This past summer, I de-flowered myself as a Restaurant Week virgin. I was late to make reservations and as such, was only able to score a table for four at Anthos (the restaurant of my choice) at 10:30pm on a Tuesday night. While not ideal, I always look forward to a night of dining out, as do my food-loving companions, so to Anthos we went.
The meal was ethereal. I really mean that. Everything about it was absolutely incredible and carried out impeccably. My second time around, was equally amazing.
The night started off with a cocktail recommendation from the bartender. While my eye immediately went towards the quince margarita, he immediately disagreed and steered me in the direction of a greek-inspired cosmopolitan (grey goose vodka, raspberry puree, grape ouzo, and campari). The name absolutely escapes me (vloumara or something along those lines?), but it was delicious, if not a tad bit too sweet.
As soon as we were seated, a waiter came around with a platter of small, little bites. Some greek cheese fritters, some sort of fish fritter with tzatziki sauce, small pieces of fried pita with taramasalata, and some delicious citrus and herb marinated olives. A perfect way to start things off.
Next came an amuse bouche: a shotglass filled with warm cauliflower soup topped with fried brussell sprout leaves. Creamy, sensous perfection. I wanted more. We all wanted more. It was creamy without leaving an overly buttery feeling in your mouth. It was the way all soups should taste and feel.
We ordered a bottle of Greek red wine for the table: Agioritiko "Red on Black" Mitravelas - 2006. Fruity without being overwhelmingly sweet. Perfect with the meal and just to sip.
For my first course, I ordered the raw meze: raw fluke with whipped feta, smoked chili, and scallion oil.
I had had the raw meze during the Summer Restaurant Week when it was accompanied by fresh apricot, an herb oil, and crushed pistachios. Sublime. A really, really special moment when I put that first bite in my mouth. I couldn't help but sit there with a stupid smile on my face, almost drunk with happiness. The winter version was also delicious but sadly, the sweet, subtle taste of the fluke was slightly overpowered by the creamy whipped feta and raw chili on top. Still, I have no serious complaints about this dish. It's also presented in a sexy, by means of simplicity, manner.
Next came the entree. Roasted arctic char with orange puree, hazelnut, gigante bean, and mint.
Again, heavenly. The arctic char was just barely cooked through, leaving it silkier than imaginable and with the bright citrusy, orange puree with little hints of mint combined with orange segments, big, creamy gigante beans, and wilted arugula hiding underneath...all on one fork...all worked together to make it a truly perfect bite. The salt, sweet, creamy, citrusy, bright combination never fails to please. When you hit each every one of those notes in the same dish, you've got something special. And for lack of a better word(s), freaking amazing to eat.
Dessert, which almost felt like it came too soon, was a butternut spice cake with candied cranberries and smoked cinnamon parfait. It tasted like Thanksgiving on a plate...and you'll hear no complaints from me about that. It was sweet without being too sweet, the highlight on the plate being the smoked cinnamon iced cream.
I also have to comment on the service at Anthos. The waitstaff could not have been friendlier or more accomodating. They were eagerly there to answer any and all questions without being at all in-your-face. I wish I had written down the name of our waiter...totally charming and a John Krasinski look alike. Aka the man of my dreams. How did I let this opportunity pass me by?!!?
All that said, our meal at Anthos was incredibly memorable and spot-on. Unfortunately, it's a restaurant that I can by no means afford outside of restaurant week, but I will cherish each and every time I have the amazing opportunity to dine here. Because for the time being, this place goes down as my favorite place to eat in Manhattan.
There, I said it.
Chef Michael Psilakis, I'm single. And waiting (You too, waiter, sir).
36 W.52nd St.
(212) 582-6900 (reservations can also be made on www.opentable.com)