adventures in astoria
- Susan Marme
Three places recently visited and enjoyed:
Greek - 3 or 4 blocks down Broadway away from the N
train, toward Steinway St - Nostalgia - excellent
fish, interesting mezze (a cheese and hot-pepper dip,
fresh homemade dolmades, charming service (apparently
quite new, cheap, vaut le voyage) Seems owners may be
Cypriot from a few things on the menu.
Kyklades - Ditmars Blvd - even better fish, great
salad, like restaurants fondly remembered in Greece.
South American - Tierras Colombianas (one for the huge
portions file) - but we are probably the last of the
chowhounds to be turned on to this place. Meat meat
and more meat, along w/great sides. Loved the
On the subject of Greek in Astoria -- went to Uncle
George's last week (a block from Nostalgia) and despite
the castigatory remarks it receives in Eclectic Gourmet
I greatly enjoyed my meal. I ordered one of the day's
specials, the lamb in lemon-egg sauce with Kale. The
meat was tender as could be, pulled away from the bone
without a struggle, leaving nary a trace of gristle.
The sauce too was tasty; and the kale. We finished the
entire plate, which was only seven-dollars and a
massive portion. The only complaint which I can think
of is that the food was sloppy -- but that seems a far
cry from Jim's criticism that the chow is "gussied up."
My mother ordered the stuffed-eggplant which was also
delish, stuffed with beef I think, not lamb -- which
surprised me. Again, the plate didn't rank high on
appearance, no garnish, no arrangement, not a single
"side", just laid with two rather flat halves of
eggplant containing spiced meat and topped with cheese
then broiled. Add an Athenian beer and still the bill
came to twenty dollars with tax and tip. On the way
out I noticed a massive roasted side of lamb in the
front display case that looked the way I imagine the
meat sacrifices in the Odyssey. If it were just me and
that roast in a room together I would have dug into it
with my bare hands. I'd certainly like to go back and
try more, although I am also curious to try the place
You ordered well...just the stuff I'd get if forced to eat there. The appetizers are pretty bad (and that's a BIG problem in this app-dominated cuisine), I'd not chance fish, nor complex dishes like mousaka. Grilled meats are ok. You got lucky on the stuffed eggplant.
"but that seems a far cry from Jim's criticism that the chow is "gussied up." "
No, no...Uncle George's is definitely NOT one of the gussied-up Greek places by any stretch of the imagination! I just don't think it's nearly good enough to deserve its landmark status among Manhattan foodies.
Do try the place my book recommends and report back!