Parea and Pylos

2006_05_pareathumbLove Greek food.  The flavors, the simplicity.  We hit up 2 Greek restaurants this weekend.  One new and one an old favorite. 

Parea is the latest restaurant in the Flatiron District.  They are housed right next to Grammercy Tavern.  That space has never had a successful restaurant but hopefully this one is it.

I was surprised that it wasn’t more crowded this past Friday night.  They have done a really nice job with the decor.  The ceiling is made of wrought iron branches.  It really creates a warm feeling.  The best part is the long long communal bars.  The actual bar goes on forever.  In the middle of the restaurant is another long bar with stools on both sides.  There is a bunch of small sitting areas when you enter Parea too.  It can be intimate but also good for a large groups.

We just had a bunch of appetizers with our friends.  We split everything.  Large shrimps in a spicy tomato sauce.  Deep fried goat cheese dumplings crispy and divine.  Pork fried extra crispy served over a mixture of veggies.  I am sure I haven’t remembered them all perfectly but they were delicious.  The cured meat platter was really good and a nice presentation.  Large platter with each different meat separated so you knew exactly what you were eating.  We felt we needed a cheese to go with that.  They immediately brought over a deep fried feta that had been pounded flat with rounds of bread. 

The men really wanted to order main courses but we were en route to another event.  So, now I have a reason to go back. 

Sunday night we went to Pylos for Mother’s Day.  Pylos is always good.  A little more on the rustic side of Greek cooking vs. the more modern version at Parea.  A large plate of cut up warm pita breads served with a thick bean dip.  Good.  We split a bunch of appetizers.  There grilled octopus is always a winner.  Perfectly grilled and served in a plate that is coated in a rich reduced balsamic vinegar.  Greek salad is a must.  Large triangular pieces of feta cut up and layered over large wedges of tomatoes and slices of cucumber with a classic Greek vinegarette with oregano.  We also went for the meatballs.  This I could have done without.  More like 4 small lamb burgers mixed with mint.  None of us really cared for it.

Dinner next.  Scallops and shrimp perfectly cooked in a light ouzo tomato sauce over Greek noodles.  Excellent.  The noodles were really delicious.  The whole grilled fish is always a winner.  Filletted whole sea bass (different every night) served with a bit of olive oil and herbs.  Lamb is the key to any Greek restaurant.  Braised lamb shank served with a spicy red sauce over Greek noodles.  Very good.  Dessert was inhaled by the crew.  4 triangular phyllo baked goodies stuffed with a rich custard.  My favorite Greek dessert.  We also had a chocolate mousse in a parfait glass with whipped cream on top.  Rich chocolate.  I barely got in a bite.

Pylos is such a winner.  The warm lighting.  Earthenware pots hanging off and over the entire ceiling.  Cozy pillows across the banquettes which make it so incredibly comfy. 

Both winners downtown.  Will write on Parea again when we return for the main courses.