Filed under: Dining
These are a few of the creations on the menu at Manhattan's Fishtag, the newest restaurant opened by Chef Michael Psilakis, who has been reinventing what restaurant patrons think of as Greek cuisine for the last five years in New York.
Psilakis will never be called a crowd pleaser. But the patrons and critics who have followed this unique chef the last five years or so around New York City are pleased every time he opens a new place, which has been often.
In the last five years, Psilakis has been Chef-owner or part-owner in six Manhattan restaurants. Fishtag makes seven. They have ranged from fine-dining Anthos and Dona to brew-pub Gus & Gabriel and the original Onera, which opened in 2005 in the current location for Fishtag.
His Onera, Anthos, Dona, and Mia Dona, each earned two stars from The New York Times. Anthos received two, and might have had three but for some of the highly questionable design decor chosen by his former partner Donatella Arpaia. Currently, he has ownership in just Fishtag and Kefi, the latter being a highly successful casual dining experience on the upper West side where Psilakis's Mediterranean expertise shines through in everything from the luscious spreads I can't bring myself to call mere hummus to the Cypriot sausage, meatballs, souvlaki and sheep milk ravioli.
Psilakis has competed on The Food Network's "Iron Chef America," and been named Chef of the Year by Esquire and "Best New Chef" by Food and Wine Magazine.
Don't get the idea that Psilakis is not successful just because he has opened and closed a lot of doors. It is more that he has been exploring the ups and downs of having business partners, eating trends, the economy and the intersection of his own imagination and that of the serious diner. His food has always been excellent and imaginative. And Fishtag is no exception.
Psilakis is an artist with crudo and sashimi, with a reputation for expert layering of flavors. The Sea urchin crudo in ocean water with lemon and cracked tellicherry peppercorn, served in a stemware glass should be a signature appetizer. The water, in case you want to know is flown from Asia; and while sounding like a pretentious ingredient, is sublime, giving the urchin a quality not unlike an oyster pulled from the water, shucked and eaten all in the same motion.