When my friend Benny proposed to go to Astoria to a Greek restaurant, I was excited. He got a recommendation to go to Stamatis, a family owned restaurant located few steps from the train station. We went on a Friday and this place was so packed with patrons coming and going endlessly, to the point that at 9:30pm, they were already out of desserts: that was a bit disappointing as we really wanted to end our meal with something sweet...
We tried quite a bit of food, but what I only realized when we left is that the food is pre-made and sitting there, like in a hot buffet...And it might explain why it was just ok! Here is what we tried:
Ouzo, a traditional anise flavored liquor:
Small antipasti platter, composed of Tarama (spread made with fish roe), skordalia (garlic spread, lots of garlic), tzatziki (yogurt spread) and eggplant dips. We were expecting pita, but instead they gave us some bread brushed with oil. It is only later that we saw that several tables got pita...Anyway, this is a must have so you can try several dips, my favorite being the eggplant that had feta in it, as well as the tzatziki.
Saganaki (fried cheese): this was superb and also a must have. I should mention that they do not flambé it. In fact, when I asked, our waiter said with a smirk on his face: "we do not do that here".
Fried variety: as we could not decide between fried eggplant and fried zucchini, we got both in the fried variety that was supposed to have peppers that were missing in action. I was looking forward to this dish but was disappointed as it was quite greasy.
Lamb chops: they were just ok, slightly overcooked.
Calf Liver: another overcooked dish, so it was a bit dry.
Fried sardines: very good, probably the dish I enjoyed the most.
As we ordered three entrees, we could have three sides. There were potatoes, rice and some collard greens. Overall ok.
You probably wonder if Jodi had an entree: she did but I forgot to take a photo...It was the classic Greek salad that seemed to be fresh.
Overall the meal was ok. Definitely we could see that regulars were coming back to that place that, as I mentioned before was packed all along. But, between the food, the service that was not good (we waited for our dishes a while and they were not that nice), and the noise level that made us want to leave, I do not think I would go back there...
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Stamatis - 29-09 23rd Avenue, Queens, NY 11105