Plaka Mediterranean Grill Brightens Winter Days
Center, 31st Avenue and 75th
Street, offers a taste of sunny Greece
for a respite from the winter doldrums.
Whitewashed walls, blue shuttered windows, hand-hammered plank floors and tables dressed in sunny yellow and cerulean blue linens all combine in a delightful dining room equally suited for an intimate meal for two or a family gathering, and the light, freshly prepared Greek fare served in Plaka Mediterranean Grill's warm and luminous atmosphere will brighten the dullest winter day.
Refrigerated cases near the front of the restaurant allow diners to view the fresh catches of the day nestled on ice, as well as a selection of fine meats and kebabs, all destined for transformation into delicious meals in the exposed kitchen. Hosts Anna and Alex Theodoropoulos see to the quality of the food, with Anna personally preparing soups, vegetables, potatoes and other classic Greek dishes each day. The skilled grill men sear a choice of meat, poultry or fish on the spot for optimal flavor.
The array of tempting appetizers, both hot and cold, is my favorite part of Greek cuisine. Savory dips such as melitzanosalata (eggplant), taramosalata (caviar), and revithosalata (chickpeas), are heavenly when spread on thick slices of warm
bread. Sizzling saganaki, a slab of pan-fried Greek cheese, is finished with a touch of flaming brandy ($7.50). A squeeze of lemon, just before eating, brings out the savory saltiness of the cheese, mellowed by the brandy. Handmade meatballs, called keftedes are nice for sharing. You can't go wrong with one of Anna's home style soups, including avgolemono, the classic Greek chicken, egg and lemon soup, Yankee bean or chicken noodle. Plaka's salads are big enough to be a meal themselves, or two can share a bounty of greens with cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, feta cheese and olives ($7).
Fresh fish and seafood are highlights of Greek cuisine. Examine the fresh catches of the day and choose your favorite from porgy, red snapper or sea bass that can be filleted for you, tiny smelts fried crisp or shrimp prepared in a number of ways. After a trip to the sizzling hot grill and a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, your choice will be presented for a picture perfect meal. Entrees are served with your choice of seasoned rice, Plaka's delicious lemon potatoes or horta, garden fresh, sautéed dandelion greens. Plump shrimp can be skewered and grilled or served over linguine in a marechiara sauce.
A half grilled chicken with baby back ribs served hot off the grill with a tangy sauce is a popular dish that will satisfy a big appetite. Thick pork chops, baby lamb chops, medallions of filet mignon and rib-eye steak, all cooked to order on the grill, are reasonably priced. House-made desserts include melt-in-your-mouth baklava dripping with honey and nuts, fresh yogurt with honey and nuts or tartufo ice cream.
Plaka has a nice lunch menu featuring some of their great appetizers, souvlaki sandwiches and platters, fish and pasta. They will deliver large orders to offices and workplaces, or you can pick up the food yourself.
Plaka is conveniently located in the Jackson Heights Shopping Center at 31st Avenue and 75th Street. There is plenty of free parking and orders can be placed for pick up. After running errands in the shopping center, visit Plaka for an uplifting meal at lunch or dinnertime. You'll love the sunny interior and delicious Greek food, available to take home if you prefer. Yasou!