For 15 years, Adina Azarian has run Adina Equities, a New York City real estate business that deals with luxury rentals. Her firm also occasionally takes care of brokering out restaurant spaces in the buildings it manages, which is how she became involved with Adalya (55 Irving Place, 646-896-1441), the Mediterranean restaurant she’s opening with industry vet Orhan Cakir tomorrow night.
“The space that Adalya is in is in a building that I broker,” she explains. “I was responsible for renting to the three other bars there,” including Dear Irving, the cocktail bar that opened earlier this year. “I started to get some interest in the hospitality industry, so I went to the landlord, and he gave me the opportunity to partner with Orhan and come up with the concept.”
Azarian is half-Persian, Cakir is Turkish, and chef Derek Miles’s grandmother was Greek. So the owners quickly settled on a Mediterranean theme. “We love that food,” says Azarian. “It was a comfortable focus for us.”
And besides, they saw an opening. “A lot of Mediterranean restaurants are fuddy-duddy, or family style, or super-casual,” says Azarian. “This is still casual, but it’s cool and modern. [Miles] has a more modern take on the dishes — they’re clean and pretty.” The chef, she says, is especially proud of his flatbreads, which come topped with such combinations as roasted eggplant and taleggio, and braised lamb and hedgehog mushrooms. A wide selection of small plates includes dishes like bacalao tempura, grilled lamb loin with romesco, and octopus with black garbanzos and English peas. Grilled haloumi with kabocha squash and pears with watercress make the salad section, while large plates encompass duck breast with couscous and a grilled hanger steak.
Azarian says the team is still building out the wine list, but you can expect bottles from Mediterranean countries like Tunisia, Israel, Turkey, and Greece in addition to classics from France, Italy, and Spain. “We’re working on more of a special wine list of stuff you may not come across every day,” she says.
As for the space itself, the team has installed a large bar plus a number of tables at bar height. “It creates a casual vibe,” says Azarian, and encourages dates, an after-work crowd, and groups of friends to make it a regular stop.
Adalya has its grand opening tomorrow, and then it will be open for dinner Monday through Saturday.