Our last weekend living in Astoria, we tried out a Greek restaurant that we had heard great things about, but had never been to. Stamatis is one of many Greek restaurants located on 23rd Avenue but it has repeatedly gotten good reviews and was recommended through word of mouth many friends. We went on a Saturday night and were able to get a table pretty quickly. The atmosphere was relatively plain, and maybe reminiscent of a church fellowship hall, but the tables stayed full all night, and it seemed authentic because there were a large number of Greek groups and families there (I'm pretty sure some Greek Orthodox ministers came in at one point). The service became more friendly as the evening went on, largely due to our group's efforts and jokes and willingness to adapt.

We started with the spread sampler, that included three dips with pita bread. We liked the tabouli, tajzihki and eggplant spreads. These were a hit with our group, and we easily went through two servings of pita bread. We had some difficulty ordering our main course, as it seemed they were 'out' of many of the dishes we ordered. They were even out of the moussaka. Clark and I ended up ordering pastitsio, a baked pasta dish with a filling of ground meat and a bechamel sauce top. We both agreed that it was good, but pretty plain. It came with lemon potatoes, salad, and bread on the side. We were also given a complimentary dessert: custard wrapped in filo dough and topped with cinnamon for dessert. Delicious!

For the price, we got a lot of food, and it was a good culmination of Greek food in Astoria. -V

Buddakan New York

I really liked the New York Times' description of Buddakan:
Buddakan is the apotheosis, at least for the next 60 seconds, of a distinct genre: the post-millennial urban mess hall as supersize cocktail lounge with superstylized dishes, which chart a far-out trip to the Far East.

The specific cuisine in its sights is Chinese, and the real surprise is how good many of Buddakan's alternately faithful and fanciful interpretations of it are. A restaurant this sexy doesn't need to be smart.

V and I joined her brother, John, for dinner here to celebrate our birthdays. It was the second time I'd been to Buddakan, but my first time actually eating in the dining room. The restaurant has an amazing atmosphere; the main dining room is downstairs but open two stories up with huge chandeliers hanging overhead and wax-caked candlesticks on the tabletops. The side area in which we ate has pictures of Buddha heads randomly lit on the walls, and a dark environment that gives a sense of privacy.

Our server was very good and well informed about the food on the menu and made some excellent suggestions. The food is served family style, which was a great way to get tastes of several different dishes. Though the serving sizes and presentations seemed generally like a standard one-person entrees.

We started with a few appetizers, including the General Tso’s Dumpling, which was stuffed with chicken, ginger and garlic, which were served right from the steamer basket. I found the Crispy Calamari Salad with green apples, cashews, and a miso vinaigrette also to be very good. I was tempted to order the frog legs, but we shied away. The steamed sea bass roll with cabbage, ginger, sizzling scallion oil was good, tender and buttery, but a little forgettable.

We tried three main courses, and my favorite was the rich and flavorful Sizzling Short Rib with mushroom chow fun (noodles), and Asian pear. The meat was tender and a little fatty, the pear was refreshing, and the mushrooms and noodles were a great compliment. Next on my list was the Glazed Alaskan black cod with chili eggplant, black bean relish. The fish was light and flaky and the black bean relish was a nice flavor to go with it. The last dish served was a seared pork tenderloin with wild mushrooms, lotus scented rice, Chinese bacon. This was good, but I think we were all starting to get full and so it wasn't a favorite. I also felt like the rice, was a bit strong, but the tea-like flavor was good. We also ordered a side of charred asparagus that was amazing (for asparagus), it was not stringy, and had a great flavor with a "black bean foam."

Capping off the meal was a great cup of cappuccino and a Tempura Apple Fritter (essentially fried apple rings) with Saigon cinnamon anglaise (a white, creamy sauce) and salt and pepper caramel (a sauce that I found to be a little too peppery, or perhaps too dark of a caramel). Overall it was a great meal, with lots more on the menu I'd like to try. Combine that with top-notch service and it made for an excellent way to celebrate our birthdays!

Return to food!

I'm sure there is great concern out there that I am not eating because I have not posted an update to the blog recently. Do not fear. I have eaten. In fact I may have put on a pound or three (but I am going to the gym, so I'm going to argue that it is muscle weight). Really, I'd say that my academic and work schedule this spring has kept me from writing much while instead I'm reading lots and doing homework. Now, its spring break, so I'm going to try to catch up, and we'll see what i remember from any of the last 11 meals I've had that are yet to be blogged. So the posts may be shorter, but at least you'll know I was eating.


'wichcraft is a great little sandwich place in the village. I went there with Matt, a friend visiting from out of town. The restaurant is part of the "Craft" collection of restaurants (recently we also went to CraftBar). The menu is pretty simple with about a dozen sandwich choices including hot and cold sandwiches. I ordered the grilled gruyère with caramelized onions on peasant bread. It was grilled on a panini press and was quite crunchy on the outside but not to hard to bite through. The cheese was flavorful, though I thought it could have been a little stronger or saltier.

There are several more sandwiches on the menu that I'd like to try. Overall this is a great place for a great but quick and casual lunch. You walk though a line to order but your order is brought to your table once you find your seat. The prices are a little high for a sandwich, but the quality equals or exceeds the price. (now that I live nearby) I'll definitely go back!


Bubby's is the top place to get home cooking and great pie in lower Manhattan. On a Saturday night, we had to wait about ten minutes for a table, and it was easily worth it. The atmosphere was fun and family oriented. It was decorated as an old farm house might be with lots of trinkets and old photographs. The service was friendly though it wasn't always prompt.

We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we sat down. Clark just had to try the chicken and waffles, and his only complaint is that it wasn't greasy enough. I tried the macaroni and cheese, and a side of spinach, and my only complaint was that it was too much food. Everything we tried met our standards for great home cooking. Due to the huge portions, we didn't have any room left for dessert, but someday will try Bubby's out just for the pie.

Written by V

Spring Street Natural

Spring Street Natural Restaurant was founded in 1973 in the heart of SoHo. The Restaurant quickly became a neighborhood fixture, serving up fresh, healthy cuisine at affordable prices to local denizens.

We went to Spring Street Natural because we couldn't get in at nearby Balthazar. It was a cool space, very open and light and also very crowded. Unfortunately we weren't that impressed with the food. I ordered a shrimp and mushroom risotto which seemed more watery than creamy. V had the Mayan eggs which included two eggs on a yellow corn tortilla with black beans, Monterrey Jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, and ranchero sauce. She was disappointed because it wasn't as salad-like as she expected. I guess that doesn't mean it was bad, it just didn't meet her expectations.

Overall it is a really cool restaurant, with pretty reasonable prices and a neat atmosphere. Maybe we'll try a something else next time, because there's a lot of good looking stuff on the menu.