Friday night I went to a Modern Greek restaurant called Parea in the Flatiron district. It's a big, sleek space, with a long communal table in the middle. This is where my dining companions and I sat.
I started with a popular Greek drink called Ouzo. It's basically like sambuca, which tastes like licorice. A glass with ice was brought with the ouzo which was about one and a half shots worth ($10). My first sip was smoothe, but it definitely needed some ice. After adding some ice, the drink got cloudy, and it was much better, and very nice.
We started with three Mezedes, which are family style appetizers meant to be shared.
The Crispy Pork with pistachio, roasted beets, and honey was very tasty although a bit too lukewarm for me.
The Crab Spanakopita, which is a Greek spinach pie was very nice too, but I tasted absolutley zero crab, which was very disappointing.
The standout of the Mezedes was the Grilled Octopus with black eyed peas and scallions. The octopus was grilled perfectly and had a wonderful flavor to it.
For my entree I had the Braised Lamb Shank with potato gnocchi and orange zest. The lamb was perfectly cooked, the meat fell right off the bone. The Orange zest broth was very good and soothing as well. Unfortunately the gnocchi was overcooked and rubbery, and was a disappointment.
My dining companions ordered the Hanger steak with greek fries and one of the fish dishes. I tried a little of both. They were both presented very clean and cooked well. The steak was tender and the greek fries were crispy. I enjoyed the addition of rosemary to them as well. The fish dish was fine, but quite boring. In fact none of the dishes truly blew me away, (which is fine.)Well, until we got to dessert.
For dessert we ordered the Greek donut holes with honey and sage tea. The donut holes were warm and sweet and came with a sweet dipping sauce we dipped them into. What truly blew my mind was the sage tea though. It perfectly complimented the donut holes and I thought it was ingenious. It was the perfect ending to a clean-cut, satisfying meal, with few surprises.
So, if you are in the Flatiron district of Manhattan and in the mood for some modern Greek cuisine, Parea would be a satisfying choice.