Uncle Peter’s – Jackson Heights, Queens – October 10, 2015
Happy birthday, Tony! To celebrate our friend Tony’s birthday, we had dinner at Uncle Peter’s. Uncle Peter’s…
“is a restaurant located in Jackson Heights, Queens offering an eclectic menu with influences from Italy, Spain & France. Our philosophy is to serve quality food using fresh ingredients. We take pride in providing impeccable service in a warm and comfortable atmosphere.” (http://www.unclepetersrestaurant.com/, 2015)
To start, we shared three appetizers. I ordered the goat cheese fritters. My husband ordered the grilled calamari, and Tony chose the stuffed smoked salmon. The goat cheese fritters were breaded balls of goat cheese. They came with sliced mango and honey to dip them in. They were creamy, but they were missing something. Even with the honey, the flavors did not mesh well for me. My husband’s grilled calamari came with grilled zucchini in a balsamic sauce. The calamari was well prepared. The zucchini was still slightly crisp, which was a nice contrast to the calamari’s texture. The sauce was mellow in flavor and it did not overpower the other flavors. Finally, Tony’s appetizer consisted of smoked salmon (a surefire way to this Jewish man’s heart) wrapped around avocado, shrimp, baby arugula, and capers. The were a lot of flavors and textures happening in this dish: smoky, salty, peppery, creamy, and crisp. It was a fresh new way for me to have smoked salmon beyond bagels and lox.
For my entrée, I had the Pollo alla Francesa with a mixed garden salad on the side. The dish was two breaded thin chicken breasts sautéed in a buttery white wine and lemon sauce. The chicken was moist, and the sauce had a great balance of butter, wine, and lemon flavors. I sopped a lot of it up with bread after I finished the chicken. While I am not a huge fan of extra salt, the side salad’s vibrant greens were well dressed in oil and vinegar and lightly salted. The crunch of the salt added texture as well as a touch of flavor.
To cap it all off, my husband and I shared a slice of tres leches cake (pronounced trehs lay-chehs). This cake, which means three milks cake, is made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. The cake itself was light, fluffy, and not too sweet. That was fine because the sauce made with the milks was perfectly sweet. The strawberries added a nice, slightly acidic touch to balance it all out.
The meal came to roughly $40.00 a person. It is one of the pricier restaurants in Jackson Heights, but it is good for a special occasion.
Accessibility Rating for Uncle Peter’s
I used my wheelchair to visit Uncle Peter’s.
- Entryway – 1: There are two wide doors at the entrance: an exterior door separated from the interior door by a vestibule. I was able to get through the door itself without a problem. There is an extremely tall step at the entrance. They do have a portable ramp at the restaurant, though it is in no way Americans with Disabilities Act complaint. It is very short, so it makes an extremely steep angle when set down on the step. After three attempts, we were finally able to get me inside, but this was only after removing my anti-tip wheels from my wheelchair. My husband had to pull me up the ramp backwards, and had I not had my seatbelt fastened, I would have fallen out of my wheelchair due to the ramp’s extremely steep angle. It was unsettling to say the least. Exiting was just as harrowing because my chair flew down the ramp, even with my husband holding onto it, and then, my footrests crashed directly into the sidewalk.
- Bathroom – 3: The women’s bathroom is the accessible bathroom. The men’s room is up one step just past the women’s room. I used the women’s room. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not get close to the sink due to a tall, wide vanity underneath it. The faucet has one short handle. The space is brightly lit. I was able to make a 180º turn within the space while in my wheelchair.
- Walkways/Space – 3: The space is small, even moreso when the restaurant is crowded. This was the case when we were there. The area just after the interior entrance door is tight, and I had to make two consecutive 90º turns to get past the bar to get to our table. People had to stop dining and get up out of their seats so I could get to our table. They had to do the same when I used the bathroom and when we left. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while seated in my wheelchair with the footrests lifted up. Each table is brightly lit by recessed lighting above. The pathways are not as well lit. The restaurant was moderately loud due to it being crowded and background music being played while we were there.
- Staff – 2: Were it not for one staff member who helped get people out of my way when I used the bathroom and exited the restaurant, this score would have been lower. He took it upon himself to clear the path for me each time. A chair was moved away from our table so I could sit at the table in my wheelchair. Beyond that, the management clearly did not have a true understanding of accessibility, as evidenced by the horrible portable ramp. The management is responsible for purchasing an appropriate, ADA compliant ramp. Furthermore, the staff kept rushing us to finish, but they did not do this to other parties who had been dining there much longer than we had. Additionally, I was never asked how the staff could best meet my needs as a person with a disability. This was particularly disappointing, as I made the reservation for our dinner in advance where I alerted them to the fact that I would be using my wheelchair to dine there.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.