Given a cursory glance, the Astor Bake Shop might appear to be yet another cupcakerie in a city overrun with them. Oh, don't get us wrong: the cupcakes here are nice, especially since you can order miniature versions, thus enabling a wide sampling of flavors. But the reason we endured the manifold weekend subway service changes out to Astoria had to do with the savory side of the menu, particularly their acclaimed Astor burger.
A juicy half-brisket patty gets coleslaw and "Astor sauce" to go with the usual toppings. The eponymous sauce is the key --- a tart, tangy blend of three kinds of peppers (ancho, piquillo, and chipotle), plus garlic, onion, tomatoes, and mayo. It balances with the cool crunch of the cole slaw and leads to a flavor-packed bite. We also had a respectable Asian pork sandwich and a bag of garlic herb fries before moving on to the minicakes, which we found eminently eatable.