Kiyo and I live on the edge of Astoria and Long Island City, which allows us to experience the best of both worlds but also means we’re sort of suspended in no-man’s-land. The rest of civilization is only two short blocks away, but we are lucky enough to enjoy a quiet residential street, which is a welcome respite when you live in the Big Apple. Even though the good restaurants are a 7-10 minute walk from our place, we are lucky enough to have one restaurant only one short block away, so one weekend this Fall we ventured out, but not too far, for brunch at Rèst-âü-Ránt.
Tina Stipanovic, the chef and owner (originally from Croatia), has been a resident of Astoria for the last 22 years and is a “creator;” she made everything in the restaurant from the bar to the cool chandelier hanging above it. The place is very tiny and homey, it definitely has that small neighborhood vibe (all the way down to the chef just not showing up one Sunday for brunch; we were obviously disappointed to be turned away that time). Kiyo ordered a plate of tasty fried chicken and waffles (the waffles were forgettable but the spices on the chicken were delicious) with maple syrup. I had a short rib sandwich with cheese and a fried egg, and French fries AND a salad on the side; so great that I didn’t have to choose between them! The fries at this restaurant are always so good, and they give you way too many. The salad had a bit too much oil on it but the sandwich was really delicious. They used American cheese, which I reserve for classic grilled cheese sandwiches (I would have preferred Gruyère or Muenster or something more refined for this dish). In conclusion, this restaurant seems to always have a few hits and misses, but it tries hard, it’s a local staple for us and in the end, it’s usually pretty good overall.