Long Island City, Manhattan’s neighbor to the East, is undergoing a transformation: a renaissance of sorts with new luxury condo buildings, waterfront parks, and new restaurants. The latest in the area’s culinary expansion is Station LIC Eatery & Bar, a cozy and comfortable neighborhood “joint” located conveniently adjacent to the Vernon-Jackson 7 subway station (and one stop from Grand Central Terminal) serving contemporary American cuisine and a variety of signature cocktails. (After all it’s the real life location where Tom Cruise played bartender extraordinaire in the 1988 movie “Cocktail.”) The 2,400 square foot corner space now featuring high ceilings with original wood beams and exposed brick serves dinner seven days a week and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, while guests are treated to live music on Wednesday nights.
Much of the menu uses fresh and local ingredients while making a nod to international inspirations. The “Ponzi” Burger (grass fed beef, Pepper Jack cheese, potato nest, bacon, and secret sauce, served with onion rings on the side)is a fun play on the Ponzi scheme whereby diners continually pay the burger forward to the next guest who orders it. Unlike the secret world of banking, a blackboard keeps track of who paid for the last burger. Other popular dishes include the Portuguese baccala “salt cod” with potato, bell pepper, parsley, and chili oil; and the Cubano Mac and Cheese with roast pork, pickle, ham, Swiss, and breadcrumbs. The regular menu also includes ten signature cocktails like the Darjeeling Limited with espolon, liqueur de violettes, blood orange, citrus, and a key lime sugar rim, as well as plenty of beer to choose from and both red and white wines by the bottle or glass.
The debut of Station LIC’s new brunch menu, available Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., was carefully crafted to include traditional brunch dishes that appeal to local Long Island City foodies. Station LIC also offers a new take on bagel and lox in the form of Smoked Salmon Hash with poached egg, dill yogurt over a bagel chip or the crème brulee French toast, grand marnier, raw sugar, and blueberry compote. Not to be forgotten are the five variations of the Bloody Mary – The Classic — made with Tito’s vodka, house-made bloody mary base, lime, and celery stalk; The BLT Mary — Tito’s vodka, bacon, romaine, grape tomatoes, Maria Sangrita, espolon tequila, jalapeno, cucumber, cilantro, toasted chili salt rim, Carioca, cachaça 51, passion fruit, lime, oregano, and fried plaintain; and The Kitchen Sink, the classic with poached shrimp, mirepoix, pickle, radish, and a Blue cheese olive.
As a homage to its proximity to both the rail yards and subway, the interior decor was inspired by a 1920’s train station. Original rustic elements are creatively combined with oversized art and station-esque trinkets. Gregory Okshteyn of Studios GO Architecture led the design of the restaurant which seats 55 with 12 at the bar, plus an additional 32 outside during the warmer months. There is also a private room downstairs with a 50” 3D smart TV that comfortably seats 12-16.