Friday, March 7, 2014

It's Back!: Kefi

TL;DR: ★★★★★

A beautiful Greek restaurant with great food, polite staff and reasonable prices.

Food: ★★★★★
Ambiance: ★★★★★
Staff: ★★★★☆

Price: $-$$
Number of visits: 2

86th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

Boy, am I glad that Kefi has finally reopened for business!

I had first tried this beautiful Greek restaurant on the UWS early 2013 but wasn't able to revisit until recently because it had temporarily closed either for renovations or due to a flood (or both?). I had semi-monitored the status of this place for months and finally got to feast in some authentic Greek food with a couple of friends.

After a quick glance at the menu, none of us were able to firmly decide on one entree, so we decided to each pick a dish and share everything. Yay for family style!

Pick 1: Selection of spreads for 2
Chosen by my Mediterranean food enthusiast friend, this appetizer was a really great way to start our meal. The pita came out deliciously warm and soft, and the spreads were incredibly good. I wasn't a huge fan of the yogurt — it was a bit too tangy for me — but I seriously loved the rest. The eggplant was so flavorful, the chickpea was perfectly nutty and smooth, and the caviar was packed with spices. Obviously, this was a great dish to share.

NOTE: no free refills on the pita, lol. But only a $1.75 extra charge for more!

Pita with (starting from top, clockwise) eggplant, caviar, yogurt and chickpea spreads ($9.95)

Pick 2: Roasted chicken with potatoes, garlic and dill
Then came the entrees, one of which was the roasted chicken in a creamy lemon sauce. Though this was my least favorite out of the three, it was still quite tasty. The chicken was moist and juicy, and the potatoes were a great companion (duh, classic combo). The only thing I didn't really care for was the sauce — it was a bit too creamy and heavy for my taste, but I am particularly picky about cream-based sauces and soups. Still, though, I think I would've liked the dish more if the sauce was brighter and lighter, perhaps with more lemon. 

Roasted lemon chicken with potatoes, garlic and dill ($14.95)

Pick 3: Tubular pasta with Greek sausage, peppers, onion, tomato and feta
Last but definitely not least was my pick, pasta with Greek sausage and tomato sauce. This dish was fantastic; I loved every bit of it! The pasta was cooked just right at al dente, and I really enjoyed how the little ridges were filled with sauce, which was also quite delicious. Slightly sweet and tangy from the tomato with a bit of spice, it was the perfect companion for the pasta and the sausage. I think the sausage was lamb, and this was very meaty, succulent and jam-packed with flavor. The veggies were also really fresh, making this dish all-around a great choice.

Tubular pasta with Greek sausage, peppers, onion, tomato and feta, which we asked for on the side ($12.95)

Aside from the food, also great were the ambiance and service. The loved the interior design and thought the bright white walls with hints of blue throughout the place were a great touch. The lighting was also perfect — just dim enough to keep you from getting a headache and bright enough to be able to see the menu and take good pictures.

Our server was also very polite and pretty quick on his feet. We took a little while ordering at first because we were swept up in catching up after not having seen each other in months, but our waiter was completely understanding and not pushy.

All in all, Kefi did not disappoint with their reopened service. It's definitely on my list of notable places in the UWS and a must-try for Greek food lovers.

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