Showing posts with label Greek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek. Show all posts

8/21/15

Grazing on Some Great Greek

Living in Astoria, I've tried some excellent Greek food. So I definitely approach any new Hellenic epicurean event with a keen sense of taste. 

Avaton Estiatorio exterior

I was invited to Avaton Estiatorio (1 East 35th Street) recently and was instantly struck by how clean, chic, and welcoming the space was, especially mere steps away from the hell-hole block that is 34th Street right outside the Empire State Building. It's tucked away from the hubbub and features a small but protected sidewalk cafe and 2 separate dining rooms, plus a private upstairs section. 

On the way to our table, we passed by the fresh local and Mediterranean fish display, which makes for quite the appetizing welcome. We sat in the back dining room under an impressive chandelier and across from a wall-sized replica of an olive tree.

Fresh fish display
Fresh fish display
View from my seat
View from my seat
I'm not sure how much pineapple is a part of classic Greek cuisine, but it was a hot day out and a tropical cocktail sounded great to me. I tried the Elpinia (at least it had a Greek name!) with vodka, fresh pineapple, fresh squeezed lime juice, ginger and a cinnamon stick. My friend was a bit weary about the combination of cinnamon and pineapple initially, but the combination totally works! I also appreciated that the drink wasn't too sweet.

Elpinia
Elpinia
Before our "official" food even arrived, we were smitten with the bread. The bread! I know! It had olives in it and was toasted and drizzled with some high class EVOO. It was all gone fairly soon after it arrived.

Olive bread
Olive bread
Our first appetizer was the tuna tartare served with diced yellow fin filet, avocado, soy ginger vinaigrette, and an oregano tortilla. This was good, but nothing special or unique. In fact I've had this dish at restaurants that define themselves as anything from Italian to Mexican to Japanese. And now it's Greek. Don't let this stop you from ordering it, as if you know you like tuna tartare, this one will satisfy you very well.

Tuna tartare
Tuna tartare
Next up we sampled the platter of Avaton dips: Taramosalata, htipiti, skordalia, melitzanosalata, tzatziki. We pretty much finished this crazy amount of dip. My favorite was the skordalia because garlic. Don't eat too much of this on a date.

Avaton dips
Avaton dips
For the main course, we split the special seafood risotto. The chef explained that his tomato sauce has no sugar in it, which was great because fresh tomatoes have plenty of natural sugar. I liked the wide array of seafood in the dish including scallops, mussels, clams, and prawns--two a piece so perfect for sharing (or boarding Noah's ark). It was all topped with feta cheese.

Seafood risotto
Seafood risotto
Dessert may have been my favorite course of this meal. We were treated to three different sweet offerings and all were completely unlike anything I'd ever had before. My favorite, the textured halva, was made from semolina, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon citrus syrup. The chef told us he borrowed from the Turkish tradition and made the halvah with milk as well, which definitely added richness. My friend's favorite was the Karidopita, a moist and surprisingly gluten-free (no flour!) walnut cake, which was served with caramel fudge. We also tried the chocolate pot which is the dessert to order for all chocoholics. It's very apparent that high quality cocoa when into this treat as it's as rich as it is balanced and creamy.

Dessert trio
Dessert trio
Avaton offers a $33 price fix lunch or $38 pre-theater dinner. I would definitely recommend parking yourself in one of their outside tables if the weather is nice, but a seat in the back room under the chandelier is certainly transportive. The waitstaff was very cordial and friendly and will certainly answer any questions regarding the menu and work with you over any food allergies and restrictions. Whatever you do, save room for dessert!

Disclosure: Avaton provided us with a comp'd meal but all opinions in this review are my own.


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6/22/15

Get Your Greek On at Eons

The Chipotle model has obviously proven so successful for Mexican food, so it's no surprise we've seen numerous other cuisines steal the build-it-yourself meal restaurant and make it their own. The Greeks have done it this time with Eons in Murray Hill (633 Second Ave @ 34th Street) and it's bound to be your new go-to for fresh, flavorful food.

Eons Greek

Walking in, you get the view similar to what you seen in Chipotle--a line of people waiting to choose their base (here you get you meal served as a pita, over rice, or over salad), protein (chicken, pork, shrimp, octopus, steak, lamb, salmon, or veggies), and toppings (tzadziki, garlic spread, feta spread, eggplant, humus, or something called lado sauce). Then you can choose from a variety of veggies and condiments to top off your meal.

We met the owner Anoush and she sweetly walked us through our options and made some recommendations.


Eons Greek counter and menu

Anoush making my lunch
Anoush making my lunch
Proteins!
Proteins!
More proteins!
More proteins!
Toppings!
Toppings!
Prices range from $7-$15 (with octopus by far being the most expensive). I opted for salmon over rice and have been craving it for lunch ever since! The fish is super flavorful and you can tell that it hasn't been sitting there for days just waiting to be served. The tomatoes which topped my bowl were some of the reddest I've ever seen and I would definitely recommend you not skip the lentils! Also they serve Boylan's sodas, so Eons officially gets 2 thumbs up.


Anoush also brought us a sample of Eons' spreads. The humus was, well, not my favorite, but all the others were great, especially the garlic spread! Mmmmm. No vampires here!

A spread of spreads
A spread of spreads
Our lunches
Our lunches
If you live or work in the area, Eons would be a great place to pick up lunch or dinner. And if you're anything like me, you'll even have leftovers! Don't be afraid to splurge for bigger ticket items like the salmon because they are fresh and definitely worth the few extra bucks.

Click to add a blog post for Eon's Greek Food For Life on Zomato

7/19/13

Food So Good, You'll Shout Opa!

To be a standout Greek restaurant in Astoria takes an extensive menu of authentic dishes, a super friendly and homey atmosphere and reasonable prices. Telly's Taverna on 23rd Avenue has all three and is by far my new favorite local place for some mezés and seafood!


So authentic, half the menu is in Greek!



I was invited to come dine with a friend last week and it's definitely a good thing I had a light lunch that day. Dianna, the owner, selected several small plates for us to start with and we also split a refreshing bottle of white wine (Boutari Moschofilero $32). First we had fresh made pita, nice and thick like I like it with an assortment of dips ($14) including Taramosalata (fish roe), tzatzki (yogurt and cucumber), Skordalia (garlic and potato). We also had a super fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese ($9) and a finely chopped Nana's Green Salad ($9).

First appetizers

Next we had the traditional fried Kefalograviera cheese dish Saganaki ($11) which is good if you like fried cheese, but was probably what I enjoyed least of the entire meal (don't worry, there's much much more to come!)

Saganaki
If you ever go to Telly's you MUST order the grilled octopus ($14.75). It was cooked to perfection and with a little lemon and seasoning was one of the most delicious, simple dishes I have ever had. I could have finished the entire plate for dinner and been happy. The lima beans baked in tomato sauce ($10)are another must order. Having never really experienced lima beans, I now know to give them a lot more credit in the future.

Grilled Octopus

Lima Beans

Telly's has a number of grilled and fried veggies, but the fried eggplant and zucchini ($8 each) were standouts. You can tell they use quality vegetables as you can still taste the flavors underneath the light breading and there is minimal oil left over.

Fried Eggpland and Zucchini

For our main courses (like we hadn't already stuffed ourselves!), we went with both the most authentic Greek item on the menu--Barbounia ($19)--and the most popular fish--Branzini (market price). We were warned that the barbounia, also known as red mullet, were very bony and boy were they. You have to be a very meticulous eater who doesn't mind sifting through a maze of sharp pointy bones to get your food to enjoy this dish. The flavor was very interesting, different from any other fish I've had before, and I relished the new experience. The branzini was fairly standard as to what I've had at other Greek and Italian restaurants. Telly's serves it's fish with a bottle of lemon juice and olive oil mixture on the side and it was amazing with the fish. For sides, we had the beets ($7), hora (a Greek green vegetable, $6), and Greek style fried potatoes ($6).

Barbounia

Branzini

So much food!

Dessert wasn't even an option; OF COURSE we were getting something. At Telly's everyone ends their meal with an order of Loukoumades for free (except for Saturdays). These are essentially donut holes served with honey and cinnamon, but better than any you would get at Dunkin Donuts that's for sure. We also sampled the Greek yogurt with preserves ($6)--think of Chobani plus all of that glorious creaminess they take out (also known as full fat) and you have a glorious, gluttonous plate of yummy.

Loukoumades
Greek yogurt and preserves (we liked it so much that I almost forgot to snap a photo)
I would definitely like to come back to try something on the Char-Broiled section of the menu; people on Yelp seem to love the lamb chops. You don't eat meat?! That's ok. I make lamb. Something else I love about Telly's is that they make everything to order and that encourages a long, leisurely meal. So grab a pal and your empty stomach, head to Telly's and come back and tell us how you liked it :)

Telly's Taverna on Urbanspoon
Telly's Taverna on Foodio54

6/7/12

Kalí óreksi!

About 2 years ago, I was supposed to take a trip to Greece. Unfortunately because of personal reasons and the economic situation there, the trip had to be canceled, but there's something about Greek culture, especially food, that continues to call to me. So when Faros, a Greek restaurant in Park Slope, invited me for a tasting, I obviously said yes.


As a blogger, I go to a lot of tastings and they are usually all pretty good. The waiters are polite, the wine is delicious and the food never seems to stop coming. But at Faros, the ante was upped. We were greeted by one of the most friendly waitresses I've ever encountered (and not in a creepy way but in a "welcome to my grandma's house, make yourself comfortable" kind of way).

We were seated right in the front of the rather large restaurant (it has 2 stories!), which was nice because we could people watch out the window. The host/manager brought us a nice bottle of 2006 Greek wine from the Moraitis Winery in Paros, and it perfectly complemented just about everything we ordered. Also, to whet our appetite, they brought us delicious fresh bread with olives and a fava bean puree.


Then it was on to the real appetizers. Let me just say that Faros will not short you on food. We ordered two appetizers to get a feel for the menu, but I would definitely not recommend ordering more than one for your party of two. The cold appetizer we ordered was Taramosalata ($5), fish roe mousse with lemon and onions. It reminded me a lot of lox spread but it was served with delicious pita. The hot appetizer we got was Saganaki ($8), which they claim is classic baked Kefalograriera cheese, but who are they kidding? It's pan fried and comes to the table with flames as high as the waiter. A pretty amazing sight to see, but to be honest, I only could eat a few bites of this. It's a giant platter of fried cheese, and while it was delicious and gluttonous, more than a few bites would have done me in.

Taramosalata 

Saganaki 
Next it was time for the mains. Because I can't resist a good branzino, we ordered the fish special for the night ($20-$25) served whole with garlic, lemon, and capers. There's something about good olive oil that makes all the difference. We also went with a classic Greek comfort food, Spitikos Mousakas ($15), layered with potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, ground sirloin and luscious béchamel sauce. If you want to go for a traditional, amazing, yet very filling dish, this is it my friend.

Branzino

Spitikos Mousakas
At this point, we were stuffed to the brink. However, in the way that only your Greek family would, our waitress insisted that we at least try dessert. And you can't get more Greek than baklava. Sticky and sweet like it should be, this was the perfect way to cap of a perfect meal.

Baklava
So though I'm still longing to hop on a plane and visit the whitewashed, sea cliff villages where this cuisine originated myself, I'm content hopping on the 2/3 to Grand Army Plaza and getting my fix at Faros.

Faros is offering a special menu just in time for Father's Day! Come in Saturday June 16, 2012 - Sunday June 17, 2012 and celebrate dad with their $50 per person, three-course, prix fixe menu which includes a bottle of wine per 2 adults. Kids are only $10 each! I promise he'll love it!

Faros on Urbanspoon