Sunday, December 14, 2008

Discovery of a Local Gem

Once again, Woodside continues to surprise me and my palate by discovering a local gem, La Flor Restaurant and Café on 52nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue. I grew tired of passing this restaurant on my weekend run and finally decided to go in for lunch. I was determined to see what this Mexican-French restaurant could do for my appetite, especially since I am a dedicated Mexican cuisine fan from growing up in the deep south.

I could not help but experience a little of wave of European nostalgia as I walked into the restaurant. You do not have to even look at a menu to find that it is fusion of two worlds. Everywhere in this small, homey kitchen speaks of French and Mexican influences with its round French café tables and chairs, mosaic columns out of Mexican ceramics, copper and turquoise roof tiling, and dark hardwood floors. It almost makes you yearn for outdoor seating if the weather was not so cold. However, the stacks of cookbooks on the shelves and the almost overwhelming amount of Zagat frames on the back wall I found to be a little unnecessary.

La Flor’s rustic menu appears to be designed to have multiple options within a simple format. It has a limited amount of entrees between the choice of breakfast, lunch, coffee, and dinner. Like a diner, you are not constrained to have a certain meal, but the friendly staff provides additional handwritten specials of the hour. You can have anything from pastries to traditional Mexican tortas to steak any time of day. They creatively attempt to fuse their cuisine even more by serving their own versions of European style pizzas.

The more I found out, the more I wanted to try. However, I decided to stay close to home and chose the quesadilla camaron. This was not my regular over sized shrimp quesadilla stuffed with too much Oaxaca cheese and guacamole. It exploded with a variety of flavors and surprises that made me savor each bite. Two handmade corn tortillas, stuffed with jumbo seared shrimp, roasted peppers, sliced potatoes, and string cheese topped with a circular swirl of two salsas, sour cream and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese may sound uniquely overloaded for the stomach but was surprisingly portioned just right for my appetite. I also recommend going for their pizzas, tortas, enchiladas, and steak amongst other distinctive selections.

La Flor’s combination of colorful and rustic decor, well-fused Mexican and French entrees, and friendly local service that does not push you almost made me feel like I was back in nostalgic Europe but quickly reminded differently by the fact that they are playing Bruce Springsteen over the speakers. In any case, this Woodside gem makes a great location for a date, long afternoon, or an entertaining evening with friends.

La Flor Restaurant and Café
52-03 Roosevelt Ave (at 52nd St)
Woodside, NY 11377
718.426.8023

www.laflorestaurant.com

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