Brunch Report - AGORA TAVERNA

>> Monday, December 10, 2012

Brunch Report
70-09 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 793-7900

If any restaurant in Forest Hills looks like it should serve brunch, Agora Taverna is it. Bright white walls and tons of windows allow sunlight to pour in, a necessity for a decent brunch. So it's with a sigh that I wasn't impressed with my brunch here this past Sunday.

This past Sunday around one-ish, Elbie and I showed up and, despite being rather crowded, there was no wait for a table. We sat by the window - great for people-watching - and a plate of warm mini-blueberry muffins appeared in front of us. It was a nice start and we enjoyed them as we sipped our coffees while deciding what we wanted. Agora Taverna's brunch comes with a coffee (or tea) and a brunch cocktail (or juice) as part if its $14 fixed price.

The brunch menu is a fairly standard one (which I like): steak and eggs, french toast, crepes, omelets, mimosas... Elbie ordered the Classic Benedict, an eggs Benedict: poached eggs on an English muffin with Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce. She was offered an option of sides: a small side salad, home fries, or lemon potatoes. She chose the lemon potatoes. I ordered the French Toast. Agora uses "healthy" seven-grain bread and tops it with strawberries and blueberries and vanilla honey.

Neither of our extremely typical brunch choices were bad. But both are in serious need of improvement. The eggs Benedict, for starters, didn't come with Canadian bacon, just slices of ham. Not a huge deal, but still. And it was literally swimming in Hollandaise sauce. Swimming in it like soup. On the plus side, the Hollandaise sauce was good and not super tart as though made by a chef who went berserk with the lemon juice. But, speaking of lemon, the lemon potatoes are a little much. Though when I say a little much, I mean you get what looks like two whole boiled potatoes. At least make the pieces smaller. Next time, the salad.

The French toast was made fine but I'll never understand why anyone thinks that using seven-grain bread is healthy after dumping sugar and syrup over it. Agora should shitcan the healthy crap and go straight for taste. Lose the seven-grain and choose challah. But truth is, the real issue wasn't their bread choice. It was the vanilla honey. Apparently, vanilla honey tastes identical to fake-o Log Cabin maple-flavored pancake topping. Unless, and I know that this can't be the case, they actually just gave me fake maple syrup instead. But no. Probably the honey went bad. Yup. That's gotta be it.

On the whole, the experience was a pleasant one. Our waitress was super nice and the setting is spot-on. The coffee was good and I liked my Bellini. The food could have been perfect if only they didn't turn turn eggs benedict into a hollandaise stew, didn't use whole grain bread, and - and this is important - kept the menu descriptions accurate. It's sort of a let down when you're hoping for one thing and get Log Cabin.


Susan December 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM  

I went to Agora Taverna the first week it opened and left feeling extremely hopeful that we had something 'special' here in Forest Hills. I greatly enjoyed that first dinner, and it would be my last acceptable meal at Agora.

I know that people in the neighborhood rave over this place, so perhaps it's just bad luck on my part. However, subsequent meals have resulted in items not being presented as described on the menu, overly salted sides that are so salty they're inedible, poor service, and I really hate to bring this one up .... but my last trip for Brunch resulted in my friends omelet coming with a hair in it, and when they brought her a new one, it was the wrong omelet.

Until Jack & Nellie's starts their brunch service (which Cyril claims is coming soon!), I'll stick to making my own eggs.

Jon Parker December 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM  

Yelpers also weren't impressed. It appears to be a universal opinion. And yet Agora was pretty full.

Susan December 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM  

Forest Hills seems happy to settle for mediocre. We deserve better!

Anonymous,  January 6, 2013 at 8:55 PM  

Why a nice place can't serve real maple syrup with french toast is beyond me. I specifically won't patronize a restaurant that serves Aunti J or Log Cabin.

Anonymous,  May 6, 2013 at 7:31 PM  

We are a Greek couple in the neighborhood. We too were very hopeful when Agora opened but have been disappointed each of the three times we've eaten there. Nothing special at all, and, at times, not very authentic either.

So, we'll continue to make the short drive to Astoria when we need our fix. Nick's Bistro up on Metropolitan Ave isn't bad either.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2014 at 10:00 PM  

Ate there tonight and the service and food quality were awful. Now my husband and I have stomach aches and gas. Really disappointed, it has gone down in quality.

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