Written by Hulda Lawrence
A little over a year old is Anthos, 36 West 52nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 212 582-6900. In Greek, Anthos means rebirth or blossoming, and co-owners Donatella Arpaia and Executive Chef Michael Psilakis know what they are doing and the happy faces of the many diners reflect that.
On a recent lunch time, we arrived and were assigned to Jeffrey as our server. As we scanned the menu we ordered special cocktails: Symposia of metaxa, pomegranate juice, limoncello and lemon juice for me and Pathos of sapphire gin, campari, passion fruit and brachetto for my companion. As we sipped, we noticed that food being brought to nearby tables was set on plates as if they were art displays. One dish of scallops caught my eye and later when ordering it was my choice.
Although there is a daily prix fixe for $28, we decided to roam the menu and also order some of the set choices. Our first course was Sheep Milk Ricotta Dumpling with shellfish and trout roe. It also can be done with braised rabbit. We also enjoyed braised Burgundy snails with trahana pasta, haloumi fondue and parsley. We tasted Grilled Quail with endive, haloumi cheese and orange. The dumpling and the snails are on the set lunch as are Marlin Tartar and Chicory and Cabbage Salad. A la carte appetizers include Garlic and Yogurt Soup, Smoked Octopus and Bigeye Tuna Tartar. Appetizers start at $15 and the Raw Meze of red snapper, yellowtail, fluke and tuna with assorted accompaniments is $18.
For our main course we ordered Roasted Diver Scallop, which had caught my eye earlier. It was done with parsnip, passion fruit, truffle and trompette. This "still life" was delicious. We also ordered a Lamb Burger done with feta spicy pepper puree and French Fries. It was one of the luncheon choices. Other entrees include Psarokorizo, Greek Risotto with crab, sea urchin, caviar and egg yolk. Entrees start at $20 for the Lamb Burger to $36 for Crisped Turbot with fried oysters, cardoon and olive tzatziki. Milk Fed Chicken with spiced fig is $38. It is on the set menu.
There is a good variety of wines by the glass. My choice was Xinomavro red and my companion's white Santorini were $14 and $15.
The dessert menu is tantalizing. We tasted the Baklava Trio of pistachio baklava; Honey Custard, with brown sugar tuile; Walnut Cake; and Cinnamon Ice Cream. We could not resist the wonderful Chocolate and Chestnut Torta and the Bougatza goat cheesecake with pear and cranberry goat milk caramel. When I noticed a sorbet of Grapefruit and Ginger, we had to taste that too. On my next visit, I'll sample the Yogurt and Fruit, the Sesame Ice Cream, the Burnt Honey Ice Cream and the Kalamata Olive Ice Cream. Desserts include Rizogalo, rice pudding with honey granola, pomegranate and oregano ice cream. Desserts are $9 to $12. On the set menu dessert is either Chocolate Karidopita, spiced walnut cake with olive gelato or Pasteli, lavender honey with nuts and yogurt ice cream.
There are dessert wines including several Greek varieties, Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with nutmeg Marshmallows and cookies for $8.
Hours: Lunch: Monday thru Friday noon to 2:45 p.m.
New place in town could well be the description of Nanoosh ("mint" in Hebrew) at 2012 Broadway at 68th Street, 212 362-7922. The restaurant opened in October by hummus lovers who felt there was no spot to indulge their food preferences in New York City. The locale selected for establishing their restaurant is right near Lincoln Center. There are no white linen tablecloths but there are slate floors, maple paneling, butcher block communal tables and a few smaller tables. It seats only 36, but many arrive and are quickly served, while others take their food with them. There also is delivery service with a $10 minimum and the catering has a minimum of six persons. The catered Nanoosh is $12.25 per person.
Almost every dish has hummus as an ingredient along with organic natural foods. We began with a delicious Lentil Soup of organic lentils, carrots, onions, garlic and natural spices. We followed our soup with two salads: Nanoosh Green Salad of organic arugula, grated carrots, organic raisins and roasted walnuts, with a choice between oil free citrus and walnut dressing or olive oil and citrus; and Quinoa Salad, which mixes quinoa (protein grain with eight amino acids), red peppers, red onion, roasted walnuts, dried cranberries, organic raisins, parsley, cilantro with olive oil and lemon juice. Although these salads are filled with ingredients designed to make you healthy, they taste good too. Two other salads are Marinated Chicken and Green Salad.
The hummus entrees, made from organic chick peas and accompanied by two pita bread, include Plain Hummus, Hummus Tahini, Hummus with Peppers, Hummus with Chicken or Beef and Hummus with Fava Bean Stew. If none of these dishes from $6.25 appeals to you, there are Nanoosh Wraps of Beef, Chicken or Tuna or Lebane Wrap of cream cheese made from strained yogurt. There is a Hummus and Mushroom Wrap and a Nanoosh Wrap of Ground Beef, hummus, tahini, organic onions, mushrooms and greens. These wraps start at $6.95.
If you desire a beverage there are organic wines called True Earth or Coq Rouge red. Naked Chardonnay and Poule Branche are whites. Wines start at $5.95 a glass. There is Organic Nut Brown Ale or Amber Ale at $5.45. Blue moon and Corona light beers are $4.95.
There are organic coffee and organic teas, and Simply Mint Infusion (fresh mint leaves and hot water), Organic Lemonade, Organic Mint Tea and Passion Iced Tea also are available.
The Nanoosh Apple Cake is not exciting for dessert, but Plain Low-Fat Yogurt with organic honey and roasted walnuts is popular at $3.95. The all-natural sorbet is $2.50 per scoop.
If you order a catered affair at $12.25 you can have two hummus plus two wraps plus two salads and lebane served with one pita, pickles, olives and veggies. If you want chicken or beef add $1.50 per item.
Hours: Seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.