The New York City Restaurant That Takes You To Greece Without The Flight


With lockdowns lifting around the world, traveling internationally is now looking more like an actual possibility than the mere daydream it was just three months ago.

Greece is among the destinations welcoming American travelers, and I can tell you from my numerous trips there that it’s a country that anyone of any age should definitely visit.

What’s not to love? There are beaches galore and more than enough history to satisfy even the most hardcore culture hordes. And the food: gorgeous grilled fish and ceviches, salads and dips bursting with flavor, refreshing, crisp wines and so much more.

I unfortunately can’t get back to Greece this summer, but I have recently discovered a way to travel to the country- sort of speak- without actually boarding a plane.

Enter Limani NYC, a stunning Greek-Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of Rockefeller Center. I think it’s one of the most beautiful spaces in the city to enjoy a meal. You’ll be transported to the Greek Islands from the minute you walk in the door: the large dining room  is awash in white marble and has high ceilings, white leather seating and a long marble bar. The blue infinity pool in the center is the star attraction and has a fish mobile that creates the illusion of twirling overhead.

Two open kitchens add to the take-me-away vibe, and the fish display with fresh crustaceans on a bed of ice invite diners to come pick their preferred catch.

Limani originally opened in Roslyn, Long Island in 2008 and is one of the hottest restaurants in that area with lines of luxury cars waiting for valet service on a Saturday night. Given the location’s success, the owners decided to venture into the city and debuted at Rockefeller more than six years ago in 2014.

But your usual restaurant opening it wasn’t: the owners wooed executive chef and partner M.J. Alam from the legendary Greek spot Estiatorio Milos, where he worked as the executive for more than 18 years.

“I loved my time at Milos and learned so much, but I had the opportunity to go beyond being a chef and actually own a part of a restaurant,” says Alam. “I had a chance to show off my creativity and dishes.”

Limani NYC was closed for most of the pandemic but recently reopened, which is when I first tried the restaurant and was instantly drawn in by the food and setting.

Alam’s menu specializes in fresh fish and seafood. Of course, there’s the usual whole grilled fish, much of which is flown in from Greece, Portugal and Spain several times a week. Presented split open and drizzled with a lemon olive oil sauce, garnished with capers and parsley, it’s unadulterated seafood at its very best.

But Limani goes beyond the typical high-end Greek restaurant with outstanding dishes such as lavaraki ceviche, which I plan on making a meal out of on hot days. A combination of diced lavaraki, Fresno pepper, cilantro, micro basil, gigante beans, mixed peppercorns, dill pollen, feta cheese and a lime dressing, it’s summer on a plate and simply sings.

Other musts include the calamari that is grilled and filled with feta, manouri and kefalograviera cheeses, the Tunisian Octopus, grilled with virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar and branzino, which is encased in salt, baked and served tableside- will you ever have a softer, more flavorful fish? I think not.

An insider tip: chef Alam and his chefs can transform any fish into sashimi that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Go for the emperor, a variety of snapper from the Mediterranean Sea. Alam presents one side spicy with and the other mild- you have to try it to believe it.

But going beyond seafood, Limani offers healthy salads and organic vegetables, grilled and drizzled with olive oil. And from the land there’s Colorado lamp chops served with cauliflower and broccoli and a 26-ounce bone-in rib eye, dry aged for 30 days.

Desserts are a must too, among them a warm chocolate souffle with honey lavender ice cream and a reconstructed Baklava with layers of phyllo, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and pistachio cream, drizzled in honey syrup. The health-conscious can opt for the seasonal fruit plate which is loaded with tasty fruits that change depending on the time of year. Summer means berries and sweet melons while fall sees figs and grapes.

Oenophiles will love the extensive selections of Greek and wines from all over the world while cocktail fans can imbibe on creative options like the fig cosmo with fig vodka triple, sec, cranberry juice and lime or the refreshing cucumber basil smash with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, basil and cucumber.

The real world beckons at the end of your meal, but for a few brief hours at least, Limani transports you to Greece for a memorable trip that- fortunately- is far easier to take than booking a flight all the way there.



Source link

Add Comment

close