42-18 31st Avenue
Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 721-1001

Up until recently Astoria was the only cool Queens neighborhood. Now it must share that mantle with Long Island City. However, what Astoria can't have in terms of luxury highrises and skyline views, it's making up for with nightlife. Steinway Street itself is kind of like a grungy shopping mall with its mix of mom-and-pop shops and chain stores that need to steam clean their facades, but it's nearly impossible to really explain the crowds that line 31st and 30th Avenue. You can barely walk five feet without coming across a chic new cafe with table full of girls dressed like they're ready to party. In comes Cavo to grab some of that miniskirt and stiletto wearing crowd.

Astoria was on my shortlist for places to move when I was choosing neighborhoods outside of Manhattan. I ended up vetoing it because it reminded me too much of Chinatown and Little Italy. Namely, it's pretty dirty. But also, it's too Greek. There just didn't seem to be very much variety. Though that isn't really true, it feels like it is. Of course, Cavo's Greek.

Cavo's also huge. Massive. Massively huge. We sat outside and walking to our table meant zig-zagging though the bar/lounge in the front and through the indoor dining area, then downstairs to the patio. There are bars there, too. In fact, there are two stories of outdoor seating, just like there are two stories of indoor seating. The indoor dining room is very modern. The outdoor area feels like sitting by a Cretian temple with trees, waterfalls, red mood lighting, and tribal designs on the surrounding walls.

Cavo has to pay for all this somehow, and they do so by being one of the sexiest places in the borough and with Manhattan pricing. Appetizers average $12 each and entrees average $30. I went there twice with D. Luckily, she paid for one of the visits.

Day One:
I got off work in the dark, as usual, and headed to Steinway Street. D had been to Cavo many times with friends. I had never heard of the place, but I'm not an Astoria resident. We grabbed a seat by the wall and ordered a bottle of pinot grigio. Since Cavo's Greek, you don't get bread bread. Instead, you get a basket of pita bread, served with an addictive olive spread.

D ordered the Garides Me Filo appetizer: shrimp covered in a filo pastry and drizzled with a thyme scented honey. She liked it. I thought it was good, but not great. My starter choice was the Htapodi Sta Karvouna, a charcoal grilled octopus served in a vinaigrette with chick peas, olives, roasted tomatoes, and potato. This was very good, especially if you're a fan of octopus like I am, but would have been even better if the vinaigrette was less potent. So if you don't like vinegar, this won't be the dish for you.

For an entree, D ordered the Kotopoulo Kokkinisto Alonnisu, a red wine braised baby chicken stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. Again, D liked her dish. Again, I thought it needed a little help. Maybe I just don't much care for feta cheese (by the way, I don't much care for feta cheese). But I also think it was too dry. Maybe when you order it, it'll be better. My entree was the Maschari Sta Karvouna, a charcoal grilled skirt steak served with "Greek" fries... ie: French fries with herbs. Very good. Very tender. But too much salt. Nonetheless, I'd get it again.

We did not get dessert and went upstairs and indoors for drinks at the bar.

I can't find my receipt, but two appetizers, two entrees, a bottle of wine, plus tax and tip hovered around $150.

Day Two:
By some fluke of luck, D and I got the exact same table, right by the wall. The best table for two, in my opinion, especially when you want a good, unobstructed view for taking photos. We only ordered a glass of wine each this time, since we were planning on going to Bar 36 later on for cocktails. For her appetizer, D chose Cavo's Greek Salad, known at Cavo as Cavo's Horiatiki. Tomato, cucumber, olives, capers, feta cheese, and red onion. This was very good. And again, I'm not a huge fan of feta. My appetizer was the Moschari Me Polenta, braised black angus short ribs over polenta served with crispy shallots and sheep's milk cheese. Damn. That was good.There was some fat that should have been trimmed off, but that pettiness aside, this was a good dish.

Much to my chagrin, D ordered a special. Why is this a big deal, you ask? Simply put, if you go there, you might not be able to order the special unless it repeats itself. Nonetheless, D got the Filet Mignon... only to order it well done!?! She liked it a lot, so maybe some of you all will, too. As for me, the cow died in vain. My main course was the Agrios Solomos Me Pilafi, an herb and mustard crusted salmon with with a vegetable risotto. Very very good with one issue. It was unbearably heavy because it was coated in butter. It was so heavy that I was on the verge of nausea. If they could cut that down it would be an excellent dish. The risotto was great, by the way.

Again, no dessert. Sorry folks.

Two appetizers, two entrees, two glasses of wine, plus tax and tip came to $120 and change.

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