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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Peachy Picks Ammos

It's time to go greek, Manhattan!

And the best way to do that is to have dinner at Ammos, conveniently located near Grand Central for our Connecticut readers!  Oooh you know who thinks Connecticut is the best state.

Ammos was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:

It is by far the best greek restaurant we have ever encountered.   As you know, Peachy Deegan is a good Catholic girl who graduated from Boston College where there was no greek life; everyone shared their beer.  She loved it.  But now that she's living in Manhattan the time to go greek has come.  Ammos totally has it together, down to every last detail.  We sat at a lovely table near the window in the corner, and the sunlight that streams into Ammos combined with the upscale authentic decor make for a delightful atmosphere.  Peachy sipped on the Xinomavro blend Rose- Averof, Fresco, Strofilia, Metsovo, Greece all night and it had a crisp flavor and a smooth finish.  
80% of all ingredients of Ammos are imported from Greece, and they believe that there is no other restaurant in Manhattan that boasts as high of a percentage of ingredients from Greece in their menu.  Every person we met there was also greek from the friendly Maitre D Ike Gizas to General Manager Stamati-Loma Pelardis. That is Stamati above serving the Pikilia with assorted dips containing crushed almonds and garlic, pink salmon mousse (Peachy preferred it!), smoked eggplant, greek yogurt and red crushed pepper and feta.
You know the crabcake queen ordered them!  In comparison to others, the crab was excellent and these were on the spicy side!  The texture was good and we liked the greenery around it as well as the fact that they thoughtfully put the sauce on the side.  Peachy is Irish and not a fan of sauces in excess...but you know that.   This is review #63....
Though she is convinced that the grilled fish alone is simply divine, as she had it the last time she swung by Ammos, Peachy Deegan ordered the Seafood Risotto.   Tiger Shrimp, scallops, white truffle and wild mushroom risotto finished with a Sancerre was absolutely exquisite.  Some Risottos can be heavy and dreadful, other risottos can be watery and tasteless, but Goldilocks Peachy found this Seafood Risotto to be just right.  Packed with flavor that was just enough without being ridiculous, this is a welcome new addition to the Ammos menu and Peachy recommends it.  The Chilean Sea Bass that we also tried was a total knockout and worthy of your dinner entree order as well.   The walnut cake was her favorite dessert, though she wonders why Greek people don't depend on chocolate as much as she does.  The Yiamas dessert wine was a fabulous companion to this final course.
Perhaps spending more time at Greek restaurants is the answer to Peachy's ongoing battle with chocoholism!  In all seriousness though the walnut cake trumped the apple tarte, yogurt and cheesecake desserts in her humble opinion.  But don't just listen to Peachy.  The esteemed panel came, and said:

If you’re in search of classic, delectable Greek food prepared to perfection, look no further than Estatorio Ammos, located just steps away from Grand Central Station, on the corner of Vanderbilt and E. 45th St. Open, airy, and authentically decorated like a Greek tavern, this gem of a restaurant simply blew us away! Not only was the food exceptional, but the ambience was terrific, and the staff was attentive, friendly and helpful. At the recommendation of our fabulous maitre d, Ike, we sampled the Pikilia platter, which featured five traditional Greek dips, served with pita bread. Although they were all excellent, my personal favorites were the htipiti (red peppers, feta, and olive oil) and the melitzanolsalata (smoked eggplant, onions, tomato, and olive oil). For my first course, I opted for the Ammos Feta, which was absolutely delicious. A block of dodonis feta cheese, served with green pepper, tomato, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil, all baked together and served wrapped in foil, this was a virtual explosion of flavor in my mouth. Tangy, spicy, and sweet flavors all combined to make one outstanding dish. 
After our appetizers, we were served two salads: the Horiatiki Salata and the Patzaria Skordalia.  The Horiatiki Salata was a traditional Greek country salad, filled with juicy beefsteak tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, and feta. The ingredients were all remarkably flesh and flavorful, and I found this salad thoroughly enjoyable. The Patzaria Skordalia consisted of sweet, tender roasted beets and a classic, savory skordalia. For my main course, I decided to try the Kotopoulo, which was a braised free range chicken and stewed organic vegetables served in an agiorgitiko wine tomato sauce. I fell in love with this dish immediately – the sauce was unbelievably tasty, and the chicken and vegetables were perfectly cooked. The dish was similar to a French coq au vin, but with a distinctly Greek twist, thanks to the spices used in the sauce as well as the different vegetables included. It was, hands down, one of the best dishes I’ve tasted in recent memory. And, as if that weren’t enough, an additional entrée was sent to the table for all of us to enjoy, and enjoy we did! The entrée was the Plaki, which was a Chilean sea bass braised in tomato, fennel, and extra virgin olive oil, and served with organic beekfsteak tomato and fingerling potatoes in a tomato broth. Again, the flavors were outstanding, and the fish was beautifully prepared - perfectly light and flaky. Although we’d nearly reached our limit after the Plaki, we did manage to find some room for the superb array of desserts which were brought to our table. A Greek yogurt topped with dried cherries and pistachios, a light, moist, and delicious walnut cake, a fantastic apple tart (Milopita), and cheesecake (Manouri Cheesecake) rounded out the dessert smorgasbord, and each of them was first-rate! The cheesecake, made from sheep’s milk cheese, was dense and sweet, while the walnut cake was so light and airy, it just melted in our mouths. 

The apple tart was prepared with halvah (a sweet sesame taste), which gave it more complexity than a traditional apple tart, and it was beautifully presented. And the Greek yogurt provided an excellent bit of tanginess, for those who are not big on sweets.

Fantastic is not a word I just casually throw around but it certainly describes my experience at Ammos last night. It was quite simply the best Greek restaurant I have ever been to, in New York City or any other city for that matter. I love sauces, there I said it. So to find a place so convenient to get to that serves an array of amazing sauces I was hooked. The Keftedes were sublime. Ground sirloin meatballs in a thick flavorful tomato and basil sauce were the perfect appetizer. Not too big, not too small. 
Served in a quaint little crock with lid I enjoyed every bite. I fully expected to love the traditional Greek salad (Horiatiki Salata) which did not disappoint. Fresh, crisp ingredients were on point. The next dish that arrived at our table, as if by magic, was a pleasant surprise. Pikilia (the dips) offered something for everyone. I absolutely feel in love with the htipiti (red pepper and feta dip). It is one of the best things I have had in a very long time. A relative newcomer to the delights of Feta cheese, I am officially addicted. This dip is a must have. My Makaronia tis Yiayias (Grandma’s pasta) was so unique and delicious I could hardly stop talking about it. The cinnamon and spice was a perfect mix. 

The meat sauce was filled with savory pieces of flavorful meat. I would go back and order the same thing!  
Dessert was tough, not because it wasn’t delicious but I had precious little room left. However, being the trooper I am, I sampled all four that came to the table. The Manouri cheesecake was my favorite- but the Milopita (apple tart) was good too. The cappuccino was perfect and I was a fan of the square cup and saucer. The service could not have been better. The water glasses never dipped below half full and we were made to feel like we could have lingered all night without ever being rushed. You know you are at a fab place when you use your blackberry to recommend it to others while you are half way through the appetizers! Ammos was a perfect meal and should not be missed.
We recently dined at Ammos, a fabulous, authentic Greek restaurant located in midtown New York (45th Street betw Park and Madison). Ammos specializes in seafood and gourmet, healthy Greek cuisine. The restaurant is quite spacious and decorated tastefully in a rustic, Greek taverna style with high ceilings and modern, elegant tables. There is also a bar. Upon entering, we were greeted and seated by Stamati Loma, the managing partner, who attended masterfully to our every need. We tried the Spanakopita or traditional Greek pie for an appetizer. We found it very fresh, light and the best we have tasted outside of Greece. Next, we sampled the Horiatiki Salati or Greek salad with feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and peppers. It was also fresh and full of flavor. We sampled the red sangria which was an excellent choice, not too sweet or too strong, just right. For the main course, we ordered the Tuna steak in a light, yellow tomato dressing with fingerling potatoes. The tuna was a delight and was cooked perfectly with robust natural flavor. We highly recommend the tuna as one of the top dishes on the menu. It is very simple and not heavy so that one can indulge in various appetizer and dessert and not feel guilty. Ammos is the best Greek restaurant we have been to in NYC and even dare we say in the U.S. We highly recommend Ammos for its authentic Greek cuisine, outstanding service levels and ambient environment. It is a perfect spot for a romantic date though given its versatility is also perfectly suited for a corporate dinner with colleagues or clients.

Peachy Picks Ammos!
Ammos is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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