Restaurant Review: Smile of the Beyond

Smile of the Beyond
8614 Parsons Boulevard
(between Normal Road and 87th Avenue)
Briarwood, Queens

Vegiboys Rating (3/4)

Each of the Sri Chinmoy sect’s restaurants follow a very particular formula in their interior design. The paint scheme is always calming whites and light blues. Mr. Chinmoy’s art always figures dominantly into the décor. Self-promotional photos, videos of his physical feats, and records of meetings with notable personalities are found everywhere. An enclosed, inaccessible (though visible) memorial area is always found near the front door.

Yet every restaurant’s service and menu focus is entirely unique. Annam Brahma is an Indian-focused menu with sari-clad waitresses quietly serving patrons. Oneness-Fountain-Heart has a more generalized American-style menu, with waiters in business-casual-wear running the front of the house.

For Smile of the Beyond, the menu is pure greasy spoon diner (more stereotypically so than any other vegetarian restaurant in the city), presided over by surly older gentleman in 50s style soda-jerk garb (complete with white paper hats).

This surprisingly formulaic approach to a neighborhood diner attracts a wide range of clients, from teenagers to septegenarians, and from vegans to omnivores. The attraction for all may lie in the predictability of the food (it’s indistinguishable from standard diner fare), and the confusingly low price.

My Big Man Special was a sort of lumberjack breakfast with cheesy scrambled eggs, rye toast, and potatoes with gravy. The eggs had bits of soy sausage that gave them a nice flavor, and the meal definitely satisfied the stomach overall.

Brian had a “turkey” club on rye with soy turkey, soy bacon, lettuce and tomato. Served with a small salad, the sandwich was simple, but also really satisfying.

With freshly squeezed orange juice to drink, we were really pleased with our experience at this venue. The food was nothing more nor less than you would seek from any diner, but at $12 each for the entire meal (including tip), it felt as if the prices hadn’t been changed since their founding. For a vegetarian or an omnivore looking for a diner in eastern Queens (it’s only a short walk to the AirTrain for anyone JFK-bound), this provides the food you expect at a price that can’t be beat.

Food (3/4)

Atmosphere & Service

Value (3.5/4)

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