NYC continues to excite my culinary senses.
Last week I ventured out to Astoria for a Greek meal at Amylos Taverna. Other than a passion for Greek food and knowledge that the best Greek in NYC is found in this particular part of Queens, I knew very little and had low expectations. And, yes, the experience threw me quite a bit, in a good way. Owned and operated by the Arvanitis family (known for their involvement in the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – the patriarch, John Arvanitis, also owns Omonia Cafe, which he opened in 1974.
As a result, the atmosphere is very family-friendly and very Mediterranean. The inside of the restaurant really lovely and is open to the outside, adding to its European sense. The Executive Chef, Konstantinos Troumouhis, worked on the Greek Island of Kos and has a good handle on the cuisine.
We (meaning my teenage son, Max) had big appetites, which was a good thing, as we were there to taste the food, after being invited by the owner. We started out with a big assortment of small plates that included Moussaka Croquettes, Veggie Chips, a crispy zucchini and eggplant tower (pictured above), Saganaki, a Greek cheese pastry with tomato jam, which was my favorite starter, Salmon Tartare, and a selection of spreads which included Tzatziki, Spicy Feta, and Melitzanosalata. Needless to say, we had to stop ourselves from over-eating. Everything was so fresh and flavorful. It was hard not to over-indulge.
For dinner, we had Fagri, a Mediterranean fish dish, and Lamp Chops with french fries with olive oil and lemon emulsion, which my son devoured. The menu is full of Greek touches and I loved the taste of the fish. The family’s matriarch Martha Arvanitis also contributes to the creation of the menu, so I want to give a shout out to her, too.
For dessert, we shared (don’t ask me how we had room!) Ekmek, honey syrup, angel hair, shredded wheat pastry, creamy custard, whipped cream, and toasted almonds on top and Yogurt Mastiha Panacotta with strawberry thyme sauce, and yes, wow, the flavors were bursting with sweet, fresh goodness. Everything was that good.
All in all, Amylos was a great dining experience for us both, and my son is already planning our return visit and what he’ll order. If you’re looking to try something new right in the center of Astoria on Broadway, give it a try. Give yourself plenty of time, order a few glasses of wine or cocktails, and let the experience transport you to a Greek island.
Disclosure: My meal at Amylos was complimentary to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.