Simply Cooked Seafood Turns Luxurious at Taverna Kos

“An important omission on the menu at Taverna Kos in Astoria, Queens, is the enormous plate of feta you may see passing your table en route to a smarter party of people. Heaps of the imported cheese, which the restaurant buys in 28-pound containers, come flecked with dried oregano and slicked with olive oil, and act as a soft, creamy condiment for fried or broiled seafood, or dainty lamb chops.

The off-menu cheese course, which anyone can ask for, will remind you that feta can be just as slouchy as any washed-rind French cheese, as long as you buy the right stuff and put it on something hot. You could also just order a plate of feta fries, in which the crumbles melt into the soft, fresh-cut potatoes like a tangy, higher-quality Cheez Whiz.

Taverna Kos has been open to members of the Pancoan Society, a private club with which it shares a building, for 11 years; in 2016 the restaurant opened its doors to the public, and last summer began serving on weekends. There’s a lightly celebratory air about the place: String lights abound, tangled into the trees outside and lining the ceiling of the enclosed patio, where televisions play a constant stream of poppy Greek music videos.”

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NYC’s Balkan restaurants share culture, traditions with classic dishes

Djerdan Burek, a restaurant that was started over

“Most cultures have some kind of crispy, melty combination of bread and cheese: for Italy, it’s pizza; for the United Kingdom, it’s the toastie; for Brazil, it’s pao de queijo. And for the lesser-known “Balkans,” it’s the burek. Reminiscent of Greek spanakopita, burek is a flaky, layered phyllo dough pie that can be filled with the likes of cheese, beef, spinach, potato or apple. (…) Djerdan Burek, with locations in Astoria, Brooklyn and a factory in New Jersey, was started more than 20 years ago by Esma and Hamo Medunjanin, refugees from Bosnia. It was a true mom-and-pop shop then, according to daughter Selma Medunjanin-Ismajli, who took over the business with her two siblings when their parents retired.”

Back in the late 1990s her mother was making burek pies at home in their one-bedroom apartment and selling them to a local Balkan restaurant, and her father saw an opportunity. They rented a building on 34th St. and 31st Ave. in Astoria — where the restaurant is still located — and her mother worked the kitchen while her father worked the floor.”

“At this time many Bosnian refugees had settled in Astoria and not much was available to them,” Medunjanin-Ismajli explained. “We were one of the first Balkan restaurants to start up in the area. It was a very simple mom-and-pop restaurant with homemade food and friendly familiar service. To this day we try to operate and maintain the same principles and service.”

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The best Venezuelan restaurants in New York City

Arepas Cafe

Located at 3307 36th Ave. in Astoria, it is the highest rated Venezuelan restaurant in New York City, boasting four stars out of 817 reviews on Yelp. Yelpers recommend the empanadas, the patacon con camarones and the plantains, as well as the sangria.

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