Sangria Tapas Bar & Restaurant
95-41 Sutphin Blvd
It had been awhile since I have been to my favorite restaurant, Sangria’s Tapas Bar & Restaurant located at 95-41 Sutphin Blvd, a couple of blocks south of the LIRR/AirTrain/Subway station. Their food is the best around, hands down. Last night I chowed down on the Sangria Salad (the very large mixed greens with apples, walnuts, feta cheese and basil vinigarette) and one of my favorites, the grilled calamari. If they ask if you want olives and bread, take both, especially the marinated olives with garlic and hot red pepper. For drinks I ordered their made on the spot White Sangria (they also have Red and Tropical), and probably the best and most potent Sangria all around.
Nice casual atmosphere, you would not even know you were in Jamaica
In the past they would have live music (jazz) on some Saturdays and Wednesdays, but the times I was there, no band. But last night when I walked in a band was setting up and they told me since about two months ago, they have the jazz band, The Freddy Dugard Hit Squad,
Freddy Dugard on drums
playing every Saturday from 8pm to 11pm. Of course I stayed to hear them and so damn glad I did. This quartet, (consisting of Freddy Dugard on drums (kick-ass), bass player Mark Bass, keyboards Keico Kato, and bad ass sax player Kazuki Kitamori ) not only plays traditional jazz but also kicks it up a notch with some R&B and funk. Last night some of the tunes they cranked out were the classic “Take Five”, The Delfonic’s “La La Means I love You”, Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage, “I Wanna Rock With You” and my favorite, Grover Washington’s classic “Mister Magic”. This band is tight and they can tear it up at times.
I was very impressed, so impressed I got their business card and passed it on to the manager of the newly opened CityRib, which has recently started live music.
If you have not been to Sangria or it has been awhile, I suggest heading over there, especially on Saturday night to hear The Freddy Dugard Hit Squad. The place was packed last night and people were waiting for tables.
The Freddy Dugard Hit Squad
I wish our totally do nothing and useless leaders would clean up that stretch of Sutphin Blvd and begin to revitalize and develop it. Hopefully with a 24 story hotel going in across the train station, that will be the start of much need development in that area. While I feel totally safe walking along their, even late at night, outsiders might not and this would prevent them from coming into this area. That is a shame because a place as good as Sangria’s should be packed every night. NOTE: Don’t you get it numbskull leaders, businesses thrive when you clean up an area and revitalize it as opposed to keeping it ghetto shit.
If our leaders and powers to be had any vision or initiative, they would develop, clean up and market the Jamaica area as a jazz destination in Queens. With Jamaica’s rich jazz history and some of the most iconic legends residing here (John Coltrane, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne to name a few) there is no reason why Jamaica cannot be a destination spot for live jazz. I know of no other area in Queens where you can see live jazz (Sangria, CityRib, Smoke BBQ Pit in Springfield Gardens, where The Freddy Dugard Hit Squad plays every Thursday evening, The Proper Cafe in Cambria Heights and Southern Girls Soul Food in Laurelton). There should be jazz cafes/clubs all around the Downtown area. Talk about making Jamaica a destination spot and pumping money into the economy, it could be New York’s answer to New Orleans. The former La Casina, now a landmark, which was built in the 1930′s and for a period of time was a jazz nightclub, is up for sale. This would be a good time to return it to its former state of live jazz.
Come on lazy ass do nothing non-visionary leaders, I have now given you ideas, now put them into motion.
In the meantime listen to the band tear up the classic Chick Corea “Spain”.