2002-05-01 / Restaurant of the Week

Restaurant Of The Week

Follow The Signs To Zodiac For Great Food And Drink
By Teresa Barile

Of The Week

Great food, drinks and entertainment at Zodiac Restaurant has been entertaining and feeding the Astoria community for six years and the good times keep coming on, as do crowds of cheerful patrons to the corner of Newtown Avenue and 31st Street where they relax at outdoor tables in warm weather. But whether you sit indoors or outdoors, a visit to Zodiac should be in your future.

This very spacious café, restaurant and night club has three levels to relax in. Stop in anytime for coffee, espresso or cappuccino and a homemade pastry. The lunch menu includes freshly prepared sandwiches, burgers and souvlaki, so customers can enjoy a hassle-free lunch and get on their way. Cocktails are extra special at Zodiac and patrons can even take in their favorite sporting events on two big screen televisions. Owner Jimmy Mitsios and manager Steve Karyotakis are often on hand to make everyone feel at home.

Diners at Zodiac are never rushed. The friendly wait staff encourages lingering over snacks such as fabulous grilled octopus in lemon and olive oil, or pikilia, a combination of Greek dips that include taramosalata, a creamy caviar dip, melitzanosalata, or eggplant dip and creamy tzatziki yogurt/cucumber dip ($8.95). Warm pita bread makes the dips easy to scoop up. Zodiac's fried calamari are crispy and tender, and the baked clams are as fresh as can be. One of my favorites is saganaki, a slab of grilled cheese, served melted and bubbly. Another appetizer is cold seafood salad, full of shrimp, calamari, octopus and crabmeat in a zesty vinaigrette dressing ($9.95). A large Greek salad could practically be a meal.

Zodiac's unique interior features brightly colored frescoes and plaster reliefs on the walls. The comfortable club chairs on the first level invite relaxing, while the upstairs nightclub, complete with live music and a dance floor, dares patrons to dance. Thursday through Sunday nights Greek musicians play to a mixed crowd of young and not-so-young alike all of whom enjoy the traditional and popular Greek music while they nibble on everything from appetizers to full course meals. Best of all, there's never a cover charge for the entertainment. Feel free to sit down and order whatever you like.

Dinner items include grilled New York strip steak or juicy ribeye, cooked to order and served with oven-roasted lemon potatoes and vegetable ($16.95). Grilled chicken breast or juicy chicken kebabs are a great choice for a lighter meal. In keeping with the Mediterranean atmosphere, plenty of fish and seafood grace the menu. Whole red snapper or the featured fish of the day is grilled and served with fragrant olive oil and lemon wedges. Broiled shrimp in garlic and butter served over rice hits the spot. Swordfish steak or twin lobster tails are available, as well as the daily specials that the pleasant wait staff describe.

I loved the traditional souvlaki, tender chunks of pork grilled and served over seasoned rice, but you'll also enjoy their variety of sautéed dishes. Plump shrimp are sautéed with garlic, onion, white wine and feta cheese. Tender veal scaloppini are accompanied by spinach and mozzarella cheese. Fetttuccine primavera is fresh cuts of vegetables tossed in a light cream sauce over ribbons of pasta ($10.95). Lots of choices will suit any taste at Zodiac, but please save room for dessert and coffee.

Flaky baklava, oozing with honey and walnuts, or galaktoborekia, pastry with a creamy custard, go especially well with their freshly steamed European espresso or cappuccino. Frothy cold coffee drinks are available as well and taste great during the warmer weather.

The sidewalk tables will be out soon but stop in any time since Zodiac is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. till 2 a.m. (4 a.m. on weekends). Whether you come in for coffee, a cocktail with friends, lunch or dinner, you'll have a relaxing and pleasant experience at Zodiac. Don't forget the wonderful live entertainment and dancing Thursday through Sunday evenings. Zodiac can also accommodate a small or large private party.

Happy Orthodox Easter from Zodiac, where all traditional dishes and the special Easter bread will be served this weekend.

There’s fun in your future at Zodiac Café and Restaurant.


30-15 Newtown Ave.



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