2006-07-19 / Restaurant of the Week

Buccaneer Diner Food Is Always Made From Scratch

93-01 Astoria Blvd. East Elmhurst + 718-457-6803
by Teresa Barile

          The Buccaneer Diner breaks all the long-standing rules about diners. Forget any notions about frozen, pre-packaged food, greasy burgers and fish cakes or mushy spaghetti. Nearly everything served at Buccaneer Diner is made from scratch, and with only the freshest ingredients. For 30 years, owner Costa Alexiou has been personally selecting his own fish and seafood from the market, bypassing the middleman and passing the savings and supreme freshness on to his customers. Skip over the seafood offerings at Buccaneer Diner and you'll be truly missing out on something special that would cost twice the price in a seafood restaurant. Alexiou doesn't skimp on the meat offerings, either. He butchers his own meat and even grinds his own beef for his restaurant's famous Buccaneer Burgers. The obvious pride he takes in his menu mainstays is what has customers coming back, time after time.

The Buccaneer Diner is a great place for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack at any time, as they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each night there are no less than 15 specials offered, all with the freshest market ingredients to create dishes such as beef tenderloin tips with garlic mashed potatoes and char-broiled shoulder lamb chops, my choice that evening. I was amazed at the beautifully presented platter of four tender lamb chops, cooked exactly as I asked, dressed with wedges of fresh lemon and crisp onion rings. Next time I'll try the Tbone steak or juicy pork chops.

          "The Buccaneer 
            Diner is a great place for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack at 
            any time..." "The Buccaneer Diner is a great place for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack at any time..." I cannot emphasize enough that Buccaneer Diner specializes in fresh fish and seafood. One favorite of the diners at Buccaneer is the Fisherman's Platter, a piscatorial delight that includes stuffed shrimp, deep sea scallops, stuffed fillet of sole, baked clams and a Brazilian lobster tail served with a salad, choice of potato and vegetable for just $18.95-half the price of a similar offering anywhere else. Frutta di mare-sauted fresh calamari, crabmeat, mussels, scallops and baby octopus in olive oil and garlic- is heaped on a bed of linguine. Sole, filleted on the premises, can be broiled with lemon or sauted with white wine, butter and lemon for a melt-in-your-mouth dinner. Fresh deep-sea scallops are pan seared to release their natural sweetness and served with a mound of garlic mashed potatoes. The fresh fish purchase of the day, whatever it may be, will be prominently featured for the day's entrees. Nothing will be left over or frozen-ever.

Buccaneer serves excellent sauted dishes such as chicken or veal Marsala, piccata or Francese. Their pasta dishes rival those found in fancy Italian restaurants, and best of all, patrons are given a choice of how they like their pasta cooked, from al dente to soft. Try the penne tossed with chunks of chicken and shrimp in a light pesto sauce for just $13.95. The portions are so generous; you'll have lunch the next day too. An assortment of Greek specialties, such as lamb stew with orzo, is equally tempting. An Early Bird Dinner is featured Monday through Thursday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m. Choose among fresh fish, roast beef au jus, pasta, chicken parmigiana or baked meatloaf starting at $10.95, including soup, salad and a beverage. On Sundays, special roasts such as lamb, veal or loin of pork are slow cooked for full flavor and tenderness.

Even the house salad, which comes with every entree, is special at Buccaneer. Fresh baby greens such as frisee and arugula are tossed with red, ripe tomatoes, red cabbage and carrots with dressing of your choice. Choice of potato and home-style bread are also included with each entre, making Buccaneer a real bargain.

The Buccaneer Diner proudly makes all its own baked goods, so desserts are really special. Their cheesecake is legendary, as is their carrot cake. You can even buy a whole one to take home. Other offerings include chocolate layer cake, strawberry shortcake and creamy rice pudding and chocolate pudding. The coffee is great, too.

For lunch, smaller portions of dinner entrees are offered for around $8.95, as well as a host of sandwiches, salads and burgers. The beef is hand-ground each day to make thick, juicy burgers, topped with favorite fixings. The Buccaneer signature burger is a two-handed affair of juicy beef topped with sweet, caramelized onions. Their famous waffle-cut fries are addictive. Grilled chicken breast on a toasted bun with crispy bacon and cheese is served with fries, lettuce and tomato. Triple decker sandwiches layer roast beef and Swiss cheese with favorite toppings. Enjoy a large Greek salad with creamy feta cheese, stuffed grape leaves and olives for lunch or dinner, or order a cubed grilled chicken breast over a crunchy house salad.

Come for breakfast and enjoy fluffy French toast made with their own house-made challah bread or a stack of pancakes with butter and syrup. The waffles are so good, extended service is offered on the weekends, though regular breakfast items can be ordered 24 hours a day. Eggs, omelets, muffins, Danish and oatmeal are some other good choices. Orders can also be wrapped to go.

The Buccaneer Diner is conveniently located on Astoria Boulevard, just off the Grand Central Parkway and down the road from LaGuardia Airport. It's an ideal place to eat before or after a Met game and there's plenty of free parking. Small private parties can be arranged on the premises, and off-premises catering is available for any number of guests. Choose among hot and cold platters, salads, entrees and desserts to make your private party extra special, with no fuss on your part.

Since it's too hot to cook, why not take advantage of these home-style meals in a clean and comfortable setting? Besides, Buccaneer has some of the friendliest wait staff you'll meet. Sammy Ghoubrial, the congenial manager, puts in six days a week at the helm to ensure your satisfaction with a smile. Visit Buccaneer Diner for breakfast, lunch or dinner, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They specialize in fresh fish and seafood, fresh-cut meat and burgers and house baked goods. Don't forget the Early Bird Dinner Specials, and the nightly chef specials will always delight you.

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