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by Marisa Olsen

Finding a Calm in the Storm: Greek restaurant in Midtown

Last evening in New York, I had the lovely fortune of dining with my aunt and cousin at midtown's Greek Mecca, Ammos. I found Ammos to be quite delicious, welcoming, and aesthetically pleasing. Located right next to New York's hub, Grand Central Station, Ammos is a breath of fresh air with its accommodating large white walls and light stoned-pillar interior, floor-to-ceiling windows, beautiful hard wood floors, and umbrella-like light fixtures that provides the diner with an authentic sense of the Greek Isles. In addition to the enjoyable atmosphere, the food, presentation, and service were all excellent.

For appetizers, we started with the KRYA OREKTIKA, a fancy way of saying mezzes. Five little squared white dishes appeared with dollops of kalamata-chick pea, garlic-ground almond, Greek yogurt, roasted pepper-feta, eggplant spread accompanied with grilled pita. Although all were good, our favorites were the roasted pepper-feta and garlic-ground almond spread. In addition, we sampled the KOLOKITHOKEFTEDES, fried zucchini balls with fresh mint, Greek yogurt-like cheese, and tzatziki. These were delicious and different from anything I ever tasted. I think the fresh mint added a nice zest to usually bland zucchini and tzataziki sauce. We also ordered the marinated olives, and I was pleased to see the vines still attached--it is safe to say that I have never feasted on better olives in my life. We also couldn't give up ordering the traditional SPANAKOPITA, and were pleased that we did. The crust was flaky and chock full of fresh spinach and feta--again, one of the best traditional Greek dishes that I've had in a while.

For our main course, we agreed to share. We ordered risotto with spring peas, feta, tomato, and mint; tuna herb crusted, fava beans, cauliflower puree, yellow tomato, black salt; and tile fish, that was pan roasted in a cast iron skillet, accompanied by sweet potato, guanciale , blue crab, lemon, and poblano. The risotto was surprisingly light, despite the creaminess, perhaps the vegetables gave it a springier flavor. The tuna was good, although difficult to cut. I believed they used a cut of the fish that we weren't familiar with, but the herbs paired nicely and fish tasted great. The tile fish, which is a white fish, was perfectly cooked and the odd addition of sweet potatoes proved to be an excellent choice. For dessert we all shared baklava with pistachio ice cream, which was quite good.

As mentioned, the service was excellent. Our waiter let us taste our wine choices (even though they were by the glass--I chose a lovely Rose “ Akakies”, Estate Kir Yianni, Naoussa, Amyndeon, Greece) and as each dish was presented, he made sure to address any questions and pointed out all of the ingredients--very informative. Although the restaurant is not by any means cheap (appetizers ranged from $10-$19 and main courses $22-$48), the whole package is such a treat--I'd recommend going back, sharing one order of the mezze and a few appetizers and then splitting a main--and don't forget the baklava!

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