Parents Part III: Kefi

After cleaning up from the earlier day’s rain my parents and I headed across the park to Kefi, Michael Psilakis’ Greek mega-restaurant on the Upper West Side.  Because the park is always lovely, and was particularly serene on this post-rainy evening, I had to take a few pictures:

Algae-covered Turtle Pond.
Algae-covered Turtle Pond.
Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle

We also stumbled upon some beautiful flowers near a fancy building on Central Park West.

DSC06114

DSC06115

Love. Urban. Flowers.

We met up with several of my amazing friends who helped make this summer super-fun for a rustic Greek meal at Kefi.  Which is huge.  Evidently the original location only sat about eighty people and did not take reservations or serve lunch.  So Psilakis and his business partner decided to move to a larger space that seats two hundred, takes reservation, and serves lunch.  And the place, from what I understand, is consistently packed.  I’d read fairly good reviews of the restaurant.  Frank Bruni complained that there was too much feta, too much salt, too much everything in the food but I personally have no problem with food that is unsubtle.

The restaurant is very, very large, and it seems that smaller parties get seated at big round tables downstairs.  Both upstairs and downstairs were loud, which I have come to expect from New York restaurants, so whatever.  We started off with appetizers; several of my tablemates ordered the white bean soup, Ashley had a Greek salad that looked like it might have been over-dressed in terms of vinaigrette (correct me if I am wrong) and I ordered a few appetizers for the table: the spreads platter which came with pita to dip in tzatziki, red-pepper hummus, an eggplant spread, and “caviar” which I believe was some sort of fish roe but was actually pleasantly salty and had the texture of a grainy hummus, an order of fresh-cut potato chips served with tzatziki (home made chips are always a hit) and the meatballs, which were large, salty-sweet, and came in a sauce that was liberally studded with giant chunks of tomato and cloves of roasted garlic (win).

White bean soup.
White bean soup.
Greek Salad
Greek Salad
Spreads flatter with chips in the background.
Spreads flatter with chips in the background.
Meatball
Meatballs

For dinner I had the sheep milk’s dumplings which came in a sauce of tomatoes, pine nuts, lamb sausage, and something like a pound of spinach.  The dumplings themselves were fantastic: much lighter than gnocchi, like little happy pillows of creamy goodness, but I thought that the pasta-to-sauce ratio was not well balanced (too much sauce and not enough pasta to handle said sauce) and I found the amount of spinach overwhelming.  The flavors were great, I just would’ve liked more dumplings.

Sheep's Milk Dumplings
Sheep's Milk Dumplings

I, alas, do not have pictures of the other entrees (I didn’t want to be overly obnoxious).  My father had the branzino, of which he spoke highly, my mother had a shrimp and orzo dish, Theresa got the macaroni and cheese (which looked really excellent and creamy), Brad had the lamb shank and his comment regarding said lamb shake was: “That shit was awesome,” (thanks, Brad) and Phil and Ashley had flat pasta with braised and pulled rabbit.  I got a picture of that, and a taste.  The rabbit had clearly been braised for awhile, as it was extremely tender.  I have never had rabbit before and I can’t really say much of the taste of the meat, as, once again, it was swimming in extremely unsubtle sauce.  Still, Phil devoured his portion, so I’m assuming it was a win.

Pasta with bunny.  Yes, jessica, bunny.
Pasta with bunny. Yes, Jessica, bunny.

We opted to skip dessert at Kefi for a walk down to the Upper West Side Shack Shack and some custard.  Clearly my parents had enjoyed their first experience at the Shake Shack, and I was fine with one last custard run before I departed New York City.  I had vanilla with hot caramel, and didn’t take a picture because you can see one here.  Custard turned to conversation and ten 11:00 rolled around and we decided to roll out.  I bid farewell to my friends (sniff) and then headed home to finish packing and to get some sleep before my flight out the next morning.  It was excellent spending my last night in New York with food and friends–major thanks to the parents for enabling that to happen.

2 thoughts on “Parents Part III: Kefi

  1. the salad might have seemed overdressed because it had a very “wet” look, but the vinaigrette itself was very mild, so i thought it was fine. though maybe i’m biased, as i’m a big dressing fan in general. i thought the tomatoes and feta were excellent complements (and supah fresh!), so, uh… no complaints from me. didn’t you have a bite?

    and yeah, the bunny sauce pretty much punched you in the face, and i def wanted more cheese (or even pasta), but still. did you see our plates? the hungry hungry hippos were more than satisfied.

    MAMA AND PAPA GORDON ARE MY #1 FAVORITES EVER! MANY THANKS! P.S. ADOPT MEEEE!

  2. Ashley,

    Thanks for the kind words…we never adopt but continue to feed and nurture our kidlings’ friends. It is always our pleasure and hope we can do so again on many occasions in the future. The Dilettantista’s parents have chalked up some fine meals since Monday–from two great lunches (one at Le Chat Noir on 66th between Madison and Fifth and the other a very authentic Mexican restaurant just at the foot of the High Line–Los Dados–)plus a quick but good thai meal in the Theatre District–Yum Yum–and an always solid pizza at Jhn’s after tonight’s show. Not to mention assorted sweets (including some macadamia white chocolate cheesecake and red velvet cheesecake from Magnolia Bakery) and our traditional apricot hamentashen for breakfast this morning…Just in case any of you were wondering where the Dilettantista got her “food porn” talents!

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