Many agree that the only place to get real Greek food in the city is Astoria, but there are so many options to choose from, where do you start? We started with a recommendation, complete with advice on what to order and what not to.
Zenon Taverna is a Cypriot restaurant with some of the most friendly staff I've encountered in years. They offer an unbelievable special: roughly 16 small plates for $18 per person. But, thanks to our friends' advice, we decided against ordering it, apparently it is a perverted amount of food and should only be ordered with extreme caution and complete disregard to one's health and safety.
Instead we went a la carte, with a little cheat sheet in our pockets of the best dishes. For dipping, we got hulking plates full of Tarama (red Caviar dip) and Tahini Dip. The greek Tarama is very similar to my favorite thing of all time, Taramasalta, but it adds potatoes–a shocking twist if you aren't expecting it, but still worth ordering.
Next we got the Cyprus Salad, possibly the best Greek salad you can find, made so by the freshness of the ingredients and the inspired addition of caper leaves. Next came the charred grilled squid, and the heavens opened and the birds were singing. This is the dish to come here for, the one that will haunt your dreams and leave your pillow drenched in saliva. I love grilled squid, but have never tasted it so tender, so flavorful, so exquisite.
Unfortunately, the heavens closed right up again for the hot antipasto, which was by no means bad, but too greasy and fatty for our tastes (the lamb kebob and the cheese were stand out favorites though). Next time I would stick to the seafood and vegetable plates, and that next time will be very soon because just writing this makes me crave it.