The Robs Heart Kefi; Gael Greene Hits the Hawaiian Tropic Zone

Kefi's four-star feta meze.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux for New York Magazine


It’s an odd food section this week: Gael Greene goes to a restaurant most critics wouldn’t go near; four restaurants open all at once, and not one of them in a familiar genre; a chef describes a dangerous encounter with Adam Platt’s ravenous actor brother; and in the review, Rob and Robin bestow a rare four-star review on the Upper West Side’s Kefi.

Rob and Robin are all aglow about Kefi, Michael Psilakis’s scaled-down version of the former Onera. “Even in the depths of winter,” they write, “Kefi distinguishes itself with vibrant, vivid flavors that wake up hibernating taste buds.”
Related: Psilakis Casting Aside Intellect and Technique [Grub Street]

• The Insatiable Critic, meanwhile, returns to the kind of carnal setting that she immortalized in the seventies – the bikini-filled scene at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone, where the food turns out to be surprisingly good, courtesy of he-man chef David Burke.
Related: Hawaiian Tropic Zone's Tina Marino Probably Won't Be Sharing Her Life With You [Grub Street]

• Openings introduces four totally disparate restaurants: A Catalan restaurant, Mercat, which promises to deliver a regional Spanish food New York hasn’t seen very much of; Open the Sesame is inspired by Asian street food; the Inn LW12 is a Canadian gastropub, of all things; and Pio Pio Salon, on the site of the former Sipan, is another addition to the noble family of Pio Pio fried chicken restaurants.

• Rob and Robin interview Degustation chef Wesley Genovart, who talks about his fellow chefs, his cooking, and gives this particular pearl: “We’ve had Adam Platt’s brother, Oliver, and he was the coolest guy ever … He had the eggs, the squid, the lamb, and his wife had the salad. I think he ate her egg, too.”

• The Short List rounds up three events in which women vintners get their day in the sun.

• And finally, In Season delivers the perfect thing for a cold winter night: Chanterelle’s David Waltuck’s turnip-and-potato gratin.

The Greek System
Hawaiian Tropic Zone
Restaurant Openings: Mercat, Open the Sesame, The Inn LW12, and Pio Pio Salon.
Wesley Genovart: Chef on the GrillThe Short List: Grape Emancipation
In Season: Turnips [NYM]