Sun-Fri, 8am-midnight; Sat, 24 hours
G, R, V at Grand Ave.-Newtown
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Metropolitan Ave. to Roosevelt Ave., 63rd Dr. to 58th St.
A diner is a diner is a diner—except in multicultural Queens. Pop Diner looks like a diner, with the usual retro theme. (Here, it’s atomic sixties, rather than hi-fi fifties.) And Pop acts like a diner, by being open nearly 24-7 and providing high chairs on demand. But it doesn’t taste like a diner. The menu suggests a World’s Fair food court, with everything from griddled sandwiches to moussaka and mofongo. And while it’s no big deal to offer seafood risotto or Singapore noodles in a family eatery, it’s a challenge to do them well. The food quality of this Queens diner would do justice to a Manhattan tablecloth restaurant. Pop’s kitchen crew isn’t made up of short-order cooks but exacting chefs whose output is distinguished by fresh ingredients and just-right seasoning and doneness. Everything save the Saltines for the chowder is made in-house, from eggy onion rolls to rich cakes and pies that, for once in a diner, taste as good as they look. For New Yorkers with working taste buds, a diner meal usually means a dispiriting compromise or a late-night act of desperation. Pop’s yummy chow restores that bygone childlike anticipation of the diner experience.Recommended Dishes
Roast pork, $16; Singapore hakka noodles, $18; paella, $21; carrot cake, $5