ASTORIA — Popular Astoria eatery the Queens Kickshaw, known for its vegetarian comfort food and fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, is revamping its culinary offerings this month — with a kick of Korean flavor featured in many of its new dishes.
The recently unveiled dinner menu includes a kimchi lasagna, kimchi dumplings and a a quail egg-topped bibimbap, to name a few — taking a cue from Korean-born head chef Youngsun Lee, whose previous cooking stints include Craftbar, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Kimchi Taco Truck.
"His training is in royal Korean cuisine, and he's bringing a lot to the table. That’s why you're seeing a lot of Korean influence on the menu," said Ben Sandler, who co-owns Queens Kickshaw at 40-17 Broadway with his wife, Jennifer Lim.
The new kimchi lasagna, $16, is stuffed with grilled eggplant, kimchi, smoked tofu and bechamel.
"It's layered sort of like a moussaka, with smoked tofu, and topped with a little bit of the house made ricotta," Sandler said, saying its been a hit with customers.
The $14 Kickshaw Bibimbap puts a twist on the signature Korean meal, with rice that's been cooked in whey, making it "a little richer," according to Sandler. The dish comes topped with quail eggs, assorted vegetables and a house made bibimbap sauce.
The new menu also offers a number of Italian-inspired dishes. There's a $7 arancini appetizer, rice balls made with hard cider, fontina and ricotta in a spicy tomato sauce, or an entree of house made Fettuccine Alfredo with beets for $15.
Sandler said they wanted the new menu to still focus on staple comfort foods, but with some more adventurous options.
"It's veering slightly away from comfort food and towards more nourishing food for nighttime," he said.