Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Short Ordered (Tastee Corner, 30-20 30th Avenue)

Let's just acknowledge up-front that we hate cute spellings. We hate mad skillz, kountry korners, and anything kwik. Ye olde shoppes somehow fail to impress us as quaint or nostalgic. Grrrls gets a pass, barely, because it can sound onomatopoeically fierce if pronounced gutturally, but that's about it. So the Tastee Corner was handicapped from the get-go, but we do our best to not hold poor nomenclature against food and service.

The Tastee Corner -- it hurts just to type it -- doesn't have to do much more than be serviceable to meet the expectations of its diners, though, and it did just that. It's located just below the 30th Avenue subway stop, so it's a convenient spot both for eaters catching a bite before going into the city, and for those sitting by the window to people-watch. We were there at prime breakfast/brunch time -- noon on a Saturday -- so we weren't surprised by the crowd. But we also know that Astorian diners aren't hoodwinked into patronizing substandard places merely for convenience -- the rapid succession of shoddy restaurants occupying 30th Street and 30th Avenue, just a short block away from the same subway stop, points to this. (The new 7-11 in the spot put an end to the corner's dining mediocrity, ushering in its own particular brand of unwanted crap.)

Don't get us wrong: It's not that Tastee Corner is some sort of quiet treasure, whispered about by possessive locals as the best diner in Astoria. One of us ordered bacon, eggs over easy, and toast; the other got a tuna melt. The only remarkable thing about either was the harried attempt to dress up the tuna melt with a spring of parsley, which looked ridiculous on the barren plate too big for a mere sandwich.

But you don't go to the corner diner for anything other than bacon, eggs, and a tuna melt, so who cares? The service was efficient, our water glasses never went more than half-empty, and the bill was cheap. Combine that with enough staffers to keep morning-commute crowds ankle-deep in coffee without creating a long line, and you've got yourself a corner diner worthy enough of its name, even if it's spelled ridiculously.

Price: Like other diners.
Will we go again? No compelling reason to. But everyone's really friendly there.

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