Astoria is home to a large population of Greeks, so there are myriad Greek restaurants; when we moved to Astoria, my dad told Kiyo and me that we had to eat Greek food at a place called Uncle George’s, so one night we went. First of all, we were there very early, around 6 P.M. because we were still moving in and had forgotten to eat lunch. We felt like two old people trying to catch the early bird special. There were only one or two other tables seated while we ate, so you’d think we would get a lot of attention from our waiter… that was not the case.
The bread (which was soft, warm and delicious) came out quickly, but no bread plates ever came. I ended up pouring vinegar and pepper right onto the bread in my hand. I ordered a Greek salad with chicken, and when the waiter gruffly asked if I wanted feta cheese, I of course said yes… doesn’t feta cheese come standard with any Greek salad? Apparently not, because they charged me $7 extra for the cheese, without warning. When the salad came out they’d forgotten to put olives on the plate, and so I ended up paying $18 for some lettuce, raw onion, a few slices of cucumber and tomato, and 6 huge chunks of feta cheese. Maybe $18 for a boring salad is standard in NYC, but I expect a better deal out here in Astoria. At least they didn’t skimp out on the chicken, and the dressing was nice and light, but overall the proportions of the dish were all wrong and we definitely got ripped off. The kicker was when we tried to pay with a charge card and the waiter told us, “Only cash for tips,” so Kiyo had to run half a mile to the nearest ATM to get $20, and back, while I awkwardly sat alone at the table, waiting.
What I find most perplexing is that people love this restaurant! My dad remembered it after years and years of living away from New York, people rave about it online, and as you can see below it has a pretty good rating on UrbanSpoon. Maybe we went on a bad night, maybe they disregarded us as customers because we’re young and people presume we won’t tip well, maybe I ordered the wrong dish, but I will probably not be going back to Uncle George’s until I forgive them for this first meal.
Uncle George’s Greek Tavern
Location: 3319 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106 Phone: (718) 626-0593