You've heard about Taverna Kyclades, "that Greek place in Astoria," that one among the many there that's supposed to be the best. It has an hour-long wait (if you're lucky), a taxidermied swordfish on the wall, cramped and lacquered wood tables, and free galaktoboureko at meal's end (if they don't run out — they often do). Does it live up to the hype?
Roasted lemon potatoes, steamed dandelions, grilled quail, and the grilled seafood options (octopus, bass, red snapper, striped bass, dorata, and shark) are fresh, moist, and delicious with a squeeze of lemon. Most memorable may be the collection of cold antipasto dips (which includes skordalia, tzatziki, and taramosalata), and the Greek salad. There's not much to it — hunks of tomato, cucumber, slabs of feta, onions, and peperoncini — but covered in vinegar, olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper, it's a culinary odyssey. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.