October 11, 2004 | Ask Gael

Can this be Greek, or am I dreaming?

         Hellenes will recognize the flavors of home immediately at Onera. Michael Psilakis steeped himself in reveries of his mother’s kitchen, invited his uncle up from Florida to trade recipes for the classics, and then turned it all into a fantasy of Greek food for the 21st century. Seared sea scallops on wilted spinach with a tart cherry-caper-brown-butter-sauce. Crispy sweetbreads with foie gras dumplings in crushed chicken livers with crème fraîche. Braised goat in a brilliant “open” moussaka. Sheep’s-milk dumplings that float. His most audacious fantasies are the raw, jewel-like meze, each suffused with Greek touches. Taste them all. The pastitsio is truly Greek, but with Uncle Nick’s uniquely divine béchamel. Even the chef’s poussin is a marvel of intense flavor. Wife Anna dances around the stylish navy-and-white room; Mom’s walnut cookies melt in your mouth. The place is small, the menu still evolving (my friend is an investor), but Psilakis already has the makings of a star.

222 West 79th Street 212 873 0200

Patina Restaurant Group

Providing a continuous lifeline to homebound elderly New Yorkers