HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure
TELL US

So Where Is The Best Greek ????

j
John N. Knoesel Jun 23, 1998 08:06 AM

As a longtime fan of Greek restaurants in Astoria (
remember Taygetos ? ) I can understand the difference
of opinions that surround places like Telly's & Elia's.
The consistency isn't what it used to be and the fact
that these places get so crowded doesn't help either.
This kind of food is to be enjoyed at a leisurely
pace !!!!.
Lately we've been frequenting Christo's Hasapo and have
really enjoyed every meal so far. One big difference
here is the wait staff - pleasant & ACCESIBLE -
something the old standards have forgotten about.
It doesn't hurt to go early either> Regards> JK

  1. j
    Jon Bonne Jul 14, 1998 01:39 PM

    Perhaps I'm one of the few who thinks that Telly's is
    overrated, but I do maintain that Christos Hasapo is
    just about the best Greek in Astoria (and hence NYC)
    -- and as a steakhouse can hold its own with the big
    boys.

    Their menu is sparse, which doesn't really hurt them,
    since they do extremely well what they do. Meals
    begin with a platter of meze brought to your table,
    the wait staff is incredible and has the attitude of
    professional staff that beats restaurants which cost
    far more. Good wine selection, subtle decor, great
    dessert table. For anyone who hasn't been, make the
    trip. If you're in the neighborhood, I guarantee
    it'll become a regular haunt.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jon Bonne
      j
      Josh Jul 14, 1998 02:37 PM

      Speaking of Greek (but not in Astoria), Riva & I tried
      Molyvos last weekend. Very nice. We were there
      pre-theater, and I was surprised that it wasn't packed,
      but pleased that it was pleasantly quiet.

      Appetizers were wonderful: an assortment of spreads and
      some wonderful grilled baby octopus. For the main
      dish, we had a grilled royal dorade, which was
      splendid. They recommended a good, inexpensive Greek
      white wine to go with it.

      My only complaint was that I made the mistake of asking
      them to filet the fish, and so lost some of the best
      parts.

    2. j
      Jim Leff Jun 23, 1998 11:40 AM

      "remember Taygetos ?"

      boy, do I!

      I've just posted my column (the first of a two-parter)
      from Down the Hatch about Greek Astoria (arepa, soul
      food, and rodizio updates).
      You can read it at www.chowhound.com/writing/greek.html
      The opinions expressed in the article won't be
      especially fresh for you all, though; much of it
      repeats points I've made on these boards.
      By the way, I'm slowly updating stuff, so please keep
      your eye on the "What's New Chowhound" section
      (accessible via a link on the upper right of the main
      page) and also the dates on the various items indexed
      on that page.
      ciao

      20 Replies
      1. re: Jim Leff
        j
        Josh Jun 23, 1998 02:42 PM

        OK, the standard recommendations have gone
        downhill. So what _is_ the best Greek these days?
        Even if it ain't like it was in the good old days,
        we gotta eat somewhere.

        1. re: Josh
          t
          Tom M Jun 24, 1998 07:08 PM

          I've weighed in on this before, so I'll try to keep it
          brief. Christos makes great appetizers and an
          incredible Porterhouse. Their other entrees may be just
          as good, but I've never been able to resist the
          temptation of the big steak once I've arrived. It's my
          favorite Greek in Astoria.

          Zenon, on 31st Avenue and 36th (??) street, has been
          consistantly good--I've been there half-a-dozen times
          since I moved out here last year. I've had the
          occasional mediocrity there--last time the eggplant
          salad was pretty bland--but am much more often very,
          very pleased. The sweetbreads are truly a revelation: I
          never would have thought to eat them until a friend
          insisted. Now I order them just about every time. The
          skordalia is excellent, as are the Greek salad, that
          awesome fried cheese, the taramasalata, and just about
          anything grilled. Very good, very reasonably priced.

          I've only been to Koutoukis (??--30th Street and
          Newtown) once, but it was very good. They pretty much
          serve only appetizers. It's a great way to sample lots
          of different Greek dishes.

          1. re: Tom M
            j
            Jim Leff Jun 24, 1998 07:29 PM

            "Zenon, on 31st Avenue and 36th (??) street, has been
            consistantly good--I've been there half-a-dozen times
            since I moved out here last year. I've had the
            occasional mediocrity there--last time the eggplant
            salad was pretty bland--but am much more often very,
            very pleased"

            It's funny...I REALLY like Zenon when it's good, but I
            disagree with you about their consistency (though YOU
            seem to disagree with YOURSELF on that point in the
            bottom of your message!). I've brought groups there and
            been embarrassed by the food quality. I'll forgive them
            their lows, but I can't recommend the place to others;
            it's just way too unpredictable.
            It's amazing how a place can be sooo different on
            different nights. I think this might be an example of
            the Luzia's syndrome...one great chef with a magic
            touch, but all other hands in the kitchen are clueless.
            Ciao

            1. re: Jim Leff
              t
              Tom M Jun 24, 1998 07:45 PM

              Point well taken. What I meant was that I've never had
              an awful meal there, just the occasional subpar dish.
              I'd say that nearly everything else I've had there has
              been in the 'very good' to 'excellent' range. Judging
              from your comments, I've never been there on one of
              their off-nights. Gladly, I might add. I used to live
              out in Boerum Hill and would occasionally eat at Two
              Toms. I had several very, very good monster-size meals
              there, always with the jovial son waiting tables and an
              elderly woman cooking. Then one night--boom! different
              wait staff, different chef, and voila, lousy dinner. It
              was a huge disappointment, almost enough to keep me
              from returning. In fact, I've only since been back for
              friends' birthday feasts and such. Nothing like an
              awful meal--especially when you're expecting something
              great--to take the shine of an apple.

              1. re: Tom M
                j
                Jim Leff Jun 24, 1998 08:11 PM

                "What I meant was that I've never had an awful meal
                there, just the occasional subpar dish. I'd say that
                nearly everything else I've had there has been in
                the 'very good' to 'excellent' range. Judging from
                your comments, I've never been there on one of their
                off-nights. Gladly, I might add"

                ok, now let ME back-pedal a bit. I've never had
                awful there, I've just had meals that inspired
                "hey-what's-the-big-deal" reactions in friends I'd
                enthusiastically dragged there. Nothing awful ever,
                agreed. Just really mediocre and, as you say,
                bland...sometimes.

                Also, it's important to bear in mind that it's not
                that certain dishes are better than others...it
                seems to be inconsistent across the spectrum.
                Brownian motion comes to food service. I wanted to
                put it in my book, but I tried to include only
                boroughs places that are consistently worth the trip
                from manhattan...

                "Nothing like an awful meal--especially when you're
                expecting something great--to take the shine of an
                apple"

                I know, but I pride myself in being really really
                loyal and forgiving (I mean personally; I'm much
                less so in my writing) to places that once fed me
                even one really delicious thing. I try to remember:
                bad food can be the result of an accident, but
                deliciousness is NEVER an accident. Therefore we've
                got to take ups more seriously than downs. Make
                sense?

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  t
                  Tom M Jul 3, 1998 02:50 PM

                  I had another fabulous meal at Christos Hasapo (23rd
                  Avenue and 41st Street) last night. This time my party
                  ordered a variety of meze. We had various dipping
                  sauces (tarama, tzatsiki, eggplant), sardines,
                  dolomades, fried Cypriot cheese, octopus, Greek
                  sausage, and a large Greek salad. Washed it all down
                  with carafes of Retsina and finished the meal with a
                  dessert made of Filo dough and lemon custard.
                  Everything was exceptionally good and the price was
                  quite reasonable: about $25 per diner, including tip.

                  This is my candidate for best Greek in Astoria. PS:
                  They make awesome steaks. IMHO, they have NYC's
                  second-best Porterhouse, bested only by Luger's. At
                  $42, Christos' Porterhouse for two is much more
                  affordable (Luger's charges somewhere in the
                  neighborhood of $60, if memory serves me correctly).

        2. re: Jim Leff
          j
          Jim Leff Jun 23, 1998 03:52 PM

          " I've just posted my column (the first of a two-
          parter) from Down the Hatch about Greek Astoria (arepa,
          soul food, and rodizio updates)"

          woops...I should have typed "PLUS arepa, soul food, and
          rodizio updates"

          1. re: Jim Leff
            s
            Steve Plotnicki Jun 24, 1998 09:41 AM

            Jim-Similarly to my response to you below, this
            response, which is highlighted by Josh's response
            below, is a case in point. Responding to the question
            of where to eat in Astoria with "read my article",
            where you basically say don't eat Greek food in
            Astoria, doesn't really get us anywhere. To lump every
            restaurant in Astoria into the "not worth it" category
            is unreasonable. You also called people from
            Manhattan, bridge & tunnel people, I thought it was
            the other way around :). The standard you are
            promoting denotes a standard not in use by many others
            on the board. Agreed that everyone is entitled to
            their opinion but, John's question was "where to eat"
            not "where not to eat"? As with Maria's question below
            and the tangent Gary's response sent us off on, whose
            purpose was served by this type of answer. Certainly
            not the people who want to use this board most of whom
            I suspect, would be perfectly happy with the meal they
            could have at any of the restaurants in question.

            1. re: Steve Plotnicki
              a
              Allan Evans Jun 24, 1998 03:15 PM

              Jim's point is that you can find cooking with grease
              in Astoria rather than cuisine from Greece. Even at
              its height, Greek cooking is only good to very good.
              Better to lay low and enjoy other ethnic cuisines
              until the Greeks do bette

              1. re: Allan Evans
                j
                Jim Leff Jun 24, 1998 04:43 PM

                "Even at its height, Greek cooking is only good to very
                good"

                Allan, it's my passionate belief that there are no bad
                (or mediocre) cuisines, only bad (or mediocre) chefs.

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  k
                  Kosta Stavlas Jun 7, 1999 10:08 AM

                  Ãéá óáò.Åßìáé Ýëëçíáò.ÈÝëù íá ìïõ ðåéôå ôï ôé ãéíåôå
                  åäù ðåñá.

                  1. re: Kosta Stavlas
                    g
                    Gary Cheong Jun 7, 1999 02:46 PM

                    Anybody care to translate??

                    1. re: Gary Cheong
                      j
                      jg Jun 7, 1999 08:03 PM

                      it`s all greek to me.just kidding, what I think he was trying to say was, when greek men leave greece, they hate leaving their friends behind.

                    2. re: Kosta Stavlas
                      j
                      Jim Leff Jun 7, 1999 05:19 PM

                      I HEAR yuh!

                      1. re: Jim Leff
                        a
                        Allan Evans Jun 7, 1999 11:50 PM

                        I had wonderful Greek food (Kokoretsi!) in Melbourne
                        Australia in 1988. It was better than the meals eaten
                        in Athens, Piraeus, and Aegina.

                2. re: Steve Plotnicki
                  j
                  Jim Leff Jun 24, 1998 04:54 PM

                  I wasn't "responding to the question of where to eat in
                  Astoria with "read my article", I was simply suggesting
                  that people read the article. And since I more fully
                  flesh out my reasoning behind the degradation of
                  Astoria Greek food in the article--and that's the topic
                  of this discussion--I thought it pertinent to do so.

                  You may think my blanket judgement about Astoria is
                  unreasonable, but I'll point out two things: I've lived
                  in that nabe for the last 10 years. And though my taste
                  may not agree with yours, I do tend to trust it. And
                  lots of very informed people agree with me (though that
                  doesn't necessarily make my opinion "right",
                  necessarily--just less extreme than you paint it)

                  "You also called people from Manhattan, bridge & tunnel
                  people, I thought it was the other way around "

                  yes, that was "a joke" Steve

                  "John's question was "where to eat" not "where not to
                  eat"? As with Maria's question below and the tangent
                  Gary's response sent us off on, whose
                  purpose was served by this type of answer"

                  It's my site and I'll digress if I want to. And I
                  invite everyone else to digress as well. This is
                  discussion, not Your Personal Eating Assistant, and
                  questions get answered however people see fit.

                  As far as my advice re: something POSITIVE to eat in
                  Astoria, it'll come in the second part to that article.
                  I'm stretching it out 'cause every food writer in town
                  cruises these boards and I'd like to keep at least a
                  COUPLE of my favorite places virgins for my upcoming
                  book. As is, people will see Jackson Diner, Mississippi
                  BBQ, Tindo, Charles' Soulfood Kitchen, Karam, Kabab
                  Cafe, etc etc in the book and yawn and wonder why I've
                  included so many places others found first (they
                  didn't...I was the first to write about all of them).

                  As I've said several times here, if I made a living
                  from this site, I could say "screw it" and throw all my
                  treasures out here, regardless of any bigger dogs who
                  might go and pee torrents on my fire hydrants. But none
                  of the better-heeled chowhound regulars has come
                  forward to take out an ad or otherwise help support the
                  site. So I have to protect my print career by being a
                  bit tight-lipped here. And I hate to be that way; it's
                  against all my instincts.

                  "Certainly not the people who want to use this board
                  most of whom I suspect, would be perfectly happy with
                  the meal they could have at any of the restaurants in
                  question"

                  Idunno, Steve...is it possible you're just ticked off
                  that people are contradicting your opinion? You sound
                  positively wounded. Don't take it so hard, we ALL have
                  strong opinions...and, in any case, nobody's
                  disrespected you personally here (though the reverse
                  ain't true at this point).

                  1. re: Jim Leff
                    s
                    Steve Plotnicki Jun 24, 1998 08:10 PM

                    Jim-It's not about people disagreeing with me and I
                    don't think it's fair to try and personalize the
                    debate that way. I see similar arguments of this type
                    on the Wine Spectator Board all the time. Someone
                    posts a question, some well intentioned person posts
                    an answer, and then some "flamer" posts, that the
                    question isn't valid and anyone who would bother
                    answering the question doesn't know anything about
                    wine. All that does is turn people off and I've seen
                    many people who were avid users, leave the WS board
                    and never return. The people who post questions of
                    these types on various boards are entitled to a "fair
                    answer" to their question. Why couldn't Gary's or your
                    response include a recommendation of where to eat.
                    That's the question that was asked not, "should I
                    bother eating in Astoria?". But despite the mulitple
                    posts in this thread, neither of you has recommended a
                    single restaurant. It appears that the purpose of your
                    responses was to divert the conversation away from
                    Maria's original question. Like you said, it's your
                    board and you can be any kind of host you want but
                    asking that you accomodate the people who post here by
                    answering their questions or, allowing others to
                    answer them without criticism, isn't really too much
                    to ask.

                    1. re: Steve Plotnicki
                      g
                      Gary Cheong Jun 25, 1998 03:11 AM

                      OK, I thought I was done but now I find myself jumping
                      to this thread of the message board.

                      I seem to be made out as such a villain here. Steve,
                      why don't you just step back a little, and navigate
                      your way to 6/18 when you first posted a reply to
                      Maria. You recommended Manducati's, Elias, Uncle
                      George and Karyatis. I have no disagreement with your
                      other choices 'cos I've never eaten at those places.
                      We only differ in opinion about Elias (yes, I really
                      disliked my meal there).

                      Now go to re-read my reply on 6/19 - I simply panned
                      the food. SHOW ME where I flamed you. Show me where I
                      made vicious personal attacks against you. Show me
                      where I criticized your post as stupid. Maria deserves
                      to hear both good and bad about Elias, and she can
                      make her choice. My next reply is terse 'cos you went
                      on the offensive saying things to the effect of "don't
                      listen to all this shallow mumbo jumbo". So who's
                      attacking whom ?

                      You keep harping on the fact that I did not mention
                      any other alternatives -- well, Steve, I don't know of
                      any other suggestion. But since when does that
                      disqualify me from posting about Elias (whose food I
                      have experienced recently) ? I only post what I know.

                      What purpose would it serve for me to try to "divert
                      the conversation away from Maria's original question"
                      as you claim ? I keep posting back in response to all
                      your wild assumptions about my (and Jim's) motives.

                      So basically -- you like Elias Corner, and I don't
                      (and feel strongly about it). If you want to post,
                      you should expect disagreement -- and sometimes strong
                      disagreement.

                    2. re: Jim Leff
                      j
                      Jeremy Osner Jun 25, 1998 01:24 PM

                      This whole argument seems to be based on two different
                      impressions of how one should give restaurant
                      advice. When I read a restaurant review (or a chowhound
                      posting) I'm much more interested in knowing what kind
                      of experience the reviewer/poster had at the restaurant
                      in question, than in knowing whether s/he thinks I'll
                      like it.

                      The reviewer's _experience_ is data that I can base my
                      judgement on (in combination with other data like what
                      I know of the reviewer, other people's takes on the
                      restaurant, my own experience if I've been there...);
                      his or her _recommendation_ is a second-guess based on
                      no knowledge of who I am or what my tastes are, and it
                      seems much less useful.

                      So I am happy to know that Gary does not like the food
                      at Elias' corner; I've only eaten there once myself and
                      I had some sort of white fish, possibly a porgy, that
                      was very tender and tasted good. I've eaten once at
                      Zenon and thought the cold appetizers were excellent
                      (including the best taramasalata I've ever had) and the
                      hot appetizers were mostly bland and tough. I've even
                      enjoyed eating moussaka at the infamous Uncle George's.

                      Knowing what Steve thinks I would be "perfectly happy"
                      eating doesn't do me any good.

                      Jeremy

                      1. re: Jeremy Osner
                        s
                        Steve Plotnicki Jun 25, 1998 08:54 PM

                        Jeremy-Close but no cigar. If you look at Maria's
                        question, it was clear to me that she didn't have much
                        experience with eating in Astoria. In fact, it appears
                        that she has probably never even been there. When she
                        asked her question, it seemed to me that she was
                        looking for something to do after her trip to the
                        museum. Since that appeared to be the thrust of her
                        question (she's going exploring), I tried to give her
                        three different price ranges of places to eat. Two of
                        those places, Uncle George's and Taygetos, are places
                        that I do not frequent and aren't especially favorites
                        of mine. But they are among the obvious suggestions
                        for someone who wants the "Astoria experience". If the
                        information I gave was not comprehensive enough for a
                        true foodie, she would asked a followup quetion.
                        Obviously she got the information she was looking for
                        because she thanked me but, nested it under Gary's
                        response instead of mine. He then went out of his way
                        to tell her not to thank him for the information that
                        he, didn't give her. At least he was right about
                        something.

                Show Hidden Posts