First stop, Balu Café in Astoria. Balu transforms casual dining with a cute and swanky environment. I immediately fell in love with the white lounge seating, and the waterfall cascading over plasma and electric fireplace only added to the chic ambiance.
From the prefixed Restaurant Week menu, I chose (I was more than pleased with each choice):
-the lobster cake with chipotle aioli and green beans in balsamic vinaigrette-which had a nice crisp shell, and the chipotle aioli gave it an extra punch of flavor
-steak forestiere-grilled hanger with mushroom and burgundy sauce roasted potato cake and asparagus- all I have to say is “succulent.” I even ate the asparagus, which I usually don’t eat.
-and chocolate pudding-which was so rich, and the fresh strawberry was definitely a bonus
I will certainly be back for weekend brunch. I’m already torn between the baked French toast and the chocolate filled pancakes. However, I’m already anticipating the mimosas.
Next stop, Cavo Mediterranean Restaurant.
Talk about step out of your comfort zone. Cavo was my first experience with Mediterranean cuisine (that I can recall). However, after stepping into this beautiful restaurant, we were convinced that our experience could only get better. The high ceiling and multi level layout create a breathtaking but welcoming space, which is graced by the natural light pouring in. With the option of the outdoor garden, Cavo is certainly fit for any special occasion. I cannot forget to mention the friendly hostess, caring owners Tommy (our very own Jason Statham, as Tracey referred to him) and Jessie who greeted our table and checked on us and our lovely waiter Nick, all who contributed to our pleasant time at Cavo. Although we didn’t witness it firsthand, I can only imagine how the live music adds to the ambiance.
I was immediately intrigued by the squid ink linguine. Despite a bit of apprehension, I went for it and enjoyed it. Linguine made black with squid ink served with scallops and capers is certainly something I had never even heard of before but would definitely eat again.
Taking Tommy’s advice, my partner in crime, Abby, ordered the striped bass with pasta and pesto so that we could get a taste of both items we were curious about. Definitely delicious! The fish was slightly crisp on the outside but well flavored and juicy on the inside, and the pesto added its unmistakable flavor to the dish.
Because I can never resist dessert, I went with the molten cake, which wasn’t unlike others I’ve had but yummy nonetheless.
Compliments to the chef!