I first visited Cavo in late summer 2001. At the time, I thought "What could be better than this?" With its fabulous menu, outdoor garden, cozy indoor lounge, excellent service and European atmosphere, I thought that surely, new heights had been reached, right here in Astoria. Recent additions have been completed and Cavo is even more so a place that is not to be missed.
The young men who created Cavo— Cerullo, Demaras, Philippou, Sakatis and Tallides—have outdone themselves, creating a tasteful indoor dining room, complete with linen tablecloths, comfortable seating and candle glow everywhere. Currently decorated for the holidays, Cavo exudes warmth and invites you to sit at one of the lounge tables and enjoy some of their fabulous drinks and Mediterranean-style snacks. This magnificent space covers 4,000 square feet, yet the new, enclosed dining room is warm and cozy, thanks to the tastes of the owners, who incorporated earth-tone tiled floors, dappled walls and soft lighting from wrought iron chandeliers and an abundance of candles. Birch trees are backlit from behind banquettes, creating a forest-like backdrop. A balcony above offers private dining.
The 30-foot-long bar, besides a wine rack behind it, has Vassily, the expert barman, who is almost always on duty. His repertoire of Cavo signature drinks includes their now famous chocolate martini, which could be a cocktail or a dessert, mango and sour apple martinis, freshly made sangria brimming with fruit, and mojitos, a refreshing Cuban drink, made from rum and mint leaves. He is still working on a new concoction to be named "call a cab," as driving afterwards is not advised.
Cavo opens at 5 p.m. for dinner. Brunch is served from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Thanks to Chef Fernando, who hails from Spain, the menu is better than ever and you owe it to yourself to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Cavo,Restaurant
Of The Week
By Teresa Barile
Cavo Offers Fine Dining, Lounge And Outdoor Garden starting with one of their inventive appetizers, such as the shrimp in garlic sauce, a favorite of mine. Seared tuna roll incorporates the finest grade tuna with roasted red pepper, ginger and napa cabbage, with a smattering of mango wasabi sauce. The crab cakes, some of the best I've tasted, are accented with a roasted corn and black bean salsa. Prince Edward mussels are prepared in a delicate wine sauce and are perfect for sharing. Share a Charcuterie board, filled with slices of serrano ham, grilled chorizo sausage, sorpresata, salami, mixed olives and a crunchy baguette ($15), a very popular item in the lounge when friends gather for drinks and want to nibble. You can also share a trio of spreads of your choice with triangles of warm pita ($8) or paper-thin chips of eggplant and zucchini with thick tzatziki sauce. Try calamari salad for its unique combination of flavors and textures. You might like to try a few appetizers and forego an entrée. After all, variety is the spice of life.
Cavo certainly offers variety in its entreés. Fresh pasta, meat, chicken and fish are all expertly prepared on the spot. Try the tortellini with roasted eggplant, mushrooms and diced tomato for a taste of sunny Italy. I enjoyed the freshly made special ravioli, filled with wild mushrooms and topped with a creamy pesto sauce. Fresh Mediterranean fish such as orata or bronzini are grilled whole and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and herbs for a light and healthful meal. Grilled shrimp, prepared in a similar fashion, are light and wonderfully plump and tender. Two signature entreés are pan seared filet mignon with a robust cabernet reduction and grilled skirt steak with an aromatic chimichurri sauce. Both are outstanding, as are the grilled lamb chops with a drizzle of lemon, rosemary and olive oil. Plan to come back for the roasted lemon chicken, with meat simply falling off the bone ($12).
No meal is complete until you try the banana and chocolate crepes or until you've broken through the baked sugar of the orange-infused créme brulée. Have an international coffee, with your choice of liqueur, or just feel free to move over to the lounge for a digestif.
The after-dinner crowd has grown steadily since Cavo first opened nearly two years ago. People of all ages come to chat with their dates or friends on the comfy velvet couches in the candlelit lounge, or to gather for tempting snacks,and cocktails. Whether you come for dinner, weekend brunch or just drinks, Cavo is sure to please even the most die-hard social butterfly. Cavo has it all—great food, a great bar, friendly people and excellent service, guaranteed by Mark, the gregarious general manager.
Private parties are welcome, so remember Cavo for your next social event. Call Dino Philippou to arrange an unforgettable affair. Cavo is also having a New Year's Eve bash. For a $40 cover charge, enjoy a champagne toast and free hors d’oeuvres with international music all night. A limited menu will be available as well, at an additional cost. Considering the quality of the food, the atmosphere and the excellent service, the prices are astonishingly reasonable.
Come to Cavo, a European café and lounge in Astoria. Check their ads for photos and special events. I know I'm going back. I hope to see you there!
Cavo Café Lounge
42-18 31st Ave.