Sadly, it is becoming harder to enjoy a delicious, and equally important, relaxing, meal within Astoria's offering of Greek establishments.
One such forgetful experience occurred this past Saturday, at S'Agapo, which is all the more disconcerting because I had previously considered this restaurant to be at the top, if not the top, of the Greek restaurant hierarchy in Astoria, both for its food, as much as for its welcoming service.
So what happened? I walked in with my companion at around 9:30, we were warmly greeted and seated. Our water glasses were filled and we were given bread and menus. The waiter came over a few minutes later and asked if we could order "right away," since the kitchen was closing. We did so. When I asked for a taste of the Cretan white wine before I ordered a large carafe, the waiter looked at me as if I asked for his wallet. He complied and brought over a taste of the wine, which was suitable as a food accompaniment. We had only been working on the appetizer for a few minutes when the rest of the meal came all at once. Lets talk about that. My companion had the chicken kebab, which was eclipsed in dryness only by the chicken at "The Pump" restaurant(s). Not world class. I had the grilled swordfish. Unimpressive, and not even close to what I would expect from this establishment. Let me also mention the wad of grey hair my companion spotted in the horta. Further, S'agapo's practice of asking for cash tips would not be so obnoxious if they weren't so arrogant as to cross out the space for a tip, and sometimes, even total the check for you, thereby altogether removing the option to tip on a credit card.
My conclusion: I, myself, am so very tired of this attitude, and this place. Go to Stamatis on Broadway if you want the real deal. Its a simple place, they're friendly, and the food is very well prepared. Since Roumeli (a few doors down) closed almost two years ago (recently re-opened as an "Estiatorio" (good luck), Stamatis has raised the bar on what they do, and it shows. Stamatis' swordfish smokes that at S'Agapo. I've had it a number of times. Extremely consistent. Cooked to perfection. QED.