There is a secret weapon at the new Neptune Diner of Astoria, which is under the longtime leadership of partner and manager Peter Katsihtis, whose friendly smile lights up this sparkling sibling, named Neptune II.
I didn’t immediately recognize the street address on Classon Avenue in Prospect Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood with Park Slope on one side and Crown Heights on the other. It turns out the restaurant was carved out of the former Brooklyn Jewish Hospital where I was born! The name is still there, carved in stone, but the building has been made into condos.
The newly-opened restaurant is handsomely designed in woods and soft blue. The customary diner refrigerated showcase offers multiple desserts. The menu is an abundant one since Neptune II is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the summer, there will be outdoor dining on the large front porch. There are plans to enclose it to allow for more seating.
I visited with my friend Bill Spanakos, who is their attorney. The owner of the Neptune Diner in Astoria joined us, but quickly disappeared into the kitchen to make us some of his specialties. He comes every day at 7 a.m. to prepare and supervise the kitchen staff to create his Greek dishes.
Indeed, owner George Katsihtis is a real Renaissance man whose cooking is famous in Astoria. He even plays the bouzouki!
We began lunch with a huge bowl filled with Greek salad with crispy greens overflowing with tangy Feta cheese, tasty olives and grape leaves. I had to take half home because I wanted to be able to eat what turned out to be the best mousaka I ever ate. It was so good I ordered another portion to take home for my husband.
Venison is in season and this is the place to go for that seasonal dish. Of course, there are innumerable other lunch choices and they will take requests too.
We were tempted to try the desserts but resisted. I did have my eye on the luscious-looking apple pie. But that is a good reason to return.
They do a big takeout business and on weekends they stay open 24 hours. Try it, you’ll love it.