Vegetarian Delights of NYC: Skordalia and Grilled Veggies at Ovelia in Astoria, Queens
Vegetarian and even vegan delights abound among the Greek restaurants of Astoria. One that I stumbled on quite recently was at Ovelia, a Hellenic spot that eschews photos of the Parthenon and little windmill models in favor of seeming like a modern cafe.
One of my vegetarian favorites from the Greek menu is skordalia, a dense whip-up of potatoes, olive oil, lemon juices, and megatons of raw garlic, invariably bringning a burn to the lips without benefit of chiles or black peppercorns. It's a miracle of ancient Greek cuisine, and one can easily imagine Ulysses (oops, I mean Odysseus) scooping up gobbets of it with his rough-hewn loaf of bread. Except, of course, potatoes weren't introduced into Greece until the 19th centuries.*
One of the permutations available at Ovelia, and shown above, is as a dipping sauce for grilled eggplant and summer squash. Nicely decorated with an olive, the mound of skordalia is unspeakably potent, and grilled vegetables (you can also have them fried) turns out to be the perfect foil for this perfect food. 34-01 30th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 718-721-7217
*--Thanks to the readers who provided this piece of info. See comments.