Having had our fill of chicken schnitzel, koblihys, and full-bodied Pilsner at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, we hit the streets of Astoria in search of another local delicacy – the loukoumas (plural = loukoumades). Loukoumades are sweet, ball-shaped fritters made from yeast dough and dipped in warm honey. They are considered the Greek equivalent of a donut.
Loukoumades recently gained recognition (and a hefty helping of indie-cred) after a New York Times piece followed Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger of Brooklyn duo The Fiery Furnaces to Telly’s Tavern in Astoria, where they dined on loukoumades. After leaving the Beer Garden, Blognut heads over to Telly’s to see what all the fuss is about. Now comes the bad news - the hostess informs us that they don’t serve our desired dish on Saturdays. Not willing to except rejection, we make our way down the street to Lefkos Pyrgos, who thankfully are ready to meet our donut-needs.
We order a plate of loukoumades ($5) and 2 black coffees. They arrive swimming in a shallow pool of glistening honey resembling a school of drowning Muchkins. Compared with the Czech donuts we had earlier in the day, these were packed with flavor and loaded with sweetness – a perfect blend of cinnamon and honey goodness not so dissimilar from the Mexican variation on the fried dough and honey combo, the sopapilla. But be careful, their bite-size stature makes it easy to overindulge – Blognut was left feeling rather defeated.
With the exception of being slightly over ambitious with our honey application (which, at times, led to nearly unbearable sweetness), this was our favorite international donut-experience to date.
As an aside - apparently there is a derogatory Greek expression based on the loukoumas used to imply that someone is stupid. Eisai megalos loukoumas! literally translates as “You are a big donut!”
Donut Score - 9.5