[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Frying is something of a specialty at Telly's Taverna in Astoria, from the Greek fried doughnuts that end your meal (on the house) to the thinly sliced fried vegetables that should begin it. Zucchini, red pepper, and eggplant are available for $6 apiece or $14 in combination; the zucchini, rendered intensely sweet and tender by the heat of the fryer, is your best bet.

The batter here functions almost like a thin beer batter—glossy, thin, and crackly more than crunchy or crisp—leaving the zucchini, moistened by some oil that leaks through, the star of the dish. A tangy, garlic-spiked mash of potato skordalia comes on the side, ripe for forming little greasy sandwiches.

Like many Greek restaurants, Telly's goes light on its seasonings, a deliberate choice that lets the diner apply as much or little lemon and salt as they'd like. So don't be shy about doing your own doctoring. The zucchini can take it.

A note on Telly's in general: though the restaurant has a full complement of meat and seafood mains, I find them generally inferior to the dips and hot appetizers, which are cheaply priced and generously portioned. Let them be the focus of your meal; just leave room for those doughnuts.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

Telly's Taverna

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Telly's Taverna

  • Astoria

2813 23rd Avenue at 28th Street Astoria NY 11105 718-728-9056

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