It is fitting that this week the feature is a Greek Restaurant. There’s a lot of action over there right now, politically and socially. However, Greece still has some of the best and most healthy Mediterranean food in the world. Parea Bistro, in New York City, is no exception.
Founded in 2006 in the heart of the Gramercy Area and just minutes away from the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park, Parea Bistro is a modern Greek restaurant. “Parea” in Greek, is a gathering of friends and strangers. It is in a competitive neighborhood, seeing as though it is nestled between Gramercy Tavern, Veritas, and Craft, among the cities finest establishments.
A recent invitation to a birthday party at Parea, prompted me to write about it and highly recommend it for a celebration. It is perfect for a girl’s night out on the town. The staff is accommodative, attractive and will look after you. It an ideal place for friends to gather for a casual meal, to share mezes (small plates) and everything on the menu is different.
To share, the Spanish octopus is by far the best I have had, called the “Octapodi Psito” it is braised in red wine vinegar for 4 hours then served grilled. The “Parea Keftes” or 8 oz. ground & cured beef meatballs are served with herbs and melted feta cheese. There is plenty in the way for vegetarians – such as the veggie chips, which are zucchini and eggplant slices breaded in flower, then deep-fried. Also served with Tzatziki. The traditional Dolmades are huge.
For the main dish, a must is the “Lavraki” or Mediterranean Sea Bass, which is served whole and grilled to the bone. Plenty for four to try. The “Arnaki Fournou” is another great meal of roasted lamb and potatoes. A no brainer as a side is the Wild Mushroom Risotto with black truffle.
The lunch menu is well thought out. There are many appetizers and sandwiches, but the real deal is the “Fix Prix” menu– 3 courses for $19, choosing an appetizer, entrée and dessert. The Parea Salad features romaine, scallion, dill, pita crouton & creamy feta dressing. The Moussaka is to die for, which is also featured on the dinner menu with layers of beef ragout, roasted eggplant & potatoes and béchamel. If you are hungry, opt for the Lamb Gyro Sandwich with roasted lamb, tomatoes and onion served with fries. While the Baklava is a staple, the Galaktoboureko is unusual, which is a vanilla bean custard with phyllo crust.
Hosting a special event or wedding? The main dining room seats 200 including a private lounge for 50 people. Parea is open seven days a week for lunch, brunch and dinner and can also provide all the equipment for slide show presentations, music and lighting.
In addition, Parea is a green restaurant. The interior design makes use of recycled and reclaimed wood, recycled paper is used for the menus and business cards, and the cooking oil is repurposed into biodiesel. Everything in the restaurant, from the physical environment to the food, is natural and organic.
The Bistro maintains its air of authentic Greek hospitality by celebrating guests’ most cherished events with complimentary champagne. The Parea “Friends and Family” program provides a free bottle of champagne to registered members on their anniversary, birthday and Greek name day, every year. Guests simply provide their email and, like clockwork, two weeks before the big day, Parea sends a reminder to let them know their champagne awaits them.
In addition to free-flowing champagne, Parea Bistro boast one of the largest Greek Wine lists in New York City with a well-balanced list (including half-bottles) that compliments the food and the Mediterranean region effortlessly.
Parea Bistro doesn’t rest on its unique cuisine and décor alone. Ask the manager to crank up the music and bring on the bubbly and sparklers, they will grant your request. Opa!