PHOTO: At O Lavrador in Jamaica, service is always top of the line, and the food is delicious. Photo courtesy of yelp.com
In recent issues of The Forum, we’ve introduced you to Groupon, LivingSocial, and Amazon Local and shared with you some tips on how to search for and take advantage of the best deals offered on those sites. If you’re deal-site shy, starting out small scale by trying a nearby restaurant you’ve never visited might be a good way to test the waters. This week, we thought we’d review a couple of local restaurants currently (and regularly) offering Groupon deals. So, get out of your dining rut and check out these two local restaurants.
Before getting started on any site for the first time, you will need to set up an account either on your smartphone or on your home computer. This is a quick process and only involves entering an address, telephone number, email address, and credit card information. If using your phone, all three deal sites have free downloadable apps that will make the process (and future purchasing) much easier. The next step, to utilize a restaurant voucher, is to make the reservations and mention that you have a Groupon, then bring the voucher with you.
If you’ve never tried Portuguese food, now’s your chance. On 101st Avenue in Jamaica, O Lavrador offers an elegant setting, fantastic service, and free valet parking. Several nights a week there is live music, making it a great “date night” locale, but there are often children there, too, so it remains family friendly and does offer several menu items kids will like. “O Lavrador” means “the farmer,” in Portuguese, and Portugal is sometimes described as a “garden by the sea.” While steak, chicken, and house-made sausage there are all delicious, seafood is certainly the restaurant’s specialty.
The Groupon prix-fixe meal at O Lavrador is $43 for two people, or $85 for four. (Groupon regularly advertises sales of between 15 and 25 percent off, so you can easily pay less than $20 pp for this deal.) The price includes a shared appetizer among each couple, one entrée per person, and a glass of wine or sangria. Everything is good at O Lavrador, but to highlight some of the best things: try the bread in basket – it’s delicious – but save room for what’s next: the grilled calamari appetizer, in which the calamari are first grilled, then topped with a lemony sautéed onion mixture, and the homemade rustic sausage, flambéed right at your table. For entrées, try the grilled prime rib – actually a thinly-cut ribeye – served with mashed potatoes and vegetables, or the Mariscada Zarzuela, a giant pot of lobster, clams, mussels, calamari, and scallops in a tomato sauce, served with rice. If you prefer potatoes over rice, the Parrilhada de Mariscos is a similar seafood blend, in a lemony garlic sauce, served with a plate of house-made chips. Lagosta Fra Diablo, spicy lobster and seafood over linguine (similar to Italian versions of that dish) and the Bacalhau à Pescador, a giant codfish stew, are each two meals’ worth of delicious food. Everything is fresh, substitutions are accommodated, and the waitstaff are always friendly and fast.
Golden Grill, a catering hall with a restaurant add-on in Richmond Hill, is a simple, clean space serving authentic Indian food. Groupon offers a shared appetizer, one entrée per person, a shared dessert, and two sodas for two people at the low-low price of $20 per couple (we paid $16, shopping the sales). Naan (flat Indian bread) and rice are extra. For an appetizer, try the chili chicken, crispy fried chicken with peppers, onions, and broccoli in a spicy chili garlic sauce. The entrées are not huge, but they are delicious. The “Roghan Josh” stew mixture is tasty, with ginger, garlic, onion, and tomato sauce. You can have that with chicken or lamb. Chicken Korma (also available with other meats) is roasted chicken cooked in a cashew nut sauce. If you’ve never had cooked cashews, we strongly recommend this dish, as cooking the nut brings out all of its flavor. There are plenty of good vegetarian options at Golden Grill, too– the best one we tried being Dal Tarka Black, slowly simmered black lentils with ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and Indian spices in a creamy, blended sauce.
Both restaurants are right around the corner, and, by offering such great deals via Groupon, they are practically paying you to try them. So go for it.
Golden Grill, 718-554-0405, is located at 120-23 Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill, open from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and does offer delivery. O Lavrador, 718-526-1526, is open from 11:30 to 10:00 Sunday through Thursday, one hour later on weekends. They are located at 13840 101st Avenue in Jamaica.
By Eugénie Bisulco firstname.lastname@example.org