Tribeca’s Greek Restaurant, Thalassa, Continues To Impress
Sometimes it's a ton of fun to hit the most happening of hot spots for a night of drinks, dinner, loud laughter, glittery celeb-spotting (discretely, of course), tipsy friends. Carbone, Lafayette, The Butterfly (probably), those sorts of places. Other times? You want to have a conversation with a companion or three without shouting.
You want to relax, and enjoy your food and wine at a non-frenetic pace. You want space between the table-clothed tables, an attentive staff, and food prepared with equal parts skill and love. In other words, you want a place like nearly twelve-year-old Tribeca Greek mainstay Thalassa.
The Dining Experience at Thalassa
I was invited to a press dinner recently at Thalassa, to experience first hand what's changed about the place since 2002, and what, thankfully, has not. The historic building on cobblestoned Franklin Street–for decades it was used as an olive and cheese warehouse for the Makris family, who outgrew the space but still own the restaurant–and the classic-not-stodgy interior design remain intact, with the large main dining room as pretty and inviting as ever. Chef Ralpheal Abrahante has tweaked the menu of late: no longer do you need to order your fish by the pound (which was confusing and expensive); prices have been lowered throughout (a little… it's still not cheap here); and there have been several key additions to the Thalassa menu, including one my favorite dishes of the night, the fish Tartare Trio.
Off The Menu
I won't go through our entire, incredibly generous and lengthy meal here, but highlights would include the above-mentioned Tartare Trio of tuna, royal dorado, and lavraki, each crowned with a thoughtful complement; the fun, designed-to-share tower of fried Zucchini-Eggplant Chips, complete with fried squares of cheese; and the Grilled Lavraki, aka sea bass (aka loup), which was simply prepared–olive oil, capers, lemon, done–chewy skin, moist meat, tasting like an ocean breeze.
Chef Ralpheal's Food
Best of all, though, was the Octapodi, grilled to perfection and wonderfully tender after being hand-massaged by, I guess, a licensed cephlapod masseuse. Seriously though, Chef Ralpheal told us that they used to tenderize their octopus in a washing machine (a not uncommon practice among the Greeks, apparently) until the DOH nixed the method. So now, it's all done by hand and, I think, the dish is even better for it. Five desserts were sent out and, honestly, at this point it was a bit of blur, but the sophisticated Baklava and the super-sweet Molten Chocolate Cake (throwback!) were the definite winners.
More Information: Thalassa
Thalassa is located on Franklin Street between Greenwich and Hudson and serves dinner on Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 12:00 midnight. Closed Sunday. For more information our friends at the Wandering Foodie posted a terrifc review with some great pictures, plus you can always see the complete Thalassa menu.