On a recent trip to NYC, I knew I had to hit up Avli, one of my favorite Greek restaurants in the Big Apple - based in Bayside, Queens. When I think of authentic, delicious Greek cuisine, I think of a place that produces the best tzatziki - and Avli has that in spades. It's amazing to me that Bell Blvd. used to be home to a single Uno's and a pizzeria, but now has an eclectic mix of dining options, including Avli.
Once you step on in, you immediately smell the pita on the grill ...
... and the spits of meat, basting in their own juices.
Croquettes of ground chick peas and spices served with Tahini sauce
The strength of a Mediterranean restaurant can be judged by their falafel. While these were a bit dense, these croquettes were nicely crisp on the outside and quite fragrant. The accompanying tahini was a bit watery for my taste, but had good sesame flavor.
Pork Doner Wrap ($5.95)
Marinated pork, vertically roasted
But honestly, back when I was in NY, this is the bad boy (girl?) that had me consistently coming back. Even though I've fallen in love with Philly cuisine, the crispy, succulent nuggets of pork still call to me now. Shaved off of the pit, the pork is plentiful in this well-priced wrap. The tzatziki is from another world - creamy and delicious, it melds well with the bite from the onions. The pita is grilled, which adds a smokiness to the wrap. Simply delicious. I would gladly pay twice as much for this coma-inducing sandwich.
So if you're ever in Bayside, Queens by Bell Boulevard, be sure to stop by this little Greek tavern. They have a bevy of dishes that will titillate your taste buds and provide you with the perfect excuse to have an afternoon siesta. Wrong culture I know ... but so apropos.