ROM Outing- Agnanti

7 04 2009

A very overdue post about a restaurant we went to a while back as part of a ROM outing. Agnanti was Katie’s pick, a Greek place in Queens she’d heard a bit about. Since foodie New Yorkers who don’t live in Queens usually feel guilty about not going to all those fabulous places in Queens we hear about (because c’mon IT’S QUEENS), it seemed like a good opportunity to pay a visit to our friends across the river.

Be sure to get the Retsina

Be sure to get the Retsina

Agnanti is not exactly easily accessible via subway. After taking the train out there we walked . . . and walked along Ditmars passing Queens gals on the town in various states of (un)dress. During this journey off a main drag and into increasingly residential ground there was talk of taking a shot before dinner. Regrettably we did not make good on this. It might have been nice to enter a little buzzed since, despite our reservation, they seemed a little overwhelmed by our party of 9 . . . that we’d made reservations for. But we’re a close group, I suppose, and were happy to get a (a lot) closer.

A nice thing about this place is that for $27 per person we were able to do a family style dinner that allowed us to get a taste of a lot of different things. It comes with a platter of mixed appetizers and entrees plus a “kilo” of wine for every four guests. When I checked out Citysearch reviews on this place (after our visit) I saw that many people complained about the wine being overpriced. We ordered retsina which is a Greek white wine with a scent of pine. It may sound strange but it’s really quite delicious and goes with the food nicely. I think this is the only way to go. Said kilos were served in bizarre tin steins that would be Viking-esque were they not light and flimsy.  This, however, did not seem to affect the retsina, as we put away enough to confirm this.

The family style menu comes with a mix of hot and cold appetizers and some salads followed by a mixed grill platter. It also suffered from an affliction which, unfortunately, a recent spate of ROM restaurants have manifested: great appetizers, mediocre entrees. The various salads were excellent as was the warm bread it was served with. There was a plentiful number of things to dip bread in and both the hot and cold appetizers represented Queens like Tribe Called Quest in the 90s. There were all sorts of warm and yummy breaded and fried things and, again, the steins of retsina were going down so nicely. Sadly, when the entrees finally made an appearance, they were quite anticlimactic: a variety of meats cooked past the point of dryness. There was pork, chicken and beef. The pork was the best of the three though still notably dry. The chicken was a’ight and the beef came in little burgers, while it was well seasoned, an argument ensued as to whether it was beef or lamb since it was cooked beyond recognition. The desert,- a fruit and cake-y concoction was unremarkable. I kept coming back for more thinking I would like it better. Since it was winter, perhaps it is more tasty when fresh fruit is more seasonable.

If a person were to venture out to Agnanti, I would argue that the visit would not be complete without a couple of whiskeys at Hellgate on the Park, a bar (and, apparently, an Italian restaurant . . . but only on some nights) that I found precious few words about on the web . . . and nothing worth linking to. But it exists! Barely though. On that cold and dark Tuesday in the dead of winter we were  the only ones there. We got to know our bartender Joey quite well! His name is memorable since we too had a Joey among us . . . imagine that! Despite his terrible taste in music (born in the Q borough, raised in LI, he can be forgiven) he was lovely! He let us dominate the place obnoxiously, did shots with us, cut us a deal AND drove us home. Now that’s service. Some among us were reasonably nervous about jumping in the car with a strange bartender we’d just done shots with, but since there was a large man among us, it seemed safe enough and soon we were careening through midtown screaming along to Bon Jovi (well, at least I was).

So, Agnanti, not the worst place you could go and has a bit of charm to it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way. I’ll leave ya with a photo of the Hellgate bridge which, apparently, exists.

Almost 30 years in the dirty city & I'm just finding out about it. Who knew?

Almost 30 years in the dirty city & I'm just finding out about it. Who knew?

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5 responses

17 04 2009
Let Me Wet My Beak

This anecdote reminds me of the time I was bartending in Astoria and a group of rowdy, obnoxious, twenty and thirty somethings came in to the bar. I acted all cool with them and we even did a few shots together. At the end of the night I offered to drive them home, to my surprise they accepted. So on the drive home while traversing the Queensboro bridge I drove off the side and sent my companions to a watery grave. I was fine, I was saved by some mermaid broads in the East River that I knew. Shit is real. Mermaids is real.

5 05 2009
iammaya

Mermaids is indeed real. MAD real.

22 04 2009
Happy-Face ;(

Why didn’t you guys just order gyros?

23 04 2009
Sarah

Did they really name their italian restaurant Hellgate on the Park? Sheesh. I can just imagine some Fran Dresher-type saying “Me and Vinny went out ta dis romantic dinna, it’s this reaaaaally nice place cawled Hellgate on the Park.” Yeah…no.

5 05 2009
iammaya

One hopes that if the bartender drove her off a cliff that a kind-hearted mermaid would swoop along & bring her back safely to the bridal shop.

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