To match Kefi’s lower prices, Psilakis has retooled Onera’s wine list, which now offers an all-Greek selection of affordable bottles and several choices by the $6 glass. Service is extremely attentive and quick (theatergoers take note), and you get the sense, through expert Greek pronunciation and menu familiarity, that many of the fair-haired young waiters are Onera holdovers. Psilakis hasn’t given up on his haute Greek dreams; next week, he plans to revive a bit of the old Onera spirit at Anthos, the new restaurant he’s opening with Donatella Arpaia in midtown. But for now, for carping Upper West Siders and peregrinating Underground Gourmets alike, the kefi to be had at Kefi is an onero come true.
Address: 222 W. 79th St., nr. Broadway; 212-873-0200.
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday to 11 p.m.
Prices: Meze, $4.50 to $9.95; entrées, $9.95 to $15.95. Cash only.
Ideal Meal: R.P.: Spreads to share, meatball soup, pasta with braised rabbit, or pork souvlaki.
R.R.: Warm Feta, crispy cod, walnut cake with walnut ice cream.
Note: As good as the pastas and main courses are, it’s fun to make a meal out of several meze and sample the ouzo selection along the way.
Scratchpad: The windowless dining room, while comfortable enough, looks a bit like a Queens social-club basement. But this is exceptional Greek grandma cooking gently refined by a talented kitchen. We only hope the standards will remain this high once the chef de cuisine decamps for Anthos.