Of Great Neck
North Station Plaza,
Great Neck, 516-466-2004
Hours: Sun. thru Thurs., 11
10 pm; Fri. thru Sat., 11 am to 11 pm
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Credit Cards: Master Card and
From the wines of Athens to the chick peas of
the Middle East, Athenakis, a palatably exotic "snack bar" just east of Queens
in Great Neck, serves up the Mediterranean on a platter.
Just take a look at the appetizers. The
hummus, ground chick peas mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and tahini sauce
($3.95) are traditionally served in Middle Eastern countries. But the scordalia, mashed
potatoes with garlic ($3.95), is a standard Greek dish; the sandwiches ($4.95-7.95)
American; and the pan fried calamari ($7.95 and $11.95), Italian. This a true smorgasbord.
But in spite of its variety, Athenakis is at
heart a Greek restaurant. Greek salads are served mini, small, large, for one, for two,
however you like. Greek specialties, served in warm pitas with onions, tomatoes and a
choice of sauces, include souvlaki or marinated cubes of chicken and veal ($4.50- $5),
lamb and beef gyros ($4.50), and Greek sausage ($4.50). And the same dishes and more can
be had warm with rice pilaf ($8.95 -$11.95).
But beside the Greek Avgolemono soup (1.95 for
a cup) youll find a standard Manhattan clam chowder (also $1.95). Vegetarians will
be pleased by the falafel, meatless Middle Eastern chick pea patties served fried with
pita and salad ($4.50) or with rice ($8.95). And seafood lovers, your choices are as
bottomless as the Mediterranean sea. Filet of flounder, salmon, rainbow trout, scallops,
oysters, and broiled shrimp are served with Greek salad, spinach casserole and pita, for
$10.95 to $14.95.
And should you be more culinarily
conservative, or prefer a lunchtime snack, shrimp, crabmeat, tuna, and fresh turkey salads
are delicious ($6-$7.95). I personally was privy to a perfect turkey burger, served juicy
and flavorful with a side of (you guessed it) Greek salad ($3.95). Athenakis also grills
up hamburgers, frankfurters and grilled cheese, all for under $4.
My guest, a die-hard vegetarian, adored the
falafel special, served with rice pilaf and peas and a side of scordalia. He said the
tahini dressing was perfect, adding just the right amount of garlic to the chick peas. And
we both devoured a bottle of dry Greek wine, served chilled ($12).
Dessert was, in a word, ambrosial. We savored
a delicious baklava, sweetened with cinnamon ($2.95) and tried the Galaktoboureko, an
interestingly sugary dessert. Our enchantment was deepened by little Greek coffees, served
strong and sweet, and the wonderful company of Akis, the owner, and his lovely waitress.
So next time youre shopping in Great
Neck, or in the mood for a creative, yet inexpensive dinner, try Athenakis. If the blue
walls dont send you afloat the Mediterranean, the menu will.