2014-11-05 / Restaurant of the Week

NICK’S BISTRO

On a recent Tuesday evening, the dining room at Nick’s Bistro was positively buzzing with happy diners filling every one of the 16 tables in this popular corner restaurant of Forest Hills. Owners Mario Savvas and Alfred Vitsentzos run this modern, comfortable bistro with great pride, while Jerry, the charming waiter was flying dish after delicious dish through the petite dining room. Nick’s Bistro serves outrageously delicious Greek and American dishes made from fresh ingredients with a lighter, modern touch. Great food, excellent service, and fair prices have made Nick’s Bistro a favorite local spot since it opened five years ago. The relaxing, sleek interior features dark wood floors, a long banquette and tables for an intimate dinner for two or a family meal. They are open for lunch too, six days a week.

Settle in with a cold beer or a cocktail mixed on the spot, such as the Blue Goose martini shaken with vodka, a splash of Curacao and pineapple juice, or a peachy Cosmopolitan. Our bottle of Chianti went well with all of our courses and with it came the house’s famous hummus and tender black-eyed peas to be spread upon triangles of warm pita bread. The new spinach rolls on the menu are made with fresh, verdant spinach and feta cheese, rolled up in a tortilla that’s browned on the outside for a light, crisp starter to share. This is a modern twist on the classic spanakopita, which is also available, made from scratch and served warm and crispy. You must try the crab cakes, full of sweet crabmeat and crispy breading, served with remoulade sauce ($12). Mario comes from three generations of chefs and so the grilled octopus is simply the most tender you’ll have. Mussels with tomato sauce and a touch of feta cheese started as a special but is now on the menu due to popular demand. Keftedes are Cypriot style meatballs, scented with spices and cinnamon, while Gigandes are giant lima beans stewed in tomato. The kids will love chicken fingers or wings, and fried mozzarella sticks, and everyone loves fried calamari.

Main courses run the gamut of great fish and seafood, meat, pasta dishes, and some vegetarian options as well. We started with a shared portion of Nick’s black linguine with shrimp, calamari, mussels and scallops in a tomato sauce with a touch of ouzo…yasoo this was delicious! The strozzapreti pasta (translated as “priest strangler”) is a popular dish according to Alfred. This non-meat pasta dish is topped with Kalamata olives, zucchini, and feta cheese with a light tomato sauce ($16). Add a sprinkling of parmigiano and a glass of Chianti and dinner is done. Delicate lobster ravioli or gnocchi with chunks of tomato, basil, and mozzarella are both dressed in a light pink tomato sauce, thanks to a touch of cream.

Nick’s Bistro does fish and seafood in a big way such as whole, charcoal grilled branzino, tilapia fillet, wild salmon with kale, and fillet of sole prepared with or without crabmeat stuffing. Plump shrimp saganaki is prepared with tomato sauce, herbs and feta cheese for a dish that will transport you to the Greek islands.

Try something light such as a lamb, pork, chicken, seafood, or filet mignon kebab, skewered with peppers and onions. The Colorado lamb chops simply melt in your mouth, and all entrées come with vegetable sauté and your choice of rice or potatoes. Turning to Greek specialties, forget everything you know about moussaka because Nick’s Bistro makes moussaka like nowhere else. Distinct layers of potato and seasoned ground meat rest below sliced zucchini and eggplant under a cloud-like layer of light, fluffy béchamel. Somehow, six different cheeses are incorporated into this dish yet it is so light and very flavorful, and the generous portion provides for lunch the next day when it will taste even better!

Nick’s Bistro is a great place for lunch with its wide variety of hot pressed sandwiches made with grilled chicken, grilled veggies, filet mignon, loukaniko sausage or the Cuban sandwich, made with pork loin, Swiss cheese and pickle. Burgers are made to order, served hot and juicy and are made from the best quality beef, including Kobe beef, or veggie burgers, crab cake, or turkey burgers. Pork or chicken souvlaki or gyros can be piled onto pita bread or ordered as a platter with French fries and salad, and now the newly added falafel makes a great lunch option as well. Order to go to your home or office with free delivery.

For dessert, we were presented with a new twist on an old favorite. A delightfully crunchy, horn-shaped pastry shell was filled with creamy cannoli cream laced with chocolate chips. The combination of creamy and crunchy was tantalizing, as is the New York style cheesecake, chocolate cake and other daily desserts. Order a coffee or after dinner drink to enhance your meal.

Nick’s Bistro does expert catering for your next business or private event. Order lunch or dinner from Nick’s with free delivery on $20 orders. Nick’s Bistro is open six days a week for lunch and dinner. They are closed on Wednesdays, but open the other weekdays from 11:30am to 10:00pm, and from 11:30am to 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday nights. On the weekends, reservations for parties of four or more are recommended. Street parking is easy in this quiet side of Forest Hills. Visit their Web site for menus, photos and more information. With five years under their belt and three generations of chefs in the family, Nick’s Bistro promises a great meal at a fair price, every time you visit.

104-20 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills  718.544-NICK (6425)

www.nicksbistro.com

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