Aegean Cove exudes warmth and hospitality while providing an elegant, sophisticated Greek dining experience. The warm, sumptuous dining room has rustic stone walls, wood floors and a warming fireplace. The walls are bathed in rich earth tones and the dining room’s stately wood tables are
owner, Kosta Blafas, and general manager, Thomas Kazakos, run a very tight ship and insist on the best of everything for the guests. Indeed the quality of the food, the wines and the service are equally matched for their excellence. The open kitchen, visible through sparkling clean glass, is a testament to Chef Christos Christou’s commitment to quality. Thomas showed us the large, well-appointed dining room upstairs, which is available for private parties of up to 60 people. We can’t wait to go back in warmer weather when the spacious outdoor patio beckons you to dine al fresco and watch the setting sun and the stars.
Aegean Cove takes great pride in its selection of fine wines from Greece, Italy, France and California, available by the glass or bottle. Thomas will happily recommend an appropriate vintage, paired for your meal. The bar at the front of the restaurant mixes your favorite cocktails and stocks imported beers. Our waiter Edwin attended to our every need and no one is ever rushed through a meal here. In fact, allow yourself plenty of time to savor the exquisite cuisine. What’s more, the prices are reasonable and within reach, especially given the quality and superior service.
We started with a variety of appetizers or “meze” in addition to the house made hummus brought to the table. Warm, grilled octopus is impossibly tender, cut into bitesized chunks and topped with capers, red peppers, red onion and red wine vinaigrette ($14). You must try the seafood croquettes prepared with fresh, flaky cod and shrimp, delicately breaded and fried into individual croquettes. They’re beautifully presented with diced beets and skordalia, a creamy garlic dip that complements the fish nicely. Loukaniko are handmade country sausage seasoned with a special blend of spices, then grilled to juicy perfection and served with tender black-eyed peas ($10). A peasant dish of gigandes are giant lima beans slowly cooked in fresh tomato sauce and dill, rendering the beans buttery and delicious ($8). The house crab cake is fabulous, replete with sweet crabmeat and herbs, served on a bed of gigandes salad and mustard aioli. Jumbo shrimp, simply grilled, get a splash of flavor from the special saffron lemon sauce that is drizzled on during the grilling. A delicacy of calves’ liver, sautéed with white wine and dill, provides a savory start to your meal. Aegean Cove purchases only the reddest, juiciest tomatoes to create the traditional Greek salad tossed with cucumbers, onion, green peppers and generous chunks of creamy feta cheese. The special appetizer of the evening was a decadent platter of fresh lobster salad, full of chunks of sweet lobster meat tossed with fennel, endive and radicchio in a light lemon and olive oil dressing….wow!
Aegean Cove offers the finest in meats, fresh fish and Greek specialties, so there’s something for everyone. One of my dining companions and I shared a whole red snapper, grilled over charcoal with a drizzle of lemon and extra virgin olive oil. This moist, flaky fish was expertly filleted table-side and served with additional lemon sauce and dandelion greens called “horta”. It was so fresh, it simply melted on the tongue. Other whole fish include Mediterranean dorado and sea bass, porgy and other catches of the day. Shrimp Santorini is a house specialty, made with plump, jumbo shrimp sautéed with garlic, onion, tomato, feta cheese and orzo pasta. You’ll want to soak up all the zesty juices with a crust of fresh bread.
My other guest savored an order of “paidakia”, tender baby lamb chops, cooked to order and served with the chef’s famous lemon potatoes. Colorado lamb chops are a larger cut, but just as tender, juicy and flavorful. One of their best selling entrées is “brizola”, a 22-ounce, aged rib-eye steak (bone in) that is cooked to order and guaranteed to satisfy the steak lover in you.
Since Aegean Cove specializes in Greek cuisine, you ought to take advantage of centuries old recipes prepared with a modern twist. Bifteki are handmade Greek beef patties seasoned with herbs, cheese and a touch of mint. “Soutzoukakia” are tender meatballs seasoned with fresh Greek herbs in a light tomato and leek sauce that is spooned over fluffy rice. A hearty dish called “youvetsi” or braised lamb shanks, is stewed for hours with tomato, herbs and a touch of cinnamon ($22). Even mousaka and pastitsio will surprise you with their modern touches on classic dishes.
Though you’ll feel as stuffed as dolmades (theirs are delicious too!), you’ll want to save room for dessert. House made chocolate baklava is flaky and tender, while rich walnut cake is sweetened with honey, making it very moist. We were presented with a special treat called “loukomades”. These tender, fried balls of dough are golden crisp and drizzled with honey. Be warned, they are deliciously addictive. A simple dollop of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and nuts is ambrosia for the gods. A glass of chilled dessert wine from the island of Samos and a rich cup of coffee or espresso put the final touches on this truly memorable meal.
Aegean Cove is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner from noon until 10pm on weeknights and until 11pm on weekends. The private dining room and expert staff make this an ideal venue for your next shower, birthday, anniversary party or any occasion that you want to make special. Don’t forget, the gorgeous terrace awaits you. For superior Greek cuisine prepared with the finest ingredients, fabulous wines, excellent service and gracious hosts, a visit to Aegean Cove is a “must”. Credit cards are accepted and parking is a snap.
20-01 Steinway Street • Astoria