Taverna 38: Unique Greek in Long Island
Greek is a comfort food all in itself; with roots in savory meats, creamy sauces and divine cheeses. It’s often difficult to find a dish you won’t like. Here on Long Island, many Greek restaurants exist - sometimes making it hard to truly leave a signature mark upon diners. However, when I stumbled upon Taverna 38, I knew something was different about it. It evoked something… more.
After sliding into a parking spot set directly in front of the restaurant, my eyes peeked into the large glass that separated me from Taverna 38. It was warmly lit with candles that reflected beautifully off it’s white-centric interior. The staff was all smiles as they sat us in a quiet room that faced the very glass I had just peered into prior. The scene was set for a great date night.
Taverna 38 is a gift to the residents of Williston Park who crave a Manhattan-like experience without the overly indulgent price points. I found myself not only intrigued, but impressed with Taverna 38’s menu. Classic Greek dishes were refined and lightly jazzed, which made for a memorable food experience. After choosing several dishes, staff members guided us through some of their favorite red & white Greek wines that are carried in house.
We began the meal with Pikilia, a sampling of their tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, garlic), melitzanosalata (roasted eggplant, feta, garlic) and hummus. I suggest you do the same as each represented the traditional greek dips excellently.
Following this was a Crabmeat Stuffed Avocado Salad, cause you know damn well if I saw that on the menu it was going in my mouth. The salad consisted of arugula, cranberry, pistachio, greek yogurt & balsamic vinaigrette that was adorned with a bacon wrapped avocado stuffed with crabmeat. Worthy of a try for the sheer novelty of its ingredient preparation style.
Next was a Greek Saganaki; a theatrical dish which flambeed (set on fire) sautéed graviera cheese using metaxa brandy & a lemon splash. The Greeks give fried mozzarella a run for its money with this one. Plus, it’s a great way to impress a date and add a lasting impression on your dinner. In addition to this side, we also grabbed a Garides app which perfectly blended together elements such a shrimp, tomato, feta, garlic & white wine.
However, what had me smitten with Taverna 38 was its main dishes. First and foremost their Arni Kleftiko is a lamb lover’s dream come true. Affectionately known as the “lamb purse”, this historical dish features braised leg of lamb baked into a filo “purse” with graviera cheese and vegetables. The result is a flakey pouch stuffed with supremely tender meat. Do not miss it.
Additionally, I wanted to test Taverna 38’s seafood game. Cue the Lavraki; an imported Mediterranean Bronzino cooked simple, in true Greek fashion, with extra virgin olive oil, lemon & salt. The ending result was the idealistic fish dish; great quality, wholesome flavor and gorgeous presentation.
Now, if you’re a pro eater and find yourself still standing for the dessert round, you’ll find some insane choices. Taverna 38’s Baklava is a sweet treat that is obviously made fresh in house. What stole the show though was an Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake which was paired off with creamy ice cream and an intensely brooding berry compote. Now, mind you, at this point of the game my stomach is bursting at the seams, but I was determined to crush this meal and crush it I did.
Hit up Taverna 38 if you’re a lover of Greek food whose interested in seeing the culinary experience play out in more elegant way. It’s a beautiful spot for a date (impressive for a first) and would also work very well as a family dining experience. Either way, it’s worthy of a visit. Promise.