“I haven’t seen you two since the summer!” The hostess (and server) at Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna chided us gently when we arrived on Valentine’s Day a few weeks ago. But she was right, it had been entirely too long.
As someone who spends a lot of time eating and writing about food in Astoria, the question I get asked most often is “what’s your favorite restaurant in the neighborhood?” While I appreciate the curiosity, I usually avoid answering this question directly. After all, one’s favorite restaurant is most times an oddly personal thing, wrapped up with nostalgia, individual quirks, convenience and personal taste.
However, after our first visit back in five or six months, I am ready to call it: my favorite restaurant in Astoria is Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna. I’ve sung the praises of its menu on We Heart Astoria, and I’d put their grilled octopus (a highly effective Greek restaurant litmus test) up against any other neighborhood favorites including the excellent versions of the dish at MP Taverna and Taverna Kyclades.
This time around we ordered one of the specials straight out of the oven: a massive platter of plump orzo swimming in the broth of falling off the bone lamb. Perhaps this doesn’t scream romantic Valentine’s Day dinner to you, but hopefully it supports the idea that one’s favorite restaurant is a wonderfully personal choice.
Beyond the always excellent food, we were excited to discover that sometime back in September, Gregory’s took over the barbershop space next door. While still an eminently cozy restaurant, it is now double the size it was on our many previous visits.
When we arrived in the early evening on Valentine’s Day, the hostess/server was putting the finishing touches on some festive table decorations: a red rose, a small red and white candle, and two Lindt Truffles tucked into an Ouzo glass. For me, personally, I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect.