Desserts & Bakeries
Southern & Soul
Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens
Lower East Side
Upper East Side
Upper West Side
26 West 52nd St. Between 5th and 6th Aves.
It's not often that I go to fancy, white tablecloth kind of places, and I almost never go to ones in Midtown. However, I wanted to use Restaurant Week as an excuse to try something out of the ordinary in terms of both budget and location. When Rachel suggest we go to Anthos, Michael Psilakis' Midtown Greek restaurant, I was all for it. Bruni gave the restaurant two stars ("very good") in 2007, as did New York Magazine's Adam Platt. With entrees normally priced in the mid-thirty range, the Restaurant Week package —three course pre-fix for $35 — seemed like a steal. Right? CONT'D
Wrong. Suckers like me get drawn into Restaurant Week for the same reasons your grandparents go on cruises: It's such a good deal! You're getting so much out of it! But unfortunately, Anthos' food was about the same quality of a mid-level cruise ship. That is to say, pitiful.
The RW menu had three options for both the first and second courses, and two dessert choices. Everyone at my table opted for the sheep milk ricotta dumpling as an appetizer, which unfortunately was the best dish of the night. The small, slippery dumplings resembled gnocchi, and while they tasted fine, the main ingredients in the dish (spinach, leek, feta) were overwhelmed by the buttery sauce. For the entree, I opted for the slow braised pork shank. It was a massive hunk of meat; maybe Fred Flintstone could have finished it, but there was no way that a girl of my size could eat that much pig. And it wasn't even good. I was looking forward to Greek flavors, but the dish lacked any flavor. While the meat was gigantic, the sides were miniscule. The trahana (Greek polenta) was strangely creamy, and not in a good way; the yogurt lagolemono sounded tasty on the menu, but I didn't even notice it on the meat. Failure. A slightly better dish was Seth's roasted chicken, which combined a lot of ingredients — walnut, feta, oyster mushroom, squash — in a somewhat harmonious way. However, the dish failed to hit a basic poultry requirement: crispy skin!
But the worst of the bad was yet to come. Everyone at the table ordered the chocolate karidopita for dessert in lieu of the yogurt, pineapple, mint mousse (how good does that not sound?). None of us knew what a chocoalte karidopita was but I was shocked at what came next. The plate comprised of four, dry, Entenmann's-like brownie bites, three slices of bruised banana, and one teaspoon of melted ice-cream. It was a complete joke that looked and tasted like something you might see on the Princess line. Anthos, please enlighten me: how is a brownie bite the same as karidopita, the traditional Greek walnut cake? Thieves!
And how about the $35 tab? Try $70 per person. You better believe we needed those two bottles of wine to make it through that meal, and the wine at Anthos ain't cheap. At the end of the night, Rachel asked, Is it fair to judge Anthos based on Restaurant Week? Hell yes! I presumed that the food during RW would be less than the normal standards, but if anything, RW should convince diners to return for the regular menu. Anthos made me want to call American Express and cancel my payment.
Posted in FOOD on February 1, 2010 8:50am by Jena Steinbach | 2874 comments
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We are young (early 20's) and hungry (for knowledge! music! art! food!) friends living on (or in areas which border) Manhattan. We moved to the city seeking higher education, and an alternative to frat parties and gin buckets. We prefer a bottle of Chianti to a keg, lunches at City Bakery to a dining hall, Joe's to Starbucks, Frankie's Amatriciana to Batali's. Our uniting factor is our love for food. For detailed, personal information, keep reading.
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