July 03, 2010

Ammos Estiatoro

We went on another of our awesome quarterly business lunches a few weeks ago, and our gracious host, Dr. S, brought us to Ammos Estiatorio, just across the street from Grand Central Station.

My coworker Patty and I arrived first, and we were 15 minutes early, so we figured we'd wait a bit in the lobby. However, the hostess immediately led us to our seating upstairs in a loft area, which required a walk up a sweet spiral staircase.

We found our table tucked in the corner in a lovely spot. It was a little dark up there, but a fun place. I slipped over to the edge of our loft and looked down on the dining room--they were clearly expecting more big groups (apparently some sort of seminar was happening in the area, dozens and dozens of people showed up about 30 minutes later)

It did take a good long while even to get a glass of water, which was not fun on a day as hot as that one (I believe it hit about 102). I was about to go over and just grab the pitcher myself! It took about 20 minutes for someone to stop at our table and get us water. I totally understand they don't take food orders when 3/4 of your group isn't there yet, but for the love of God, someone water me!!!

Once more of our party arrived, we started with appetizers. First we got the haloumi, a seared sheep's milk cheese, which came with sliced peaches and lightly-dressed watercress. Amaaazing! The peaches were perrrrfect. Ahh, summer, I do love your fruits.

And hello, of course, tzatziki! It had a heckuva lot of dill in it, but it was good. Not great, but good! ABF's tzatziki is outta this world, so the bar is pretty high for me. The grilled pita was scrumptious.

Why does grilling make shrimp taste exponentially more awesome?? I don't know the answer, but I do know it's true. I had two of these babies--deeeelightful.

We also got an assortment of dips and spreads: taramasalata (fish roe), tzatziki, and 2 others I can't remember! The garlicky dip was thick and insanely yum. Wow.

Another must-order jewel? The Greek salad. Bright, clean, so, so fresh--I went back a few times to have more of the crunchy, colorful veggies in the perfect mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and oregano. This was delightful--just scrumptious.

Coming in under the 'just meh' category were the zucchini fritters. They were just a little too dilly for me, and just not that great. I'd pass on these next go around.

Another colleague got the lamb moussaka--about the only non-seafood item on the menu (she's allergic), and while she said it was a bit heavy, it was also delicious.

Two others ordered the lamb pita--I had a bite and it was soft, delicious, and well-seasoned. Yum.

Our sides were yummy, too: grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes brushed with bright, tart lemon juice.

For my entrée, I ordered the tsipoura, or dorado fish. It came grilled with lemon on the side. This was also good, but not great. I much prefer the grilled fish at Avra, but this was still good. He also had quite a set of chompers on him--look at those teeth! It's good to be on the top of the food chain :)

We found out at the end of our meal that our server was also the sommelier. They must have been quite short-staffed! We should have realized it sooner, however. The wine he suggested for our table was sensational. I've had less than stellar experiences with Greek wine until now, but this one was remarkable. I will definitely keep an eye out for it (note: it was around 65 dollars FOR THE BOTTLE...we didn't ask and didn't see the price until we got the check!) Eep! Thankfully, Doctor S was treating--thank you again!!

Overall, we had a great time, ate to our hearts' content, and enjoyed ourselves, but I would recommend a few other Greek restaurants before this one. It was good, but it was also very expensive, and I think places such as Avra would be my choice first. If you're in the area though, definitely try the Greek salad, grilled shrimp, and the garlic dip!!!

(Desserts post soon!)

Ammos Estiatorio
52 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 922-9999


Halcyon said...

Your employer must be nice. The first year I worked here we were invited to a $5.99 buffet for Xmas lunch. Blech!

Now we go to O'Charley's... but we never get anything fancy like this place!

LKPheartsfood said...

Hahah!! Hal--your post made me chortle. We are very grateful to our host and we enjoy every morsel at these meals!

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