With its unique cultural heritage, contemporary arts scene, and an ever-growing skyline, Long Island City's atmosphere is unlike anything else in New York City, and the perfect setting for a night on the town. Elevated trains, reminiscent of the heyday of old New York, complement a landscape where a former school building has become the international art center known as MoMA PS1, and where the scents of innovative cuisines from all over the world waft out onto the sidewalk. As the neighborhood solidifies its new position as an art and food mecca, chefs are preparing for a dining boom — already underway — in which the latest in cosmopolitan cooking combines with the old Queens culinary know-how gathered from communities whose cuisines span the globe.
There is no place to dine in the city quite like M. Wells Dinette, which is located in PS1, has a playful schoolroom layout with a nod to the building’s origins, and abuts the museum bookstore, so you can feast on steak tartare and feel like you are part of a gastronomic art installation. The Dinette is an offshoot of M. Wells Steakhouse, a neighborhood draw for its luxurious steaks and its Michelin Star.
Mu Ramen is another LIC go-to spot whose light and fresh tasting ramen has also earned a Michelin Star. Last summer, Eater New York helped announce chef Joshua Smookler’s innovative upgrades of the menu: “Smookler is finally fulfilling an idea he’s had since 2014: tonkotsu ramen with broth from Iberian pigs, considered the source of one of the best hams in the world.” It’s this kind of creative combination of experimentation and always looking beyond that is coming to define the chefs of the neighborhood.
Another spot always looking for ways to push the edge of delicious is The John Brown Smokehouse, which has been called “The most consistently sensational barbecue in New York,” by New York Magazine’s Mary Jane Weedman. Its Kansas City-style barbecue brings a tangy whiff of sweet, spicy sauce to Long Island City. Weedman loves the burnt ends — pieces cut from the point of a smoked brisket — which you can pair with some baked beans and some collard greens.
Some other neighborhoods favorites include Kavala Estiatorio in Long Island City that carries all the homespun authenticity of Queens Greek and gives it a 21st century twist. Beneath the iconic Pepsi sign, Maiella combines exceptional Italian cuisine with waterfront views and a performative spirit — a specialty is the Fettuccini Maiella, which is prepared tableside inside a wheel of cheese, making dinner an event.
Perhaps no one embodies the gastronomical cross-cultural spirit quite like chef Cosme Aguilar. Originally from Chiapas, Mexico, Aguilar is staking his culinary claim on Long Island City, where he is the executive chef at quaint French spot Cafe Henri as well as at Casa Enrique, a Mexican restaurant he opened with his brother Luis to connect with his cultural roots. Casa Enrique, another LIC restaurant with a well-deserved Michelin Star, has now become a destination restaurant, bringing in foodies from all over the city for Sopecitos de Chorizo and Rajas Con Crema featuring roasted Poblano peppers.
The Long Island City homes for sale at CORTE give you an opportunity to live and dine in a place where chefs like Aguilar are crossing culinary borders and bringing back traditions old and new, much like the neighborhood itself. To make the Long Island City neighborhood your own, explore CORTE's available LIC condos today.
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