Astoria Eatery Serving Up 'Wafcos,' a Waffle-Taco Hybrid
QUEENS — A new eatery that opened recently on Astoria Boulevard is serving up comfort food with southern and Asian-inspired twists — including "wafcos," a savory waffle-and-taco hybrid stuffed with slow-cooked meats and a bevy of condiments.
Chefs Jinhee Park and Johney Han opened Nosh Borough, at 25-17 Astoria Blvd., at the end of May after years cooking in several of the city's fine dining restaurants.
Among the offerings at the new casual dining spot are its "wafcos" — a thin, savory waffle in the shape of a taco shell, filled with your choice of brined herb-roasted chicken, crispy pork belly or smoked beef brisket.
Each comes topped with the condiments typically found on a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich: chopped lettuce, red onions, jalapenos, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon.
"It's kind of a play on the chicken and waffles thing, kind of a southern thing, but then how do we make it a little different?" said Han, 41, who studied cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan.
"It's waffles-to-go. It's portable," said Park, 36, who honed her own culinary chops at the former French Culinary Institute, now the International Culinary Center, in SoHo.
The engaged couple, who lives in Fresh Meadows, said they decided to open their own place after several years cooking in restaurants across the city.
"We've always worked at other people's restaurants," said Park. "We just thought hey, you know, it's time we opened up our own place, do the food that we would want to do."
In addition to waffle tacos, Nosh Borough's menu includes roasted meat platters of its herb roasted chicken, crispy roasted pork belly or smoked beef brisket, served with a homemade biscuit and a choice of side.
Sides include options like smoked ham hock collard greens, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, southern style "dirty" rice with sausage, or cheddar-havarti mac and cheese.
"I'm originally from Texas, so there's a little bit of southern flare in this menu," said Han, who says they strive to serve well-crafted, high-quality foods in a casual atmosphere, what he called "slow-cooking but fast service."
"Everything, we really think about how we want to serve it, and how to best prepare it," he said.
Other items include the Banh Mi Burger — a marinated beef pattie served with Vietnamese sandwich toppings like cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots — homemade potato gnocchi, fish and chips, vegetable tamales or a kale and butternut squash salad.
The pair said they plan to offer seasonal specials and will start delivery service soon.
"We're excited to be here," Park said. "We love Astoria."
Nosh Borough is located at 25-17 Astoria Blvd., and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information visit www.noshborough.com.