Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim do what they love: a sterling mix of coffee, beer and grilled cheese. Ah oh do they do it well at their 16-month-old Astoria restaurant, The Queens Kickshaw.
Last month, they broadened their approach, expanding the menu to include both small and large plates. A recent visit revealed that far from detracting from the original tasty trifecta, the additions are a natural extension of the couple's idiosyncratic comfort food.
Take the cabbage croquettes ($12): Invented by chef Evan Orlic to use up an errant case of cabbage, these bread-crumbed fried footballs are anchored by roasted tomatoes and a verdant serrano-cilantro sauce.
That blubbery winter warmer, shepherd's pie is light and downright doable in August when meat is switched for wild mushrooms and root vegetables and puréed potatoes for a flyweight cauliflower mash ($12).
Two hulking cheddar and fresh horseradish ravioli ($13) receive a dose of quirk and crisp edges thanks to a smart technique of parboiling, then roasting.
Even with all the newfangled dishes, there is one blissful fixture: Godmother Rozzie's walnut brownies ($6) are still there, swimming in an elixir of cold brew and heavy cream.
The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway (at 41st St.), Queens; 718-777-0913 or thequeenskickshaw.com