Answer: In Astoria at The Queens Kickshaw! I was recently snowed-in in my favorite borough and had to rely on local eats to get by. Cue the hybrid coffee-restaurant featuring the best hot sauce and grilled cheese sandwiches (in my opinion) in NYC.
The Queens Kickshaw serves up specialty coffee, soups, sandwiches and salads, and craft ales and cider. The restaurant’s menu features local farmers and food artisans, including Mast Brothers Chocolate (for the aptly named and super delicious Mast Brothers Hot Chocolate), Sans Bakery gluten-free bread, and Beyond Kombucha ale. Chef Youngsun Lee hails from notable NYC eateries including Craftbar and Momofuku Noodle Bar, was the executive chef for Kimchi Taco Truck, and was behind Persimmon in the East Village.
The food at The Queens Kickshaw tastes like home cooking – thick and buttery, but not heavy; filling and tasty, with some complexity. On my snow day, I enjoyed the tomato soup ($7), Gruyere grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread with pickled and caramelized onions, wholegrain mustard and napa slaw ($9), topped off with a Kombucha ale (around $7). The tomato soup was a generous portion and was hearty and fresh. The surprisingly fluffy sandwich of cheese, onion and mustard in combination with the sweet apple slaw was perfect on my palate, only to be made more perfect with a little bottle of red sauce. I’ve never been a fan of hot sauce, or even peppers for that matter, but The Queens Kickshaw hot sauce is notorious for changing hearts and tastebuds. I gave it a try and…I am still thinking about it. So much so that I’ve attempted to recreate the special sauce in my own kitchen. The Queens Kickshaw’s delicious hot sauce, made in house, is made with coriander, but the rest is a mystery.
While I try my hand at recreating this hot sauce, I challenge you to visit The Queens Kickshaw and try the hot sauce for yourself. I can almost guarantee you’ll want to go back for more.
The Queens Kickshaw
Astoria, NY 11103