I've returned to two of our neighborhood's new restaurants in the past several days to see how they are faring a few weeks after they opened:
- Agora Taverna: I ate here over the weekend, actually for the third time. This time I ordered the Greek Salad, the Branzini (grilled, whole fish) with a side order of lemon potatoes and a Greek coffee for dessert. This is the second time I have had the Greek Salad and the Branzini and really liked them once again. So I can report Agora is consistent when it comes to quality - both times these were excellent. The small Greek salad I ordered was actually large enough to have for a main course if I had ordered a little something else to go with it. All the ingredients are very fresh and there is a great blend of different flavors. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I absolutely loved the lemon potatoes as a side dish. The other sides I have had at Agora - the rice and the Greek fries - were ok, but nothing to write home about. I really didn't think I had the appetite to eat the lemon potatoes but they were so good I ended up cleaning the plate. The Greek coffee, like the last time, was very good as well. The only issue I saw at Agora is that they have a tendency to rush the food a little bit. I ordered the Filet Mignon kabob last time and I had to return it to the kitchen to get it a little more well done. When it came back it was really good. My friend last night ordered the grilled salmon and when it first came out, the middle was pretty rare! When it came back again, he really enjoyed it. But come on guys, even I can cook a salmon! Agora, if you are reading this: I know you just opened and judging by the crowds, you have a lot of people waiting to try you out, but take things a little more slowly and make sure the dishes are cooked to order.
Revisit Grade: A
-Marianella's Taqueria: As I reported last week, this place was actually worse the second time I tried it. Not only did I notice at the counter crusty, old guacamole that apparently hadn't been touched or refreshed in hours, but the lettuce was also still looking old and brown, just like last time. They've had a few weeks to get the freshness issues right, but no progress on that front unfortunately. (By the way, why do they cover your plate with lettuce when you order tacos there? Sometimes restaurants do strange things. This is one of them. Did the manager instruct the workers: 'Oh, and when you give them their tacos, make sure you cover the plate in lettuce!' Uhhh, why?? Give me a salad, sure I might eat it. But a plate filled of dry, bland lettuce? Am I a cow? Am I supposed to graze on this?) The grilled chicken burrito I had this time actually had little if any flavor, and I even found a small bone in it to boot. Unfortunately, It seems I have set my last foot in Marianella's Taqueria. This is one of the bigger disappointments here in Forest Hills in a looong time. Because ever since Green Cactus closed up shop a few years ago on Restaurant Row (70th Road), I have really missed good Mexican takeout food here in Forest Hills!
Revisit Grade: D