Avra Estiatorio, Greek restaurant in NYC, New York

For my birthday, we went to Avra Estiatorio, an elegant Greek restaurant located Midtown East. When people asked me if I already went there, I answered affirmatively: I went there more than 10 years ago and remember two things: the long wait (couple of minutes became 45 minutes) and the delicious fresh lobster I ate. I was hoping the first would not repeat...Well, it kind of did...

It was a Tuesday and the place was packed. Despite our reservation, we probably waited 25 minutes and they attempted to give us a table right next to the bar, where would have had other patrons derrieres as the sole sight. So we respectfully declined and waited for a better table that unfortunately never came: I sat my back to the door that was wide open (so the wait staff could go outside to serve people sitting at the terrace), the cold air forcing me to put my jacket on. 

After we ordered, they brought us a bread basket (I was expecting pita), with olives, radicchio and some house made hummus that was a bit liquid. We started off with the fried saganaki:

At Avra, they do not flambé it, but, it was not necessary, the fried version being delicious: crispy, not greasy, gooey and chewy at the same time. Then, for her entrée, Jodi ordered the Tonos or Grilled sushi quality tuna with sautéed swiss chard and sliced marinated beets. 

The fish was very good, perfectly cooked rare, as requested. However, the swiss chard was not Jodi or myself's favorite...

On my side, I ordered the youvetsi or Shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels in tomato and herbs with orzo and feta cheese.

This was terrific dish: first, the seafood was amazing, tasting very fresh and perfectly cooked. I should mention the large size of these shrimp that would make you regret to have dined once at Red Lobster and enjoyed their shrimp...Then, the orzo, bathed in this delicious sauce and sprinkled with feta was spectacular. This is definitely a dish I recommend.

For dessert, we went for baklava:

And a Galaktoboureko that is a custard pie:

I admit that I preferred the Galaktoboureko that was a first, the custard complementing well the sweetness of the sugar syrup. The baklava was just ok and definitely not the best I had (Molyvos has an awesome one!).

The dinner at Avra Estiatorio was good, but I prefer Thalassa or Molyvos: the food is better and the atmosphere less stuffy....


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