How do you prefer your toast? We prefer ours by way of Milkflower, a three-month-old Astoria pizzeria at 3412 31st Avenue that’s quickly becoming a compelling member of the neighborhood.
When Jersey brothers Pete and Danny Aggelatos opened this spot, it blossomed on the dining scene as a brick oven pizzeria with 10 Neapolitan-style pies made from fresh ingredients (the restaurant’s moniker, by the way, comes from the translation for fior di latte, the mozzarella made in-house here daily). Though brick oven pizza hadn’t exactly been missing from the area, Milkflower quickly distinguished itself with the introduction of several seasonal small plates, salads, and toasts, culled from produce hand-picked by the team at nearby Brooklyn Grange and creations by chef Yair Lenchner, formerly of both Jean-Georges and The Mark.
And last weekend, the brothers debuted brunch, opening their doors for free brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Predictably, that stunt drew a line down 31st Avenue.
We’d like to think the crowds came for the toast: While Milkflower offered three brunch-inspired pizzas this past weekend (a four-onion with chorizo, marinara with garlic and egg, and Brussels sprouts with truffled egg), the toasts stole the spotlight. These are no ordinary pizzeria bruschetta: Each one is is a small masterpiece, yet they sell for just $4 apiece, which encourages guests to mix and match their own sampler plates.
Consider the corn toast. As Lenchner explains it, “the corn is pureed, reduced, and then thickened with its own starches into a spreadable pudding. It’s topped with a salad of corn sautéed in roasted shallots and grated garlic, thinly-sliced fennel, diced red bell peppers, and jalapeños, with minced tarragon.” A total of four toasts are featured at brunch, including a jazzed-up croque madame with gruyere, crispy prosciutto, and a sous vide poached egg dressed with scallions and peppercorn. Another is adorned with white fig and cloumage cheese, and yet another with braised leeks, crispy diced chorizo, shaved egg, and a drizzle of chorizo oil.
If the thought of making it to this Queens neighborhood for a midday meal seems impossible, you’re in luck: The dinner menu boasts a few of the brunch toasts in addition to one with a spring pea mash of butter, lemon zest, thyme, and salt, all over seasoned ricotta, which is garnished with more zest, fresh thyme, and lavender flowers.
Beginning this weekend, brunch will be served Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
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