There is a new “it” restaurant conveniently located across from Barney’s and the shops on Madison Avenue. Avra Madison Estiatorio serves upscale traditional Greek cuisine at 14 East 60th Street. Formerly the storied Copacabana was here, and it later housed the Michelin starred, Rouge Tomate. Celebrities, moguls, women who lunch, suits and Upper East neighbours are flocking to this gorgeous space designed by rock star architect and designer David Rockwell and owned by the famed the Tao Group who own several properties in NYC, including Avra an older establishment on 48th Street. But that location doesn’t hold a candle to this airy, two-story space, done in a neutral palette, complete with 8-foot lemon trees, stone from Greek quarries, cream colour banquettes, a large skylight, blonde oak floors and ceilings and a reflecting pool on the lower level, paying homage to the Four Seasons pool that just shuttered their doors forever. The back of the room has “cabana” style rooms with curtains for added privacy. The restaurant is sophisticated, chic and has a great energy and vibe.
The emphasis here is on the freshest of fish and seafood, with many Mediterranean choices and Greek cuisine. The menu is broken down into salads, sashimi, raw bar, fresh fish by the pound, land and sides. One of the focal points of the restaurant is the fish and seafood table which is artfully displayed and laid out, where you can select your catch, if you desire.
The restaurant offers one of the best lunch deals in town. At a reasonable price of $29 you get a three-course meal with generous portions – not the standard small plates synonymous with stereotypical fine dining. We selected the tender grilled octopus, a flavourful whole branzino, grilled and deboned, and the best baklava I have ever tasted. A standout is the Avra chips, made from thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant and meticulously deep fried and greaseless, in a thin crispy, batter with a side of tzatziki for dipping. Sorry Milos, but these were better than your greasy ones. I also had a great shrimp dish served with a potato moussaka.
We enjoyed lunch so much, we returned for weekend brunch. Lucky for us, the restaurant is open seven days a week, for either lunch, brunch or dinner. The brunch menu also offers some great egg dishes, pancakes, burgers and sandwiches. I think the macaroni with bacon and a fried egg is decadent, and there is also a seafood hash with lobster, crab, shrimp and potatoes topped with a fried egg. The grilled calamari is tender and an ample portion for an appetizer. For dessert, we had another slice of baklava and some excellent Greek yogurt and honey. There is a nice selection of cocktails and wines as well.
Manager Glynna Schlesinger runs a tight ship and our server Corri was sweet and helpful.
I hear at night, it turns into quite a scene and a who’s who.
Personally, I couldn’t be happier about Avra opening in this neighbourhood. It is a welcome addition. Efharisto-thank you!