The small storefront at 263 Main Street doesn't begin to tell what's inside. Ayhan's (named after the owner), runs very deep, with a series of rooms with a distinct Mediterranean feel. The buffet table runs on and on along the right wall. It certainly looks like a buffet with 100 items. Neither of my brunch companions could be coerced into taking inventory. So, I'll leave that up to you, especially if you decide to be seated alongside.
Although the buffet area beckons, you are drawn into the rear three dining rooms with sunlight streaming in and vines, the grand daddy of all philodendron, draped over them. Grapevines cover tiled roofs and the white on white Mediterranean walls are hung with colorful prints. It's rather picture perfect for Sunday brunch especially when jeans clad locals and the boat people docked in Manhasset Bay begin filtering in.
I loved the abundance of smoked fish, even a whole whitefish. There's smoked salmon and herring. Of course the Mediterranean hummus (chick pea dip), baba ganoush (eggplant with tahini) and tarama spread, blushing pink with caviar, are at hand with pita or bagels for spreading. The salads are delightful and that includes Mediterranean bean salad and wheat salad, tabouleh. We all loved the broccoli slaw. Don't miss that or Mama's stuffed grape leaves.
The hot dishes include Greek spinach pie and wonderful phyllo-filled variations, chicken dishes, cheeses and beef dishes. There's even kebabs and thinly sliced gyro and falafel.
The dessert display finale is centered around a big bowl of basmati rice pudding, served warm. (Nice!) There's apple strudel, a walnut baklava, galaktobouriko (the custard filled favorite), bird's nest, kadaif (the shredded wheat number) the day we brunched. Best of all, they're miniatures so you can enjoy more than one, guilt free. Coffee is poured.
Some diners opted for pita sandwiches. Meats are grilled on skewers and served in flat pitas bursting with lettuce, tomato and onion tossed in house dressing. (Cold yogurt sauce and onion sauce is on the side.) It's awesome. One diner, a man at that, opened it and attacked it with knife and fork. There's a children's menu, too, that includes a sandwich with steak fries.
I'm looking forward to having dinner at Ayhan's sometime. The ambiance should be romantic. And there's a great selection of seafood served with Greek salad, basmati rice pilaf and baby green peas. Those that started me salivating are: Sesame crusted salmon; swordfish kebabs (an inspiration for the home barbecue); Aegean combo with crab-stuffed sole and feta with spinach; shrimp kebabs; and kebabs every which way--lamb , filet mignon , kofta (minced lamb), veal and seftal (Cyprus style sausage).
If my dining companions are vegetarian, they'll fare well at Ayhan's with a falafel dinner, grilled vegetarian dinner or vegetarian moussaka with béchamel sauce.
For an appetizer, I'll have the cold sampler with a choice of three: eggplant salad, tarama spread, scordalia, fava bean salad and cracked wheat salad. My dessert will be Mediterranean tartufo. (Which ice cream? Which treasure buried in its center? Will it be chocolate coated?)
For a special treat, before dinner I'll stroll through town and view the antique shops. Fine dining. Fine looking.
The Bottom Line
Charming restaurant on charming Port Washington's Main Street. Delightful Greek ambiance. Mediterranean dishes. Sunday Buffet with at least 100 dishes.
Ayhan's Shish Kebab
283 Main Street
Spinach Pie (with feta cheese)...$3.50
Baba ganoush (eggplant with tahini)...$4.75
Donner (Gyro) Dinner (sliced lamb and beef)...$9.95
Iskender (Alexander) Kebab Dinner...(with special sauces)... $10.95
Baby Lamb Chops (served with Greek salad, rice pilaf, green peas, warm pocket pita, cold yogurt-tomato and onion sauce on the side)...$16.95
Baklava (pistachio or walnut)...$3.75
Hours: L & D 7 days. Sunday, 100-dish brunch
Location: In village. N side Main St.
Credit cards: All major, no Discover
Children: Kid's menu
Private parties: To 200
Noise level: Fri & Sat, moderate
Handicap access: Yes
©2003 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.