Thymari brings an elegant and profoundly gourmet attitude to its wonderfully Grecian menu. Situated in the heart of Astoria, Queens, this rather large eatery boasts a full menu of Greek favorites for both adventurous and simple eaters.
As I walked in with my friend, we were both casually greeted by a bubbly young woman who proceeded to take our coats and seat us in their modern dining room. The dining space is very cozy and comfortable; they have both bench seating and wooden chairs. The staff goes out of their way to welcome their guests and accommodate recommendation requests throughout the meal.
We started the meal with a glass of wine, both recommended by our lovely waitress who hailed from Athens. I enjoyed a glass of Le Grand (Black Sheep) Pinot Noir from France, which was woody and crisp, while my friend tried a glass of Moscofilero wine called GWC Moscofilero from Mantinia, Greece. Both selections agreed with our pallets, as I was yearning for a rich red and my friend a lighter, fruitier white. Their wine list, and their wine rack, is extremely impressive, offering a large selection of reasonably priced Grecian and local bottles.
We decided to compliment our wine with a medley of small plates also recommended to us by the owners. For the carnivores out there, the Tigania is a great choice. This small plate had lamb offal sautéed with mushrooms, scallions and fresh oregano, served over crusty bread. The lamb was fresh, and the sauce was spectacular.
We also sampled the Chtenia, seared scallops with sea urchin butter with spinach and feta cheese puree. This was a very rich and unique dish due to the sea urchin butter, which I have never had before. It was salty, savory and wonderful. For our last small plate, we enjoyed the Midia dish, mussels in butter wine sauce, garlic, and Greek saffron, which is a classic seafood dish with a dash of Greek influence.
As for our entrees, my friend delighted in an uncommon meat not found in most restaurants – boar. This Agrio Stifado, which means boar stew in Greek, was slow cooked in a tomato sauce with baby onions, cinnamon, nutmeg and served alongside a generous helping of potato and celery root mash. This was a nice twist on the common combination of meat and potatoes, or bangers and mash. The boar was superbly cooked, tender and juicy, and melted in your mouth. The unusual spices also made this dish a standout.
As for my entree, I went for a seafood option, and indulged in the Sinagrida, a red snapper prepared Spetses-style, oven baked with heirloom tomatoes and thyme crust, which was served with horta, blanched dandelions greens with lemon and olive oil, julienned peppers and tomato ouzo sauce. Although it sounds complicated and heavy, this dish was light and extremely healthy! The sauce was similar to an Italian vodka sauce, but without the cream. The large helping of unusual vegetables was definitely an added bonus.
To finish off this Grecian feast, we indulged in yet another recommended dish from our fabulous waitress. This dessert was what I like to call a “baklava cheesecake.” It was, in essence, a crème brulee gone Greek. It consisted of rich yogurt, honey, and panna cotta topped with crushed nuts. It was heavenly.
Photos by Chelsea Herman
Thymari is located at 32-07 34th Avenue, Astoria, Queens; 718-204-2880; www.thymari.com