Chef Christos Christou of the Upper East Side's brand new Yefsi Estiatorio knows what old-school Greek dishes should taste like. As a child in Cyprus, he apparently spent years poking around his family's Taverna, learning from this grandmother how to get that magic combination of olives and lemon, garlic and oil, that makes rustic Greek cuisine really sing. Here in New York City Christou did his time at the Upper West Side neighborhood Greek favorite Molyvos and Milos, as well as honing his chops at the French Culinary Institute. And now Chef Christos Christou has opened an old-world-looking spot on the far Upper East Side, a neighborhood that can always use another solid dining option.
Yefis: New Greek Restaurant New York Will Love for Classic Greek Cuisine
One of theNow, you should know that our baseline for Greek food is Symposium, the vaguely hippie-ish spot up near Columbia that's been around forever (since 1969, if you want to get specific), and where we spent many long nights devouring huge platters of all the Greek all-stars and talking about whatever 19 year olds talk about after more than a few glasses of Retsina. So when we stopped in to Yefsi Estiatorio the other night, as when we eat at any Greek restaurant, it's as much a nostalgia trip as it a desire for sustenance. Needless to say, though the Yefsi menu is appealingly large and varied, we stuck with the classics, and were rewarded with a (mostly) delicious trip down memory lane.
Our pair of starters really nailed it. The Taramosalata, a creamy fish roe dip that, when done correctly, is one of our all-time favorite dishes, was just the right consistency–not too thick, not too fluffy–with a lovely balance of flavors: salt, sea, oil, olive. Perfect with the accompanying chewy charred pitas. The Avgolemono soup was also first-rate, with plenty of tender chicken floating in the lemony, oily broth. And if the Mousaka was under-seasoned, at least the textures were right (this eggplant/bechamel/potatoes/ground beef dish can be a goopy mess), so fingers crossed Chef Christou will continue to tinker with his recipes. All in all, though, Yefsi is a welcome, grown-up-but-reasonably-priced addition to the Yorkville neighborhood.
Say Yes to Yefsi Estiatorio
Yefsi Estiatorio is a Greek restaurant located on York Avenue between 78th and 79th Street, and is open on Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00. For more information and a look at the complete Yefsu menu, please see the restaurant's website, here.