A new addition to the Briarwood neighborhood in Jamaica Queens, New York serves up lattes and delectable vegetarian fare with a dollop of serenity and artsy atmosphere for garnish. Since its debut in August 2007, owner Ketan Goldman has quickly created an inviting atmosphere with great espresso, teas, hearty salads, sandwiches and baked goods. Dubbed The Panorama of my Silence-Heart Cafe by spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, the name really fits.
Even if you are surfing with the free WiFi, getting a triple blast of espresso softened with rich cream (Infinite Bliss specialty drink) or tapping to the beat of live musicians, a quiet feeling of inner serenity slowly pervades your outlook. As you take in the colorful decor, the books on the browsing shelf about meditation and spirituality by Sri Chinmoy or the fragrant beauty of flowers on the tables and counter, the term “silence-heart” takes on tangible meaning as you relax into the cafe’s ambience.
Yet it’s the food that will keep you coming back even more than the atmosphere! You will sing hallelujah if you time a visit to coincide with chocolate chip/chunk cookies coming warm out of the oven. Mine was so warm and melted that I ate it on a plate with a fork and these cookies baked by the cafe rank among my all-time favorite.
Or if you get a chocolate brownie I am ready to similarly guarantee that it will soon be your new “best” for this baked good as well. The hot chocolate with whipped cream was a winner with myself and my companions. Organic loose leaf teas are steeped and/or iced one order at a time and the blueberry rooibos is a fruity robust flavor perfect for the caffeine free crowd.
The chicken caesar salad is a generous filling meal in itself and panini sandwiches such as the Chevrole with goat cheese and tomato on an onion panini is also a crowd pleaser. Sunday brunch is the best of all. A prix fix includes varying fare such as a banana frappe, muffin, crepes or eggs.
Whatever your choice, Ketan’s gourmet touch shines through. Even the potato chips are not your ordinary style but the Route 11 brand which has won numerous accolades. In fact, you can enjoy a variety of menu items and entirely forget that you have just eaten from a vegetarian and even possibly vegan menu.
In between socializing over cappuccino, people watching the local college student crowd and noshing on waffles, don’t forget to check out the local photography exhibit on the wall just past the counter or tickle the ivories of the piano on the back wall. By the time you walk out the door, you will utter a sigh of contentment in your share of the panorama of offerings to be found at Panorama Cafe.
Location: 84-73 Parsons Blvd. near the Parsons Blvd. stop on the F train. Hours: Seven days a week from 7 a.m.-9 p.m., with the exception of Wednesday, when it closes at 6 p.m. For more information: call 718-526-0723.