Written by Anita
February 27, 2010
Winter weather got you down? Then escape to the Mediterranean flavors of Kellari Taverna. With two sister restaurants in NYC, Kellari is really a psaro-taverna (fish taverna), a more upscale version of those found in Greece’s quaint seaside communities. Here, you’ll find a variety of fresh fish and other seafood (sold by the pound) along with tasty Greek mezedes and savory sides.
Start with the plevrakia—tender, slow-roasted lamb riblets topped with fresh sprigs of Taygetos wild oregano. Cheese lovers should dive into the katsikisio—a large dish of creamy goat cheese baked with apricots and almonds and drizzled with Greek honey. Wash it all down with one of Kellari’s Greek wines (we really enjoyed the Boutari Assyrtiko from Santorini).
For entrees, fish is certainly the order of the day. Kellari’s expansive fish display allows you to pick your psari at your leisure (so that’s what a Pompano looks like!) Grilled whole and dressed with Greek extra virgin olive oil, fresh oregano, briny capers, and lemon, fish here exudes freshness and simplicity. We loved the Fagri, a moist lean Greek fish that was sweet and flavorful. Fish come perfectly deboned (do-it-yourselfers can request otherwise) and sides to accompany your selection are ordered separately. We chose the Spanakorizo—tender sautéed spinach greens mixed with Arborio rice. Can’t decide what to order? Then spring for the three-course Aegean Feast, which includes appetizers, seafood, fish, and meat served family style.*
Desserts include Karidopita, a firm, uber-walnut-y cake flanked by fig gelato and sweet fig compote, and Galaktoboureko, vanilla bean semolina custard with a phyllo crust and apple syrup. If you’re lucky, the special dessert will be Ekmek—delicious layers of kadaifi (shredded wheat pastry), sweet cream custard, toasted pistachios, and airy whipped cream.
In addition to dinner, Kellari also serves lunch and a Sunday brunch. K Street power lunchers can try the three-course business lunch for about $25. Sunday brunch features a mix of Greek breakfast items, including Greek Toast (Tsoureki bread, fresh berries, candied walnuts, and honey) and lunch items, including Lavraki (whole, grilled Mediterranean sea bass with wild steamed greens). And mark your calendar now for Kellari’s next Greek night—featuring live music every first Friday. While there, be sure to sample the complimentary olives, sheep’s milk cheese, and homemade Greek cookies available in the bar area. If you join Kellari Taverna’s mailing list, you’ll receive a free bottle of champagne at the restaurant on your birthday, anniversary, or Greek name date. Opa!
*Want to try your hand at Greek cooking at home? Then check out the Kellari Recipe Book Blog, where Kellari corporate chef and partner Gregory Zapantis shares recipes for some of his most popular dishes.