For five years, Dutch Kills Bar on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City has been a destination for some of the borough’s best cocktails. Now, thanks to Blissville Kitchen, it is also a destination for food. While Blissville quietly opened two years ago in Dutch Kills’ space to provide a food program to accompany the great cocktails, a newly expanded menu along with some delicious old favorites now have them poised for wider acclaim.
Blissville Chef Chris Faga has been with Dutch Kills for four years, almost since the beginning, first as a bouncer, then a server, and now at the helm of a kitchen. The Brooklyn native was raised in the kitchen of his Father’s restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, and his effort and commitment reflect these deep familial roots. Thanks to a mutual friend, I stopped in last week to meet Chis and try a cross section of Blissville’s menu.
Bar snacks tend to vaguely hold your attention while you focus on the drink at hand, but Blissville’s deliciously spicy Honey Glazed Chili Nuts and House Made Beef Jerky with a sweet and spicy strawberry and Sraracha glaze are two bar bites that will stand out. Both are great for sharing, and are wildly popular noshes among the Dutch Kills drinking set.
Next I tried a long time menu staple, the rather ingenious Bacon Panzanella (pictured above). This is one of my favorite bites I have have in a while: small rafts of bacon are baked into cup shaped vessels for an ample pile of marinated grape tomatoes, garlic aioli and croutons. It is a true flavor bomb in the best way possible.
Chef Chris admitted stepping outside of his comfort zone with the next dish I sampled. With little to no experience making vegan food, customer requests inspired him to create the Roasted Mushroom and Cauliflower Sandwich. The key to this new dish, which tasted like Vegan Thanksgiving, is the rich, savory shiitake mushroom gravy. While vegans should run and not walk to get this sandwich, I’d happily recommend it to even the most devout carnivore.
Along with the delicious vegan sandwich, another new item, the Hangar Steak Sandwich, won my heart at Blissville. A classic flavor pairing, this sandwich combined tender strips of hangar steak with herb butter and pickled red onions. This hearty sandwich is something I would order again and again, and with Blissville planning to start delivery in the months ahead, I couldn’t help imagining how great it would be to eat this sandwich on my couch, drinking beer, watching football (my hobby on Sundays in the fall).
The two final dishes I tried were no less impressive. Blissville’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese had a perfectly crispy layer of breadcrumbs sheltering creamy cheddar noodles. I had it with hunks of Italian pulled pork mixed in, but vegetarians can order it without. Last but not least the Smoked Duck Breast and Morbier Sandwich balanced the fatty, smoky duck with creamy, slightly bitter Morbier cheese, earthy rosemary and sweet cherry compote in a complex and lovely snack.
Blissville Kitchen is a wonderful part of Long Island City’s food scene, so be sure to check it out. While you are there, of course, don’t miss Dutch Kills amazing cocktails as well. Below is the Moscow Mule, my personal favorite go-to drink on the menu. Cheers to great food and drink at Blissville Kitchen and Dutch Kills Bar.
Blissville Kitchen at Dutch Kills Bar, 27-24 Jackson Ave, Long Island City