Chef M.J. Alam is a native of Bangladesh, but he’s spent the last 18 years cooking Mediterranean food. “I used to work for the Milos group,” he says. “I started in Montreal, where I was sous chef. I also owned a restaurant there. It was a French steakhouse.” He moved to New York more than a decade ago to take over the burners at the Milos here, and that’s where he remained until Limani, a seafood-centric Greek restaurant on Long Island, enlisted him to helm a new Manhattan outpost (45 Rockefeller Plaza).
Alam calls Mediterranean food his passion, and at Limani, he’s installed a menu based on fresh ingredients, some of which are imported from across the Atlantic. “We want to keep people healthy with fresh ingredients,” he says. “We look for small vendors, farms, and fishermen, and we look for something new.” He’s getting some of this fish locally, but much is coming from the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Italy and Portugal.
His menu includes trikilino bottarga, a cured grey mullet served with crostini; organic salmon with Fresno chiles; big eye tuna over a bed of Swiss chard; Portuguese barbouni made with baby red mullet from Greece; and Astakomakaronada, lobster with linguini and tomato sauce. You’ll also find steaks on the list, like a 36-ounce tomahawk.
Limani’s address is an 8,000-square-foot space with a white marble floor, sandstone columns, and a pool featuring a commissioned fish sculpture. Alam says he’s trying to bring upscale finesse to the menu, too.
As for beverages, look for more than 400 bottles of wine, domestic and international beers, and a full bar. Some of the bar space will also be dedicated to raw bar offerings, like oysters and sashimi.
Limani opened just over a week ago, and is open for lunch and dinner daily.