2002-06-19 / Restaurant of the Week

Restaurant Of The Week

Whitestone Diner-Restaurant Offers Homestyle Food And Friendly People
By Teresa Barile

Restaurant
Of The Week

In the world of diners, a few stand out for exceptionally good food, freshly prepared, at reasonable prices. The Whitestone Diner-Restaurant, named for the quiet hamlet in which it is located, is such a diner. I've been going to Napoleon Zambelas' diner for years now, so it's a treat to have this opportunity to tell my readers about this cozy neighborhood restaurant. Together with partner Sam Singh, Zambelas offers the freshest food, prepared to order in a family-type setting.

Moms, dads, kids, grandmothers and grandfathers all join with friends to share a hearty, homestyle meal in a quiet, relaxing dining room that overlooks the roses and vegetables in the garden just behind the restaurant, on which we gazed as we sipped exotic frozen margaritas and fresh fruit daiquiris. The Whitestone Diner emphasizes fresh fish and seafood and offers an unbeatable lobster dinner, served every night of the week, for just $15.95. The low price includes soup, salad, vegetables, and potatoes or rice. Speaking of soup, the chef makes traditional Greek soups like avgolemono, as well as hearty bean, vegetable and clam chowders and chicken noodle.

Their Greek salad served with delicious herb-infused dressing on the side is probably the best I've ever eaten. The big chunks of feta cheese and stuffed grape leaves almost make a meal in themselves. But save room for the entrées which include steaks, chops, delicious roast ham, roast turkey, sautéed dishes, pasta and more.

I dove into a hearty platter of roasted leg of lamb, which was one of the specials that evening at an amazing $12.95, while my companion enjoyed a tender, juicy Romanian steak, topped with crunchy onion rings, and served with choice of potatoes, fresh vegetables and salad. The low price of $14.95 makes this meal even tastier. In fact, dinner specials range in price from $9.95 to $14.95.

That evening's dinner specials included an assortment of fresh fish and seafood. Brook trout, scrod, Norwegian salmon, scallops and shrimp can be prepared any way you like: broiled, sautéed or fried. Shrimp Santorini, a particularly delicious dish that combines plump shrimp with feta cheese, fresh tomato and lots of garlic and served over rice, this dish transported me to the Greek island for which it is named. Chicken a la King is a hearty portion of tender chicken in a creamy sauce, served over a mound of rice. A king or queen will enjoy the "Princess" platter of seafood that includes a lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, and a stuffed clam ($22.95). All dinner specials include both homemade soup and a fresh, crunchy salad, entrée, potato, fresh vegetable, dessert and coffee, making the prices a real bargain, especially for families on a budget. All the side dishes are homemade, my favorite being the chunky, yet creamy mashed potatoes.

A number of traditional Greek dishes are always available, such as moussaka, souvlaki, and spanakopita (spinach pie), which melted in my mouth. For something light and tasty, try the chicken shish-kebob or fresh fish-kebob, laced with healthy vegetables and served over rice. Summer is also a good time to try the barbecued half chicken or grilled pork chops.

Sautéed veal scallopini marsala is fork-tender and makes for a savory meal. Tender chicken cutlets are sautéed with baby artichoke hearts in a light brown sauce for a special treat ($12.95). Pasta dishes such as linguine puttanesca, laced with black olives, capers, anchovies and tomato, round out the menu.

The Whitestone Diner is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.. I love to visit in the morning when sunshine fills the dining room and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee and French toast fills the air. The omelets are big and fluffy, filled with just about anything you'd like and silver dollar pancakes are a big hit with kids.

Lunchtime is perfect for their 100 percent pure beef hamburgers, topped with cheese, or eaten plain. Sandwiches piled high with turkey, roast beef, ham and corned beef are man-sized. There are a number of fresh, crunchy salads, each named for a different Greek islands--Paros (chicken), Chios (tuna), and Lefkas (turkey).

If you want the convenience of a diner with the quality and service of a restaurant, visit the Whitestone Diner-Restaurant on 14th Avenue in Whitestone. It's easily accessible from either the Whitestone Expressway or the Cross Island Parkway and parking isn't a problem.

Save room for creamy rice pudding, delicious cakes, pies and puddings, and robust coffee! Visit the Whitestone Diner-Restaurant soon.

Whitestone

Diner-Restaurant

149-21 14th Ave.

Whitestone

746-6761


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