Magazine article The New Yorker

Onera

Magazine article The New Yorker

Onera

Article excerpt

222 W. 79th St. (212-873-0200)--"Onera" is Greek for "dreams," and the chef Michael Psilakis, a first-generation Greek-American who until last year ran an Italian restaurant on Long Island, has created a suitably imaginative compromise between his cultural and culinary heritages. Gone are such familiar standbys as dolmades, hummus, and charcoal-grilled fish. In their place there is a moussaka drizzled with truffle oil and a grilled loin of lamb whose sun-dried-tomato crust momentarily evokes veal pomodoro. Purists may balk at a dish like Manti "Reinvented"--which recasts the dumplings of Central Asia as, basically, chestnut ravioli--but Psilakis's execution is uniformly impressive.

The restaurant, which seats about fifty, is long, narrow, and just below street level; its decor (dark-blue walls, with white panelling and pilasters) has an understated elegance. The menu is large and complex, with, in addition to appetizers and entrees, a selection of raw meze. Scallops with yogurt, cucumber, and pickled fennel and lamb with Kalamata olives, arugula, and fried shallots are particularly good. …

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