Mojave – Astoria, Queens – December 15, 2016
Happy Holidays! This year, my coworkers and I had our annual holiday party at Mojave (pronounced Moh-hah-veh http://www.mojaveny.com/, 2016) in Astoria, Queens. This restaurant serves Southwestern cuisine in the heart of the popular Astoria food scene.
The meal began with family-style appetizers: Guacamole in a molcajete (pronounced mole-cah-heh-teh, a coarse stone bowl on legs), blue corn crusted calamari, Mojave’s chicken wings, and steak quesadillas. The guacamole came with blue corn chips and salsa. The guacamole was smooth in texture and while it tasted fresh, it lacked something to give it punch. It was a bit bland to my taste.
The blue corn crusted calamari was fried to the perfect level of crispness and came with a delicious smoky chipotle sauce. The calamari was a bit salty and slightly rubbery. I am a sucker for smoky flavor, so I kept eating this appetizer because I loved the sauce.
Mojave’s chicken wings were covered in a chipotle sauce (Again, smoky! Yum!) with a bleu cheese dipping sauce. The wings were tender, and the chipotle sauce was smoky and spicy. This was a decent appetizer.
The steak quesadillas had soft tortillas filled with cheese and steak. They were good, but unremarkable on the whole.
As opposed to the largely underwhelming appetizers, my entree was great! I ordered the beer braised short ribs. They came with mashed potatoes, broccoli (though the menu said pan seared string beans), and garlic and sherry tomatoes. The short ribs were savory in flavor and buttery in texture. While I did not detect much in the way of beer flavor, they were perfectly seasoned and had meaty, beefy flavor. I tried to exchange the broccoli (I am not a fan.) for the listed string beans, but I was told that the broccoli was the only vegetable they had for our group (since we ordered off of their special event menu). The mashed potatoes were velvety smooth and luscious. The drippings from the short ribs soaked into them and boosted their flavor. The sweet tomatoes added the perfect acidic pop to cut through the rich flavors. With the exception of the broccoli, I really enjoyed this dish.
Accessibility Rating for Mojave
I used my wheelchair to visit Mojave.
- Entryway – 3: There are two doors. There is an exterior door before a vestibule and an interior door. There is a slight bump at the entrance. Both doors were challenging for me to open from my wheelchair, especially the interior door since the vestibule is small. There are no stairs.
- Bathroom (Unisex) – 4: There are three unisex bathrooms, but the one furthest back has a large door and lots of room inside. There are two grab bars around the toilet in the brightly lit space. The sink is mounted extremely low on the wall in this room. It has a tall faucet and standard length handles. I was able to make a 180° turn in the room with ease. The garbage bin is unusually tall which could be difficult for some users of mobility assistive devices to reach.
- Walkways/Space – 3: The dimly lit space has one wide central aisle flanked by moveable furniture throughout. Once the restaurant became crowded navigating parts of the aisle became somewhat difficult. There are tables of various types and heights throughout. Some tables are lower than others. Some have central pedestals while others have bars at ankle height which could make it challenging for some to get close to the table while in their wheelchair or scooter. There was loud background music being played while we were there.
Video Description: Interior of Mojave in Astoria, Queens on December 15, 2016 showing dimly lit interior with empty dining tables set with white, round plates and napkins. Toward the rear past a waist height wall is a brightly lit area with a stone wall behind. The restaurant has wreaths on the walls and white lights strung around the perimeter for the holidays.
- Staff – 5: The staff was very accommodating. They allowed me to try various tables to see what worked best for me. They even rearranged the tables along with one of my colleagues so I could sit at a taller table that I could fit my legs comfortably underneath.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.