Friday, May 1, 2015

Ode to NYC Greek Diners...OPA!

Always in search of a great food experience, and no less as I prepared for a trip last week to my old NYC stomping grounds. Had in hand all my favorite NYT restaurant reviews ‎-- saved for chances like this -- and was mostly focused on Korean fare, which is not found much in Miami. And since I will be going to Greece soon, I wasn't thinking Greek food either -- even though I have never been to the highly-acclaimed Molyvos on 7th Avenue.

My friend Ann :)
But on Friday morning during breakfast with my friend Ann in her favorite Greek diner on 14th Street, I suddenly realized how much I miss those ubiquitous eateries with menus to please anyone -- and always include spanokopita, moussaka or Greek salad if you are so inclined. Is it the pictures of the homeland on the walls or the typically plentiful Breakfast Special?  Or the Greek affendiko (boss) at the cash register or the  now occasional actually G‎reek waiter? Whatever it is, I gravitated to them like some sort of fish out of water. 

So I made the rounds: Coffee and hamentashen (!) at the Palace Restaurant (off Lexington at 57th), dinner at the Westway Diner (9th Ave & 43rd), breakfast with my dear friend Altanna at her Lyric Diner (3rd Ave and 22nd St, complete wih a long conversation w/Mina whose mom is from the tiny island ‎Amorgos), and a bowl of greasy chili for lunch with my good friend Eddie at the Washington Square Diner (West 4th & 6th Ave). I subsequently loudly rued the day that the Sheridan Square Diner (off Christopher St & 7th Ave) had become a Starbucks. And Manutus on Bleeker St has been shuttered for good,  part of the rather horrifying upscale  degradation of much of the West Village!

Lyric Diner Breakfast Special
Oh, I did catch dinner one night at Han Bat in K-Town (35th St and 6th Ave), and had a rather lovely meal with my niece Rachel at Bar Bolonat on Hudson with its eclectic nouvelle Mediterranean creations and good wine list. And my visit was topped-off by a meringue-based treat from a new outpost of Aux Merveilleux de Fred (Hudson and my beloved Jane St), which we had first discovered last year in Paris...

But I do really miss those Greek diners for all the reasons mentioned above. And when I say "kalimera, ti kanete" (Good morning, how are you?) to the affendiko, it gets even better. Try it some time!

‎NOTE: There are few such places in Miami. The fabled S&S Diner ( NE 2nd Ave & 18th St)  was originally owned by Greeks who sold it a few years back. ‎Just not the same now, not to mention that their Breakfast Special formerly $4.95 is now $6, and the coffee is too often made to stain your teeth and ruin the experience. Someone tried to tell me that the Cuban-American cafeterias are essentially the same as the Greek coffee shops. No way!

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.

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