Michael Psilakis might well be considered New York City's premier Greek chef and he has been working hard to steadily expand his reach. He has three restaurants in the city: Anthos, Kefi and Gus and Gabriel. His cookbook, "How to Roast a Lamb," was also released recently.
Earlier this year, he made a move that has become popular in the recession — he converted part of his expensive, upscale restaurant Anthos into a more casual and affordable mini-restaurant known as Anthos Upstairs. Everything on the menu is $15 or less and offers decent-sized portions.
I previously tried Anthos during Restaurant Week a couple of years ago and enjoyed a delicious, filling meal in an elegant setting. So, Anthos Upstairs seemed promising, extending upon the principle of good cooking at a lower price point. On the night I ate here, it wasn't exactly "upstairs" because that area was closed for a private party. But the restaurant was offering the Upstairs menu in the front bar area. This meal echoed my first experience — delicious and affordable in a modern, stylish atmosphere.
Tasty, but the bun was too big so the dish required a fork and knife. Fries were addictive.
These gnocchi-like dumplings were silky and rich, but perfectly done. The spinach was a good match.
The breading was light and maybe not quite as crispy as I might have expected but the cod still tasted like fish, thankfully, and not like an unidentifiable greasy fried thing. The accompaniments were not my favorites - the garlic potato was chilled and very garlicky and the beet puree didn't have much flavor.
The service was friendly and efficient and when I pointed out to the waiter that he had left my glass of wine off the bill he said it was okay in a way that seemed to indicate it had been intentional. Not sure why, but it was a nice gesture. All in all, it was a lovely low-key dinner in a high-class setting.