If this Korean mom-and-pop did business on the Lower East Side or in one of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of northern Brooklyn, it would be embraced as a treasure. Here on an otherwise bleak side street, cut off by Queens Blvd. from prospective customers at two nearby high schools and LaGuardia Community College, it's simply underused. On my most recent visit, vintage Top 40 pop serenaded just a handful of customers; the mini pool table had no takers. The well-groomed planting by the door, however, was the harbinger of a cheery welcome that, I imagine, varies little under the daily ebb and flow.
Other than the shop's signature, homemade (and low-sodium) sauce, you might not remark on any particular culinary high points. But haven't you, too, found that everything tastes just a little better when bleak surroundings make way for an oasis? Shown: my chicken teriyaki sandwich ($5), whose juicy tidbits tumbled hither and thither until I abandoned any attempt at a more revealing photo. The teriyaki burrito would have been better-composed and cheaper still.
Seven Coffee Shop
43-40 34th St. (Queens Blvd.-43rd Ave.), Long Island City, Queens
Breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday only