new york is in for a real treat with cleveland's iron chef micheal symon behind the helm at PAREA, a new modern greek restaurant. its on 20th street next door to GRAMERCY TAVERN. it opens to the public next week 5/4/06.
heres the setup: my spouse works around the corner from PAREA. we saw activity there and thought they may be open so we stopped in. chef symon asked us to stay and join in the fun of the first friends & family nite. wow. its a clean & lovely space. casual up front, from a lounge area to a standing area to the bar area from which you can watch the kitchen in action. there is more typical seating in back. all-in-all a superb layout. from the looks of the early menu a very reasonable range of prices too. so we sat in front of the app prep area and let the staff practice away on us. what a surprising priviledge -- thanks chef!
we were treated to a variety of hot & cold small dishes, wine and dessert.
we had the following cold mezethes apps:
roasted eggplant: grilled bread, garlic & olive oil
scallop spinaialo: raw/ceviche scallop, dill, pickled onion, spicy yogurt (from a 100+yr strain in astoria)
tuna spinialo: raw/ceviche tuna, olives, almond & meyer lemon.
hot mezthehes apps:
zucchini keftedes: scallion, feta & lemon
crispy lamb brain salad: dandelion, mustard & potatos.
big board for two of salumi: 5 meats+saganaki w/ walnuts & chutney+tomato puree+olive mix. the meats were very thinly cut salamis, prosciutto & lamb, all house cured.
three dessert tray:
a greek pastry w/ yogurt/lemon sorbet
a blood orange tart w/ choc ice cream &
a walnut/hazlenut cake w/ similiar ice cream.
my favs were...well, everything!!! ok prob the salumi tray, lamb brain dish, def the zucchini dish & the tuna&scallop ceviche dishes. for dessert i'd say the yogurt sorbet was the winner. sorry i dont recall the wine -- it was a cool, sharp & perfect greek white.
if you are familiar with LOLA/LOLITA in cleveland this is our star chef in full-on greek mode. really, it's stunningly superb. look for the menu online soon. thx again to mike for the hospitality.