Guests entering Nerai in Midtown East are transported to seem like they're worlds away on the gorgeous Greek island without resorting to a passport. The contemporary Greek restaurant provides a unique twist on traditional Greek cuisine in a bright and airy setting with a lively bar. Positioned on East 54thStreet between Park and Madison, the restaurant's elegantly appointed dining room is blanketed in white. The minimalistic design is indicative of beaches in Greece, where very little else is required to capture its beauty except a few beams of sunshine dancing off the blue ocean. You are able to feel that connection because well in the main dining area, along with two private dining spaces: Cava Nerai and also the Bar Room.
Cava Nerai may be the stone wine cellar within the lower degree of Nerai, where guests can host intimate private events. You choose your occasion, then choose your wines with Wine Director Michael Coll, then curate a well-crafted and paired menu from Executive Chef Moshe Grundman.
Start your meal with traditional pikilia dips and a Horiatiki salad. Then choose from a fine selection of fresh fish dishes like Kakavia, a poached Mediterranean stone bass that's lighter than air, simmered inside a black pepper and lemon consommé and fresh vegetables. If you are feeling more carnivorous, try the Paidakia sti Skara – perfectly cooked lamb chop. You also can't fail with the short rib orzo pasta with feta and tomatoes – a hearty and aromatic dish. Finally, end with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt or white chocolate mousse and Greek coffee.
We can't forget the theater goers, who will be delighted to hear that Nerai comes with an affordable 3-course weekend before theater menu for $49. The brand new menu is offered every Friday and Saturday from 5pm-6pm and from 9pm-10:30pm. Grundman has designed each course carefully using the Mediterranean in your mind. Nothing overly heavy here, the perfect portions so you'll leave feeling satisfied, instead of stuffed.
Owner Spiro Menegatos knows the importance of such a spot in Midtown. “My father is in the food industry and Constantine's family is also in the restaurant business, so it's already in our background,” Spiro explains. “We felt there was a gap in the Greek dining space that we could fill. Something between likely to Grandma's and a fine dining experience.”
To that end, another noteworthy takeaway from Nerai has to be the service. The warmest staff in Manhattan sets Nerai aside from the many other Greek restaurants within the city. You'll feel inspired listening to Michael Coll talk about wines and you will feel satiated by the inventive foods created by Chef Grundman. There's no better method to go through the sense of Greece without actually being there.
55 E. 54thStreet