I am a "newbie" here. I am very happy to join the chowhound family.
I have been reading ALOT of the posts on many discussions including the Greek Food posts of Astoria, Queens and the Articles on The Fall of the Greek Empire (Part I & II). I cannot agree more with all I have read. The "Greek" restaurants, tavernas and eateries in Astoria, Queens and Manhattan have all been a waste of my time, money and calories for many years now. I, too, still miss "Tayetos". As well as "Cyprus Tavern"(When Mamma "Cyprus" was doing the home cooking, oh the flavor of her famous "kolokasi") and a couple of others.
I have eaten at Zenon. I have had a "good" meal there. But mostly the food is "terrible", at best. I have eaten at "Uncle Georges, the all nighter", I would go only for lunch in a bind or after midnight for a bowl of "patsa", tripe soup, to sober the mind and body.It helps to know the waitstaff by name and to be a regular. OPA! Tony's Souvlaki is a no-no among my clan. The food has been described by my people as "stodgy", and that is the nicest thing I can write here. "Elias Corner" was ok, at best, when they resided across the street, but the strong smell of fishyness entering into the place turns me off. I have been to "Molyvos" in Manhattan once, and only once, thank god.(It is a place that should not even remotely be labeled as Greek). "Estiatorio Milos" in Manhattan is a place I stopped by once to see the reason for the hype(foodie style). I found some famous people(actors etc.) dining there. I found a table of ice with some half rotten fish and an excuse that the "Mediterranean fish" has not been "flown over" in a few days. It looked more like weeks from the pickings, but I believe fish should swim, not fly, anyway. An order of (local)Black Sea Bass was prepared very well, but I did not ask to have it filleted after cooking. (I paid by the pound for a whole fish and expected a whole fish). The appetizers were bland and boring and a waste. "Fish" restaurants(Greek) have popped up all over Astoria and Manhattan in the last few years, following the opening of "Milos". They all try to copy the "per lb" style of serving fish. (I hesitate to say "seafood" restaurant, as they can't seem to cook much of anything else than fish on the grill). They all are marginally "fair" if not a total waste. "Taverna on the Park" at Astoria Park is ok(despite the horrors I have read herein), but it is for Greek speaking crowds of people that "need" to experience the type of service and food found in Greece today, and not for a passerby with a quest for good, friendly service and an, er, well, "Americanized" dining experience. Please don't ask me to visit "Stamatis". I have been to 23rd Street and to Broadway. I will not ever return.
S'agapo, I've heard, is ok by some, and a poor choice by others, but I haven't bothered to try. Some "new" places are trying to sell a form of "cuisine" that they call "authentic" Greek. It's a "cuisine" that they claim is from ancient Greek cookbooks they read. They tend to serve foods with alot of raisins, dates, nuts and all sorts of stuff that I, an Hellene, don't choose to consider Greek. All the others are just diners with new names or eateries meant to feed the proprietors family, not you and me.
Ultimately, I am seeking a place, anywhere in the "Tristate area", that serves "TRUE HELLENIC CUISINE". I live on Lawn Guyland, and work in Manhattan. Travel is no problem. I have tried some places on Lawn Guyland, and I will save my heartburn for the fast food lunches I sometimes am forced to ingest. If anyone knows of a food find of good eats in the "Greek" category, please let me know. I am willing to try something "new".
Happy hunting and good eats. -Alexander the Greek Gastronomos