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Deb Van D | Jun 7, 200606:56 PM    

We were happy to try Parea (30 E 20th St) for the first time this weekend past and look forward to paying another visit. It was our second ‘small plates’ excursion in two days and it was a pleasant antidote to an appalling experience in a far-flung borough only the night before.

The space is smart, airy and comfortable, really a pretty room, and the service was warm and helpful. We were there on the early side of the evening and seated at the front of the room, so we weren’t troubled by an unpleasant noise-level.

We shared three mezethes to start. The plates are quite small, but at $7 per/ you feel like you can add in without toppling the budget. We very much enjoyed the Greek sausage kalamaki with orange peel, lemon yogurt and chilies, the crispy goat dumplings with manouri, mint and chilies, and the pickled octopus with black eyed peas and tomato (well, him not so much the octopus, but I really loved it to death). The sausages delivered a really gratifying smack of heat.

Rather than going for entrees this time out, we rounded off our meal with their most excellent selection of house cured meats with feta, olives and picked vegetables. It was so fine, the venison a stand out and the lamb really good, with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and saffron over all.

Our waiter helped us choose a bottle of red at a reasonable price. We liked it very much, but, as happens when I drink wine, I cannot remember what it was for the life of me. It strikes me that this would be a nice date restaurant and a likely spot, too, for pleasant solo dining.

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