside.
Chef Lee Knoeppel and manager Carlos Santamaria have come together with impeccable food quality and a trendy gothic-style atmosphere, and have collaboratively emerged with a polished establishment. The restaurant is only three weeks old, but comes off as experienced in catering to all the senses.
Knoeppel successfully brought the ideal of fresh food and farm-to-table to Metro Tapas Bar and Lounge, and gave the movement a young and trendy twist with dishes like the life-changing chicken and waffles. This dish is drizzled with a house-made maple butter, and served on top of three bite-sized waffles that are crusted on the outside and oozing on the inside, reminiscent of a homemade doughnut.
Knoeppel’s dishes are crafted with fresh ingredients, which differs from the generally mass-produced comfort food menu options of many other restaurants, making the tapas a must-have, especially the striped bass with Israeli couscous tabbouli.
This fish plate has it all, sweet mango salsa, a salty seared crust and a smoky and spicy sauce lining the plate to ‘wow’ the palate in a way that Knoeppel learned to perfect with his past cooking experiences.
The young chef has brought his talents to Queens after spending the last five consecutive summers on Shelter Island.
There he worked at the Pridwin Hotel restaurant, and Sunset Beach, both known for their local, trendy and fresh menu items.
Knoeppel said those experiences led him to learn the art of being able to catch a fish and grill it up whatever way is desired, all in a day’s work.
The ceviche martini, which is an array of fish served slightly cooked in their own juices and citrus acids, works as another treat, seldom found in Queens. Knoeppel’s desire is to shake up the idea that his customers have about the complexity of food and create a menu that he says goes back to simple flavors that satisfy.
He doesn’t believe in masking the natural flavors of a dish, but only lightly seasoning them to bring the true flavor out.
The menu reads so that one can have two to three plates to create a variety of dishes for dinner, or one dish, which is the perfect amount for a snack at the bar.
The ease of the tapas options makes it easy to host a large group of friends here, or an intimate date night.
A parade of bar options ranging from area breweries to inventive cocktails like the Metro — a kiwi, vodka and champagne treat — make it easy to appease any sports fan at the wrap-around bar with its large flat-screen TVs hosting any number of sporting events throughout the place.
The friendly and mindful waitstaff hang around to oblige any request with informative commentary on the menu, whether one sits at the bistro tables or at the bar.
They’ll quickly recommend the butter-kissed bread selections for finger food to start, and will happily guide you through the drink selections to pair a wine or just give an insider’s opinion on the unique draft beers.
A happy hour menu with drink and food specials is available Monday through Friday between 4 and 7 p.m.
They offer many dishes for $5 during happy hour such as their gourmet macaroni and cheese and crispy artichoke hearts.
Between these hours they also suggest their $3 draft beer, and $4 glasses of wine and well drinks.
Reservations are recommended by calling (718) 638-7669, and walk-ins are always welcomed.
Metro Tapas Bar & Lounge
Where: 26-50 BQE West, Woodside
Open: Seven Days a week
4 p.m. to midnight,
2 a.m. Friday; 4 a.m. Saturday.