In this edition: Clarification on how to pronounce “bao,” an Astoria brick-oven place gets (favorably) compared to the original Patsy’s in East Harlem, and why you haven’t seen much from Club 21 on Twitter. —Tracy Infield

The Bao Shoppe (30-66 Steinway) opened Saturday and the Yelp reviews are in. (Yes, already.) For some reason Yelp has two pages for them—one with a single 3-star review from Phil L. (Astoria) and another with four 5-stars. My favorite (by far) was from Stephanie P, who sprinkles her review with phrases like “HUZZAH!!! *throws glitter*” and “Colonel Sanders totally got schooled.” As the other reviewers noted, there may be a few service kinks to work out, but Stephanie’s not worried: “I’m confident that in 2 weeks they will be kicking bao ass and taking names.”

See also tastoriaqueens review: “Welcome to the neighborhood: The Bao Shoppe

The Bao Shoppe is on Facebook: The Bao ShoppeTwitter: The Bao Shoppe, and foursquare: The Bao Shoppe

PS: In case you were wondering, it rhymes with “now” (not “mayo”).

Note to The Bao Shoppe owners: If you have a choice, unlock the one on the right!

Note to The Bao Shoppe owners: If you have a choice, unlock the one on the right!

Leli’s Bakery (35-14 30th Ave) got some love this month from Chelsea J. (NY, NY) and Astorian Katherine F. Chelsea, who gave it 4 stars, says it’s “probably up there with La Guli’s and Martha’s for the best bakery in Astoria,” while Katherine (5 stars!) says it’s “way better.”

See also:’s interview with Manager Mohamed Khalil of Leli’s Bakery

Leli’s is on Facebook: Leli’s Bakery & Cafe and foursquare: Leli’s Bakery and Pastry Shop

Here's Chef Leli with one of his works of art. (Photo via their FB page from Easter 2013)

Here’s Chef Leli with one of his works of art. (Photo via their FB page from Easter 2013)

Basil Brick Oven Pizza (28-17 Astoria Blvd) has also had an excellent March, scoring a place on We Heart Astoria’s list of “Top 10 Pizzas in Astoria,” a 5-star review from Astorian Ryan K., and the highest possible praise from Joe R. from East Harlem, who wrote, “This has to be one of the best gourmet style brick-oven pizzeries in the city. It rivals that of Patsy’s (the original Patsy’s on 1st Ave in East Harlem), Grimaldi’s and Totonnos, which I think are the best pizza places in the city.”

Come to think of it, Basil also had a pretty good February. If Basil is reading their Yelp reviews, this one from Chris V. of Astoria probably kept them warm all through this chilly March: “Overall this is hands-down the best ‘brick-oven’ pizza place in the area… the kind of place that I don’t want everyone to know it’s here because it would be busy all the time because of price and quality BUT I’d rather it be busy then kept a secret and close.” There’s more (much more), but if Basil Brick Oven were my restaurant, I’d print up the whole review and tape it to the big fridge in the back.

Astoria Social Media Twitter Feed Spring Cleaning Alert:

club 21

Feel free to unfollow Club 21Astoria (30-09 21st St); it’s closed. I’ve never been, although I’ve always liked their Twitter bio (“Eat like a Czech, drink like a Slovak and party like there is no tomorrow!”) In its place is The Barn—where I suspect you can also eat like a Czech and drink like a Slovak. Photo history on The Barn’s Facebook page shows Club 21 stuff, so I’m guessing it’s the same owners/management.