Across The Mediterranean, From Greece to Portugal

Elias’ Corner has, arguably, the best grilled octopus in New York.

If you can’t get away to one of the Greek isles for a casual seaside lunch or supper, the next best thing – and a heck of a lot closer – is Elias’ Corner in Astoria. This chalkboard menu, roll-up-your-sleeves spot extends its summer-time-and-the-living-is-easy vibe well into the fall with partially tented, space-heated outdoor dining. Inside, space is at a premium and the décor is dockside but, hey, all that’s part of the charm. You go for the fish.

Front of the house is a seafood market. Enter and pass the grilling station where you can watch other diners’ meals in process. Our group shared appetizers of whole partially sliced grilled calamari and grilled octopus, served over beds of arugula, grilled scallops, fried cheese and taramasalata. Traditional Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions accompanied. Branzini (lavraki in Greek) and red snapper are cooked whole in the Mediterranean style, escorted by eggplant, zucchini, crispy cottage fries and lemon potatoes. Waiters will remove heads and tails if you ask. Locals – remember we’re in Astoria – rarely do.

The wine selection is limited. Ask for Assyrtiko from Santorini. Yamas!

Elias’ Corner, 2402 31st Ave, Astoria. 718.932.1510. Mon-Fri 4 p.m. to midnight. Sat-Sun, noon to midnight. Cash only. Eliascorner.com
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Paul Miranda, formerly of Bouley and Danube in New York, has moved to Matteo’s Trattoria and Bar (300 W. Jericho Tpke) in Huntington as executive chef. The space has been completely renovated and remodeled. Miranda had been opening chef at Swallow; his previous restaurant, True North, has closed.

Oscar Martinez is the new executive chef at DOMA Land + Sea (490 Chestnut St) in Cedarhurst, a “New American Steakhouse” operated by restaurateur brothers Boris and Edward Safaniev. Previously Martinez was at The BBG in Williston Park, following stops at The Old Homestead, Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse, and Aretsky’s Patroon, all in New York. The space had been a pizzeria.
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Mineola used to be the center for Portuguese cuisine on Long Island. Now, Carle Place offers an alternative.

Pass through the undistinguished front and you’ll find the indoors is quite cozy. Gratis homemade potato chips and bread are at your table waiting. Things start getting Iberian with the sopa de mariscos, the iconic tomato-based seafood soup singing with crab meat, shrimp and scallops. Be seduced by polvo a lagareiro (grilled octopus with roasted peppers, onions, olives oil and garlic), grilled jumbo shrimp with cognac and lemon juice, judiciously steamed mussels in white wine and garlic, bolinhos de bacalhau (fish balls) and stuffed mushrooms with seafood.

All deliver Mediterranean mojo. Jeff said ‘sim’ to grilled branzino, served fully deboned as requested. Vera chose salmon stuffed with shrimp and spinach in green sauce. Both choices delighted. Meat lovers can enjoy the grilled rack of lamb and the Bife a Portugesa, the Iberian steak-and- eggs combo. Seafoodies might try paelha marinheira, Portugal’s take on the neighboring Spanish classic. Enthusiasts of the Portuguese kitchen will want to sample bacalhau a lagareiro, grilled cod fish prepared with peppers in olive oil and garlic.

From the bar we had the house white, a dry Portuguese wine under $25 a bottle. Good wine, excellent value. Saúde! Appetizers from $10.95. Entrees from $19.95.

Lisbon Café, 490 Westbury Ave., Carle Place. 516.280.5015 and 399 Jericho Turnpike, Jericho). Mon- Thurs noon to 10 p.m.; Fri-Sat noon to 11 p.m.; Sun noon to 9 p.m. Lisboncaferestaurant.com