Restaurant Review

A Gem Of Portuguese Dining
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O Lavrador: 138-40 101 Ave., Richmond Hill, 526-1526

Cuisine: Portuguese, Spanish & American

Open: 7 days

Great preaching followed by great food – what a way to spend a Sunday and that is how I spent this past Sunday. After church we went to the Portuguese restaurant O Lavrador for an early dinner . . . and discovered the magnificence of this gem on the border of Jamaica and Richmond Hill.

Perfectly appointed seating arrangement, linen-covered tables, wooden floors, marble-brick arches, mirrors and even a fireplace in the adjacent "foyer," are among the standouts at the restaurant. Greeted by a soft-spoken maitre d’, we were escorted to a table in the center of the elegant room where we were handed leather-bound menus written in Portuguese with English subtitles and featuring an extensive array of seafood and a comparatively short list of meats and poultry.

Appetizers included shrimp cocktail ($5.95), shrimp in garlic sauce ($6.95), broiled shrimp ($6.95) clams with garlic sauce ($5.95) baked clams with bacon ($6.95) smoked salmon ($7.95), mushrooms in red or white sauce ($5.50) and homemade sausage flambe (serving for two, $12.95). Collard green soup ($2.50) and seafood soup ($3.75) rounded out the list.

The collard green soup is a creamy concoction with chunks of homemade sausage which my husband pronounced "delicious." For a main course he chose paelha marinheira (seafood combination with safron rice, $14.95). He declared it the best he’d had in a long time. I had Bacalhau a marialva (thin slices of cod fish sauteed with onions then mixed into bite-sized pieces of boiled white potato garnished with fresh parsley, black olives (and for those who eat it, slices of hard-boiled eggs). With pepper grounded directly onto it by a staffer, the meal exceeded my high expectations. My children both ordered ladyfingers with pasta which they really enjoyed as well.

For dessert, an assortment of chocolate mousse cake, flan, plain or orange pudding, baked apple, cheese cake ($3.50 each), were displayed on a side table for the temptation factor and the ploy worked. I tried the flan and was hooked from the first delectable taste. Served on a plate squirted with a variety of syrups such as chocolate and cherry, this from-scratch tempter was the proverbial slice of heaven.

With Fleetwood Mac playing ever so softly in the background we enjoyed the wonderful meal and the charming place located on a nondescript street. For those with large parties, there is also a lovely catering hall where Southeast Queens organizations such as United for Progress Democratic Club hold their annual dinner/dances. It is a beautiful place where good food is served with good manners in a classy environment at just the right price.

— Marcia Moxam Comrie

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