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Cynics contend there's no great Greek food left in Astoria. Today we encountered evidence to the contrary. After eyeballing the iced display of fish, we made our way into the spare skylit interior and noshed on a very garlicky skordalia and an abundant beet salad while waiting for our sea bass to cook. It arrived 20 minutes later, grilled over charcoal and singed on the edges, flooded with olive oil and herbs, every bite sweet, salty, and smoky. It was altogether the best grilled fish we've had in ages, visits to the ultra-pricey Estiatorio Milos in midtown included.
The sea bass at Astoria's STAMATIS, one of the neighborhood's old-timers, is cooked over charcoal, and develops a burnished skin with little charred sections imprinted by the cooking basket that held it. Doused with pungent olive oil and a handful of dried oregano, the flesh is sweet, tender, and smoky. Though the bass is large enough to share, you won't want to. Insist on selecting your fish from the window display. More »
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