Saturday, March 12, 2005


179 Franklin St @ Greenwich Street, 212-941-7661


Cost per person: $120 (!)
"YGWYPF" factor: 4/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 9.5/10
Ambience: 10/10

The first thing I have to say about this place is - this is expensive. So expensive, that the reality of the bill can hit you harder than the freshness of the food.

That said, the ambience and the food is so awesome, I find it unfair to put everything into a "you get what you pay for" - you can never get your money's worth when a dinner for two costs a quarter grand, so I had to put down ratings for food and ambience, just like citysearch :). It's worth a trip every couple of years, to pamper yourself and freshen your tastes, in more ways than one.

How do you begin to describe such an expensive place? I wouldn't know - never been to anything like it before. Thanks to my (ex-) colleagues at Citigroup, my wife and I had a chance to step through the doors I have walked past for years.

Enter, and find yourself transported far away from the noisy Manhattan. I haven't been to Greece, so I can't say for sure if it feels like you are there. What I do know, is that it feels good.

Get seated, and start with appetizers and some wine. We had a Greek white wine the waiter recommended - really nice, around $40. We started off with the Wild Boar Chop Slowly roasted in a mountain tea, thyme honey and retsina marinate, and Maine Diver Scallops Wrapped in kataifi with sheep's milk butter and Kalamata balsamic reduction. Amazing. Those are the ones pictured above. We also got some cod pastries, which were amzing, and were complimentary, along with the bread and olives.

For the main course, we let our spirits run wild, and ordered from the "Fish by the pound" menu - the Mediterranean Lobster, grilled to perfection, and another Greek white fish, broiled to a delicate softness and an amazing flavor. Sorry if I sound like I am running out of superlatives - I am really out of my league trying to describe how good this place is. They were, beyond doubt, the best seafood I've had so far.

Not to sound like I am really complaining or anything - but there's just this one thing that I found not so good in an otherwise perfect experience. The menu for "Fish by the Pound" says the recommended portion size for a person is about 1 lb, so when ordering the items by their names, I expected to be served about that much. Both of our main courses went beyond that - about 50% beyond, in fact - at about 1.5 lbs. Now, I know the food is really good, and that lobsters don't genetically come in exact portion sizes, but considering that shot our bill up by something like $40, I would appreciate if this was conveyed to us before serving more than the recommended size. So, caveat emptor - mention the size/weight you want.

If someone else was paying, then all I would remember is the wonderful ambience and the exceptional food. Fortunately, for us, a major part of the bill was footed by the gift certificate we had, and we ended up paying the average bill for 2 people in any decent dinner restaurant in Manhattan.

As a bottom line, if you have cash lying around, or can otherwise afford something as expensive, go for it - it's definitely money well spent. Don't get discouraged by the poor "what you get..." rating I have put down - but then I have to compare this to the satisfaction I get from a $2 falafel from Mamoun's, which, still, hits the top of the value for money curve.


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