Greece: Michael Psilakis, Onera
MENU: Salad of warm grilled octopus, tomato, sweet onion, and feta cheese; fava purée with grilled baguette; creamed yogurt with grilled summer fruit
Michael Psilakis came late to cooking, and even later to Greek cooking. But since he opened Onera on the Upper West Side, he’s been busy rewriting ancient Greek-food history, recalibrating flavors and refining presentation for today’s palate. He loves to combine classic tastes in unexpected ways, like the smoky char of succulent grilled octopus intensified by a pungent anchovy-laced vinaigrette, and melded with the classic sweet-salty counterpoint of tomato and feta. Herb-flecked fava, or puréed chickpeas, gets its trademark Mediterranean tang from sun-dried tomatoes. And the ultrathick, intensely creamy yogurt that Greeks traditionally adorn with walnuts and honey offsets the smoky edge of grilled summer fruit.
On the Grill
Salad of Warm Grilled Octopus, Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Feta Cheese
On the Side
Fava Purée with Grilled Baguette
Creamed Yogurt with Grilled Summer Fruit
Psilakis likes a wine that intensifies his bold Mediterranean flavors. The Boutari Moschofilero Mantinia A.O.C. 2003 is made from a pink-skinned grape, producing a clean, crisp white with a big, floral nose.
Where to Shop
(25-56 31st St., nr. Astoria Blvd., Astoria; 718-626-7771). Phyllo dough, grape leaves, fifteen varieties of feta, a sea of olives, and baklava made on the premises.