“We want to offer storied foods,” says bartender and waiter Dimitri Manousakis of Tribeca restaurant The Greek (458 Greenwich Street), which is in its soft opening. “It’s food for thought.”
The restaurant serves, as the name implies, Greek food, culled from family recipes handed down through generations to owner Tom Galis, an Astoria native who also owns Crave Sandwiches near Bryant Park. Look for, for instance, his grandmother’s keftedakia, a stovetop meatball appetizer.
Composed mostly of small plates, the menu allows diners to try a little bit of everything. Entrees such as bifteki, a grilled beef patty with cheese filling, or lavraki, a broiled European sea bass, can be paired with a wine off of the restaurant’s exclusively Greek wine list. There is also a variety of vegetarian and vegan options for non-meat eaters.
The Greek coins itself a “Gastrotaverna,” a phrase that Manousakis says reflects the homey atmosphere of the restaurant mixed with the food it serves. Wine barrels are mounted over its sleek wooden bar, and vines wrap posts, decor details meant to transport diners to Greece without the high cost of a plane ticket.
But above all, it’s a local joint: “This is not a destination restaurant; it’s a neighborhood restaurant,” Manousakis says. “Greenwich Street with its cobblestones reminds me of Greece.” And it appears that the downtown neighborhood is enjoying the soft opening thus far. Manousakis says that many Greeks and Greek-Americans have come by for the authentic food, and the restaurant is happy to interpret the menu for anyone less familiar with the cuisine.
The Greek is serving dinner as part of its soft opening. It will officially open in the coming weeks and plans to start serving lunch soon thereafter.