Midnight Easter Dining featured in the Village Voice


Nerai, 55 East 54th Street, 212-759-5554
Heading to a midnight mass or Easter Vigil on Easter eve? Stop into this Greek restaurant after, where the kitchen will turn out traditional Greek Easter fare until 2:30 a.m. The family-style feast includes avgolemono soup, lamb riblets, pork tenderloin, and tsoureki, a traditional sweet Easter bread. And each table will receive red eggs so patrons can partake in the traditional Greek Easter game, tsougrisma wherein players attempt to break an opponent’s egg with their own egg — without cracking their own egg.

Midnight Easter Dining featured in the Daily Meal


“For those heading to midnight mass on Easter Sunday, Greek restaurant Nerai will open from midnight – 2:30 am with a special a la carte menu of traditional Greek Easter dishes, along with other dishes from their regular menu, by Executive Chef Chris Christou (Per Se, Ai Fiori, Dovetail, The London, Corton, Buddakan), all of which will be served family style.

Each table will also receive red eggs so patrons can partake in the traditional Greek Easter game, tsougrisma. Specials include Mageritsa Soup – traditional Greek soup made from lamb offal;  Avgolemono soup (lemon egg soup); Crispy Sweetbreads; Roasted Lamb with lemon potatoes; Maccaronara pasta – Mizithra cheese, browned butter, and meat sauce; Pork Tenderloin with stewed gigantes beans and crumbled feta cheese; and Tsoureki, a traditional sweet Easter bread.”

Greek Appetizers – The Perfect Start to a New Relationship

How do you break the ice on a first date while waiting for the main course? Most restaurants have starters that can be messy and don’t allow for conversation. It’s hard to be romantic when you are trying to navigate greasy finger foods.

At Nerai, appetizers abound that allow you to enjoy yourselves and talk leisurely while enjoying decadent starters that don’t require a pile of paper napkins on the side. Try any of the following while you wait for your perfectly prepared entree, and take the time to get to know one another!

  1. A plate of warm, enticing pita bread paired with three spreads chosen from an array of six possibilities is ideal. It’s finger food without the mess, and you can decide together which spreads to choose; mild hummus, spicy feta, traditional tzatziki, fava, skordalia or tamara.
  2. Chips Nerai is another wonderful choice – a Nerai specialty, these crisp fried slices of zucchini and eggplant are served with a tasty tzatziki sauce and provide a new twist on a familiar type of food.
  3. Crab cakes prepared from jumbo lump Maryland crab with a mastiha remoulade or smoked eggplant with parsnip chips, ouzo yogurt and roasted red peppers are other choices that are exotic but not too alarming if she’s not familiar with Mediterranean fare.
  4. For the more adventurous, try the stuffed calamari with lemon oil, feta and cilantro pesto, or dive into the grilled octopus with chickpeas, red pepper and latholemono. Alternately, enjoy the Fisherman’s Carpaccio, ouzo marinated cucumbers with olive jus and yogurt foam.
  5. Traditional Greek choices include saganaki, pan fried kefalograviera with lemon; or spinach pies made with filo, feta, mixed greens and ouzo yogurt dip.
  6. For hearty appetites, or those who plan to order a smaller entrée, the decadent duck moussaka is an excellent choice; it is prepared with roasted potato and eggplant layers and served with a delicious kefalotiri béchamel.

Whether you and your date have both tried modern Greek cuisine before, or are virgins to the delights of our cooking, Nerai is certain to become a place you will visit again, thanks to appetizers that delight all of your senses and prepare you for a comfortable meal in each other’s company!



Healthy Greek and Mediterranean Food

Greek and Mediterranean diets puzzle many who see the slightly higher fat content and think it must be a fattening way to dine. However, they fail to see that the kinds of fats used in such dishes are “good” fats – meaning they don’t actually make you gain weight, and that the rest of the foods are wholesome, healthy and certain to improve your overall wellbeing.

Proteins and Oils

Greek and Mediterranean foods use primarily high quality olive oils for cooking, and the added fats from fish dishes are also super healthy and come with great flavors. Mediterranean peoples usually eat fresh fish more than any other meat based protein source, with chicken in second place and veal, beef, pork and so on in distant third. They also get healthy protein from sources such as nuts and seeds.

Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables

The Greek and Mediterranean love affair with colorful veggies is easy to understand – unlike many Americans, who only know two ways to cook vegetables (boil them to death or batter coat and deep fry them), the peoples of Greece and the Mediterranean have a variety of ways to cook seasonal veggies – from sautéing in a delightful sauce, roasting them (beets done this way are sublime), and adding them to a pilaf or pasta dish only lightly cooked and still with plenty of freshness and snap. Instead of fried potatoes, fried zucchini and eggplant chips are a frequent appetizer.

Wholesome Breads

While the Western world struggles with a diet heavy in grains and suffers with rising sensitivity to gluten, flat bread such as Pita bread is the norm as a small side to a traditional Greek or Mediterranean meal. Bread is typically used only as a vehicle for a spread or dip.

Delicious Cheeses

The Mediterranean and Greek love affair with cheese is well known – with the all encompassing Feta taking the throne as undisputed regent, although plenty of other delightful cheeses such as kefalotyri or kasseri abound. Spanakopita is a cheese and spinach pie wrapped in phyllo pastry.

Amazing Spices

Mediterranean and Greek dishes are often carefully spiced for maximum flavor. Many dishes call for combinations of spices which have are so common they have their own names: Za’atar is a seasoning blend that typically encompasses dried thyme, roasted sesame seed and sumac; Tabil is a Tunisian spice mixture that typically includes caraway, garlic, red pepper, fennel seed, aniseed, cumin, turmeric and black pepper; and Baharat (common in Lebanon and Syria) is a blend typically made of black peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mediterranean and Greek cuisine at Nerai: you can enjoy great taste without worrying. You’ll be instantly in love and find yourself seeking out more chances to enjoy our dishes!

Sunday Dining at Nerai

Nerai recently started opening for a Sunday evening dining – the first day was February 9th. The full dinner menu is available for diners seeking to spend an evening of luxury enjoying food artfully prepared by two of New York’s finest chefs.

Start the meal with the unbelievable Duck Moussaka, prepared with roasted potato and eggplant layers and kefalotiri béchamel. Alternately, enjoy a plate of pita bread with your choice of three spreads selected from the six on offer – (the spicy Feta will satisfy even the most jaded palate, while humble yet eloquent hummus is a more conservative option for the more sensitive of diners.)

Our Greek and Mediterranean main dishes are cooked to perfection, with carefully handled seafood arriving at your table steaming hot and sublimely finished with delicate sauces and garnishes.

Those with a heartier appetite can order the short ribs Youvetsi crafted with orzo, tomato confit, cinnamon and piave vecchio, or the Roasted Chicken with its flavorful sides of grilled vegetables and grapefruit hollandaise.

Pasta dishes are perfect on a cold evening – Langoustine Pasta for two appears in steaming dishes with 2 lbs of live Scottish langoustines served over squid ink linguine with Metaxa, saffron and tomato confit.

Sides provide plenty of room for experimentation with flavors and textures – tamer options like roasted potatoes and market vegetables are on the menu as well as more exotic fare including roasted rainbow beets, mastiha brussels sprouts with sausage, spinach rice and oregano fries.

For dessert, explore the delicate Lavender Mousse; lavender infused yogurt with pineapple carpaccio, lavender honey and caramelized pecans. Alternately, opt for the Kataifi Ekmek – made with shredded-filo topped with anise-honey syrup, mastiha custard, pistachios and cinnamon – or the Portokalopita, a sponge-filo cake drenched with orange syrup and garnished with dark chocolate sorbet and caramelized hazelnut.

A Sunday evening at Nerai is certain to become a favorite. Bring friends and relax in our beautifully appointed dining rooms, while enjoying some of the finest Greek and Mediterranean food this side of the Atlantic.

Truffled almond soup selected by Metro NY

The Truffled almond soup on our prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu was just featured in Metro NY.


Just the smell of these nuts is said to turn women on (who knew?) But they’re also a good source of fatty acids, which boost fertility, libido and hormone production.

Find it in:
Truffled almond soup at Nerai (five courses, prix fixe: $95, 55 E. 54th St., 212-759-5554)



Enjoy Valentine’s Day at Nerai!

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day – have you decided where you are taking your sweetheart? While typical landmarks and regular restaurants abound, the Nerai is offering a unique dining experience for happy couples this year, with a special menu for the romantic night.

First, relax in our lavish dining room, and enjoy the ambiance while sipping any of our delicious cocktails – Forbidden Fruit is a flavorful mix of Gray Goose citron, quince and lemon, or try the Date with its smooth blend of Advinta vodka, Saint Germain, date juice, honey and cardamom.

Steaming truffle almond soup (known for its aphrodisiac qualities!) will warm you to your toes, and the artfully tossed kale salad with walnuts, crispy haloumi and pomegranate dressing clears the palate for the beginning course of delicious Maine lobster orzo with shaved asparagus, mascarpone and bisque foam.

For the main course, choose either New York strip loin served with Greek coffee / molasses marinade, celery batons, feta-yogurt mashed potatoes and mavrodofni jus; or the Ora King salmon with Greek honey glaze, avocado remoulade and beef crudités. Better yet, get both and steal bites fm each others’  plates!.

Desserts are made to be shared, and the offerings for Nerai’s Valentine’s Day are especially suited. Enjoy decadent chocolate mocha banoffee pie garnished with banana brulee and lime scented whipped cream, and finish off the meal by trading bites of Aphrodite’s Embrace – balsamic macerated strawberries dipped in thick mascarpone cream.

Make this Valentine’s Day an evening enjoying some of the most delicious food in New York, in one of the most luxurious locations. It’s the chance of a lifetime, and your loved one will always remember the years you celebrated at Nerai – and perhaps you’ll even make it an annual tradition!