18 October 2011

revuesday - Avra

If a quick and casual falafal lunch is what you're in the mood for, stick to the street vendors.  If a fancypants afternoon of beautiful, fresh Greek food is more your thing, then Avra will be right up your alley.  I joined my aunt for a lovely little nosh at this midtown restaurant last week.  Though it was much fancier than I'm used to (I've never dined among so many well-dressed suits in my life making me feel quite underdressed in my single Ked sneaker and J. Crew hand-me-downs,) I definitely saw the appeal in the experience.  Because that's exactly what it was - a dining experience.  While we stuck with a few simple shared plates, other tables were enjoying literal feasts in the middle of the afternoon.   The beautiful selection of whole, fresh fish could be perused prior to being sent off to the grill to be returned to your table charred to perfection.  For those who like it raw, shellfish was brought out shucked for indulgence.  The sides looked fresh and generous, suited for sharing like most menu items.

tzatziki, hummus, melitzanosalata & skordalia
Though tempted by those tastes of the Mediterranean, we stuck to a lighter Aegean fare with fresh, tender calamari, a sampling of traditional spreads on pitas, and the most beautiful Greek salad with fresh feta and heirloom tomatoes, a perfectly satisfying midday meal that really worked out my mouth with all the fresh flavors... but make sure you come prepared with gum because holy garlicky goodness!  Mmm and the olives and radishes provided the perfect balance of spice and salt to round out the beautiful spread.  I almost always forget how much I love radishes until they're put in front of me and then the love affair begins all over again!

Avra is a ginormous and unlikely splurge for a part-time gal like myself, but it was a welcome indulgence with a generous dining companion.  I'd love to say that I'd certainly be back there to indulge in the to-die-for salad and specialties of the sea, but I think I'd be fibbing to my loyal audience; maybe one of these days for a very very very special occasion but not any time soon.  It's how the other half dines and I liked it... but not enough to trade in my $2.50 falafal pita!

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