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52nd Street, btwn. 5th & 6th Aves.

TYPE: New Greek
Sleek midtowner
A serious date, business lunch or family gathering
DON’T MISS DISH: Trio of tuna, scallop & yellowtail crudo
DRINK SPECIALTY: Eclectic wine list
PRICE: $65 & up
HOURS: Dinner, Mon – Thu, 5-10:30 pm, Friday & Saturday, 5-11 pm; Lunch, Mon – Fri, 12 – 2:45 pm. 
: Reservations recommended, especially on weekends.

It had all the makings of a Greek tragedy: A gifted young chef, having just received pivotal acclaim for his Italian-Greek fusion at Dona, prematurely brought down by a greedy real estate developer.  So chef Michael Psilakis returned to his Upper West Side roots where he aptly reconceived his Modern Greek (Onera) into more rustic home-cooking with Kefi.      

Less than two months since the closing of Dona, Psilakis has re-emerged with his signature modern creations.  Likewise, co-owner Donatella Arpaia plays the charming hostess at Anthos in the former Acqua Pazza space.  Albeit less stylish than the yellow & zebra trimmed Dona, this midtowner is a sleek affirmation of Anthos, Greek for "blossoming".  The muted pink and brown decor gets a lift from a soft scattering of cherry blossom accents and art work.

Though Anthos doesn’t officially open its doors until Monday evening, I had the chance to preview Psilakis’ new Greek fare this weekend.  With the exception of a greek salad and grilled octopus, there is nothing traditional about Anthos.  And other than a creamy dollop of hummus and pita in an amuse bouche, there are no classic meze offerings.  Instead the menu is marked with inspired Greek-inflected dishes, a seamless blending of old and new traditions, determined to elevate Greek to haute cuisine.

Anthos_restaurant_girl_donutsPsilakis’ distinguished crudo, praised at both Onera & Dona, makes a blessed appearance at Anthos as well.  His talents are instantly evidenced in a trio of raw crudo, an enchanting interplay of bright flavors & textures: mastic oil-washed tuna blanketed with american caviar & lemon confit; beyond delicate scallops layered with pomegranate gelee & fragrant peppermint; and a transcendent fennel pollen-dusted yellowtail, perfectly paired with tangy ouzo macerated cherries.  A crispy-skinned mullet arrived perched atop a mini-lentil stew (sans the broth), marked by a flavorful melange of bacon, celery & carrots.  As far as entrees are concerned, nicely seasoned lamb chops are juxtaposed with a cinammon-scented lamb moussaka. 

While new restaurant are increasingly outsourcing desserts or eliminating pastry altogether, the desserts at Anthos are far from neglected.  In fact, pastry chef Bill Corbett’s sugar-coated donuts are enough to merit the trek to midtown alone.  Warm doughy nibbles are meant to be dunked in a luscious bourbon-spiked honey, accompanied by honey ice cream so addictive I could’ve easily devoured a tub of it.  Corbett pays splendid tribute to Greece with his liberal application of sesame seeds, most engaging in a thick tahini sauce.

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl

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