If you didn't know it before, you know it now- I am Portuguese. First generation born in the US. I grew up in NJ in a very very very Portuguese neighborhood where the food shopping and eating out was very authentic. For 25 years i took for granted all the fresh and delicious homemade offerings at my fingertips! Moving to NY, even though it is only an hour away- left me craving mom's cuisine. Yes there are tons of Brazilian restaurants around but as good as they are, that's not the real deal. Well my friends, that's all changed now. Arcos (33-05 Broadway) has opened! There had been some chatter of a new place opening and that ...it would be a Portuguese restaurant. After stopping over there to verify this, I saw it with my own eyes! That was 2 weeks ago. This past Sunday April 1, they opened for business. Last night on my way home i decided to stop in and check it out. Chef/Owner Joe came out of the kitchen to talk shop a little. Oh how happy was I to be able to talk food in Portuguese! Half the time I don't know what the English translation of most of the dishes are anyway, so it was a lot easier to gush about them all in the original language.
I don't have a whole lot to say yet, i plan on really scrutinizing the menu and tasting more then any girl watching her figure should, but i couldn't leave without getting one of my favorite dishes to go- Carne de Porco a Alentejana. It's little pork cubes and potatoes and clams (and sometimes shrimp and chorico too) in a zesty/garlicky brown sauce served with rice and a squeeze of lemon. It was quite tasty indeed, but since i had a very specific quality in mind, i don't think it quite hit the 5 star mark i was hoping for. It should have come with some bread and a wedge of lemon for sure, you can't eat Portuguese without bread! And the side of mashed potatoes-although good, were redundant with the lightly fried potatoes in the dish proper. I loved the rice! oh how i loved it. It was perfect!!! The clams were yumm too (if a bit large). Lastly, the pork pieces tasted great but i think they should have been smaller. All the parts of the dish should be uniformly about 1 inch square (imo). All in all, for $11 it was a great dinner. More then enough to share too. Not enough for 2 meals, but definitely a good shareable dish.
They don't offer delivery yet, but you can call ahead for carry out. I had a menu but darn it if i didn't forget it there! It was much smaller then the huge selection for dining in, but it had a wide variety of offerings for sure. Liquor- not yet, another new place that has to wait forever and a day for their license! Good news is that most Portuguese wines fall way under the $10 mark for decent dinner pairings and more and more local stores are carrying them. Bring a couple!
So yeah, i am extremely happy about Arcos in Astoria. Already planning a big party with my closest 20 friends to really test out their menu. If you've never had Portuguese, please go and enjoy. Some of it may not be pretty (we've been known to leave a head on once or twice) but you can be sure that its made with love and will warm your heart.