We were travelling from central PA to JFK in early Nov and got some great input from folks here on CH. As an ole Jersey gal (and old Jersey gal - both work!), I was looking for a good diner, but instead, decided to splurge and start our trip off with something more upscale, since we'd be facing airline food for our dinner.
Anyway, after searching around, I found Nisi Estiatorio in Englewood, NJ, which is right on the way for us, easy off Rt 80 right before the George Washington bridge. They serve a Restaurant Week pre fixe lunch for $17. It was so good, we also stopped there for lunch on our way home 2 weeks later, even though we drove a different way back because the traffic we saw going over the bridge toward NJ was horrendous when we were heading to the airport. We went back over the Verrazano but with our GPS had no trouble finding Nisi again.
First of all, they have a valet service to park your car. Just pull in right next to the restaurant, and go in. Give the valet a tip when you leave and it couldn't be more convenient.
With the pre fixe menu, you have a choice of appetizers (ouzo cured smoked salmon, Greek salad, or lentil soup), My husband tried the salmon once and the Greek salad the second visit, and I had the lentil soup on both visits. All were very good. I am a soup nut, and I especially love lentil soup. I have to say though, that I am quite fussy about my soups. Frequently, restaurants will puree a lentil soup, and I don't particulary care for that. I like to see and taste the lentils. This soup was perfect, with a nice combination of lentils and a very small dice of vegetables. The taste was lovely.
When you think of a Greek restaurant, of course, you think of fish. For entrees, DH and I both had the fish. I can't remember the Greek name of it, but it is called branzino in Italian, Mediterranean seabass. The way they cook it at Nisi is just sublime. How do they char the skin so nice and crisp and still have the flesh cooked just right? Are you supposed to eat the skin? I don't know, but you can hardly not eat it because it tastes so good. The fish is served with a lemon, parsley, olive oil reduction that is lip smacking good. Along with the fish, there is a delicious swiss chard/spinach dish.
There are 2 other choices for entree, which I didn't pay too much attention to because I knew we both wanted the fish. I think one was a Greek pasta dish and the other was a chicken dish.
For dessert, DH and I each ordered something different so we could share. He ordered the yogurt with blueberry topping and I ordered the walnut cake soaked in honey. The cake is served with a candied orange peel on top. The honey soak makes the cake kinda fall apart when you cut it to share, but it is not overly sweet. The orange peels are divine. We both loved the cake, it was a great ending to the meal, and having the yogurt to eat with it made it especially nice.
We just love this restaurant and if I lived closer, we'd be there all the time. We live about 4 hrs away, so this will be a special occasion stop for us when we are back visiting relatives or heading back to JFK to fly out. If you live in the area, do give it a try!
90 Grand Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631