FISHTAG (Upper West Side)
After a long day at work, I didn’t feel like cooking or going to the gym, so I stopped by FISHTAG for dinner and a glass of wine. This is a Michael Psilakis restaurant, who is also the executive chef and owner of Kefi – a Greek restaurant on the Upper West Side. You may recognize him from occasional judging gigs on the Food Network. The front of FISHTAG houses a relaxed and comfortable bar area, which I prefer to the dining room in the back.
The menu is not organized by meal course like salads, appetizers, and entrees. Instead, the dishes are listed from lightest to heaviest. So I chose a dish from the top half of the menu and one from the bottom half.
My lighter selection was the Bacala & Skordalia Brandade “Melt”. Each bite is an explosion of bold flavors, melting together in your mouth to gratify your penchant for salty, savory and smokey tastes all at once. Perfectly toasted bread is topped with a thick garlic and potato based puree (skordalia) mixed with an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil (bandade) mixed with smoked eggplant and kefaloteri cheese which is a Greek salty , yellow cheese made from sheep’s and/ or goat’s milk. This ridiculously delicious spread is topped with pieces of salt cod (bacala), oven dried tomatoes and a light layer of melted kefaloteri cheese. There is a generous brush of thick, creamy Greek yogurt on the plate next to the “melt” – adding yet another layer of taste to this already flavor-rich dish. Perfection.
Just when I thought the Bacala couldn’t possibly be topped in taste and flavor, out came the Smoked Octopus. The tender, moist pieces of octopus are mixed with chopped new potatoes, hearts of palm, snow pea leaves and pumpkin seeds. The flavors from each of these ingredients are enough to make you savor every bite, but there’s more. They’re served on top of a rich, sweet date and green olive puree. Oh my! What a treat!
If you haven’t been to FISGHTAG yet, add it to your must-try New York restaurants.