New Year, New Tastes – Why You Have to Dine at Nerai in 2015

A delicacy in the heart of Midtown, Nerai has quickly become a favorite of New Yorkers and visitors alike. A blend of Greek tradition and Mediterranean cuisine, dining at Nerai is simple, yet complex, and hinges on hospitality and family.

Chris Cristou

Chris Christou

Executive Chef Chris Christou has outdone himself, bringing the New York restaurant to the attention of both foodies and tourists. Nerai opened in July of 2013, quartering in the previous Oceana space on 54th street, and the response to the high quality Greek restaurant has been overwhelming.

Village Voice instantly complimented the cocktail list, the New York Times listed Nerai on its “don’t miss” list of new restaurants to sample, and the Huffington Post called Nerai “A New York City Greek restaurant that sets new levels for modern Hellenic cuisine.”

With such sterling recommendations, it’s definitely a destination that should be on your bucket list in 2015. At Nerai, every meal comes steeped in the Greek history of friendship, family and hospitality, with plenty of dishes designed for sharing.

Contemporary Mediterranean twists on authentic Greek dishes make every meal a surprise – and the pairings of meats and seafoods with a wide array of fresh vegetable dishes and pastas ensure that everyone in a group will find something on the menu that suits.

The cocktails are infused with flavors of figs, oranges and honey. The desserts are sweet and creamy, with a riot of flavors to delight the palate. Every dish is created from ingredients that are carefully sourced and painstakingly prepared, the result being a steady stream of courses delivered at just the right pace from appetizer to aperitif.

If you haven’t been to Nerai, reserve your first meal now – and if you have, do plan to return in 2015. Our menu is always evolving, our fare is always excellent, and the atmosphere is unmatched.

Christmas Eve at Nerai

Are you looking for a sophisticated December 24th? Join us at Nerai for a delightful evening and a special Christmas meal prepared by our brilliant Executive Chef, Chris Christou. We have an amazing chef’s tasting menu planned, featuring the following dishes (with an optional wine pairing):

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

This elegant, savory salad is composed of gently roasted, fork tender butternut squash arranged over a serving of purple kale, garnished with slivers of pear and crumbled feta, and dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Wine pairing: güner veltliner, wieninger gemischter satz, 2011, nußberg, austria

Brioche Saganaki

Our trademark Greek dish is kefalograviera served with grape spoon sweet and garnished with pickled pearl onions.

Wine pairing: malagouzia, domaine gerovasilliou, 2013, epanomi, greece

Lobster Orzotto

Enjoy a delicately butter poached lobster, served over perfectly cooked orzo and covered in a steaming, fresh lobster bisque.

Wine pairing: assyrtiko, sigalas, 2013, santorini, greece


Halibut a la Polita

Fresh caught halibut expertly prepared and served with a complement of artichoke, feta brine gelée, and lemon dill broth

Wine pairing: chardonay, karipidis, 2011, thessaly, greece


Elysian Fields Lamb

This dish features a succulent, carefully cooked lamb loin dished up with an accompanying lamb neck confit and garnished with a cherry tomato gemista.

Wine pairing: syrah, nerantzi, 2008, serres, greece


Tsoureki Bread Pudding

Complete your meal with a decadent bread pudding covered in caramel and crème anglaise; it’s the perfect ending to a night of opulent tastes and fine company in an elegant setting.

Wine pairing: glykia malagousia, wishes, 2013, eratini, greece

Book your reservation for Christmas Eve soon – spots are filling quickly. Don’t miss this special holiday event at one of the most beautiful venues in New York!

Full Menu

Nerai for Corporate Lunch

Looking for a place to do business over a fine meal? Nerai offers an ideal environment for that corporate lunch, whether you are going one on one with a new potential client or taking the team out after a strategy meeting developed into a brainstorming session.

Our lunch Prix Fixe menu makes ordering easy, and you can enjoy it from 11:45 to 3:00 Monday through Friday. Choose a starter from the wide selection of 10 distinct choices (including the traditional soup or salad, the slightly more adventurous spreads in Pita bread or spinach pies, or the downright decadent short rib meatballs with whipped goat cheese).

Entrees include a variety of dishes starring lamb, chicken, shrimp or salmon, along with the more exotic options of whole grilled Lavraki or Cretan spiced scallops. A market vegetable plate with an inspired risotto is also on the menu for those who prefer to limit their meat consumption.Greek Lamb Chops

Finish the meal with a delicious dessert – perfectly portioned Portokalopita (a sponge cake served with dark chocolate sorbet and hazelnut), a mild Greek yogurt sweetened with wild thyme honey and sprinkled with candied pecans, or a fresh, cold, seasonal fruit plate.

The atmosphere at Nerai is perfect for the corporate lunch. The vaulted ceilings give a sensation of extra space, and the ambience is busy enough that you can hold a conversation without standing out but not loud enough that you can’t hear each-other.

The next time your business meeting runs long or you need a place to meet, skip the bar and head to Nerai. It’s an excellent alternative for professionals looking for a suitable place to talk business – and you won’t get a better meal anywhere else.

Seaonal Greek Dining at Nerai

Are you ready for fine winter dining? Nerai has deliciously prepared and elegantly served dishes that provide a unique and sophisticated Greek dining experience.

From the starter menu, enjoy a healthy dose of protein from the following:

  • Ouzo cured salmon with beet tzatziki, candied orange peel and shaved fennel salad
  • Duck moussaka with roasted eggplant and potatoes
  • Grilled octopus with chickpeas and roasted peppers
  • Tuna tartare with potato kataife and tarama espuma

The entrée menu has more hearty dishes with plenty of protein to keep you warm through the cold winter months:

  • Lamb chops with baby potatoes and asparagus
  • Short rib youvetsi with tomato confit and piave vecchio orzo
  • New York strip loin with butternut squash, oyster mushrooms and mavrodafni jus
  • Duck baklava with beluga lentils, pistachios, chantarelles and fig jus

Winter is nearly upon us, so get ready with hot, delicious, meat-filled meals prepared in classic Greek fashion with a Mediterranean twist from Nerai. Our dinner menu is rich with Greek food to tempt any palate and our lunch menu is Prix Fixe for convenience.

Guests may also reserve a dining room for private events and parties.

Meatless Mondays? Explore Nerai!

If you are trying to reduce meat consumption, but have a hard time finding a sophisticated restaurant with delicious meat-free choices, Nerai could be the answer. The wide range of vegetable based dishes, salads and appetizers that can be combined to make a great meal will delight!


You can always start your meal with warm, freshly baked pita bread and a selection of three spreads from our menu: Tarama, Tzatziki, Spicy Feta, Skorsalia, Hummus or Fava. For a large party, order two and enjoy all six! Follow the bread and spreads with a heaping order of Chips Nerai – fried zucchini and eggplant with fresh tzatziki sauce for dipping. Then order a plate of Saganaki (fried cheese) and a round of spinach pies with yogurt dip.

Nerai Restaurant New York CitySalads:

Want something a little lighter? Try our Greek salad, with Kalamata olives, rye croutons, feta cheese and oregano; or opt for the grape arugula salad with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and grapefruit vinaigrette. Feeling adventurous? Our rainbow beet salad with pears, walnuts and garlic yogurt is a classic!


Try our vegetable risotto, complete with morels and mizithra, or choose from our accompaniments to create a meatless meal: baby roasted potatoes, spinach rice, roasted rainbow beets, seasonal vegetables, grilled asparagus or oregano fries.


If you are simply trying to avoid meat from land animals and poultry, you can also select from any of our freshly prepared fish or seafood dishes. We have seasonal catch of the day, lobster, scallops, and more, just waiting for your order!

Don’t let “meatless Mondays” keep you home with a bowl of soup. Come to Nerai and enjoy excellent fare that still lets you maintain your goals!

The Mediterranean Diet: A Study in Contradictions

The Mediterranean diet seems counterintuitive to many of us raised in the United States. We’ve been warned repeatedly about the dangers of high fat diets – but the Greek food promoted by the Mediterranean diet can be high in fat! How does this work, and why are people from Greece, southern Italy and the surrounding Mediterranean areas so healthy?

The answer lies in the complete way of life and the way the foods in the Mediterranean diet work together to promote health. When the body is healthy, salt doesn’t influence blood pressure and increase the chance of heart disease, and when fats are the right kind, eaten in conjunction with other healthy foods, they can actually be part of a healthy heart diet!

Let’s look at Greek food… At Nerai, we prepare traditional Greek dishes with a Mediterranean twist, creating delicious masterpieces that still hold all the nutritional value you’d expect. From the dips and spreads served with wholesome pita, to the fried cheese, the freshly prepared seafood, and the decadent desserts, Nerai’s men is designed to be healthy and appetizing!

The salt used in Greek cooking is judicious. Olives, salt cured cheeses, anchovies, capers and salted fish roe are all welcome at the table, and don’t cause problems. Unless you are on a strict no-salt diet, you should be able to limit your intake by avoiding heavily salted foods and enjoying the rest of the multiple offerings!

As for fat, Mediterranean food is low in the dangerous saturated fats, and high in the healthier mono-unsaturated fats. Much of the fat content comes from healthy fish oils present in the seafood, or from olive oil, which is used heavily in Greek dishes and is considered one of the most beneficial sources of fat.

Even red wine, commonly served with Mediterranean fare, is thought to be helpful in moderation, containing flavonoids with powerful anti-oxidant properties. Dining out doesn’t have to be a break with a healthy diet – it can actually complement your dietary regimen!

Scientific research backs up the Mediterranean diet against traditional “low fat” diets common in the US. One study was even stopped prematurely and results released to the public because it was so successful in helping middle aged men drop weight, improve cholesterol, and increase heart health!

Make Nerai your Mediterranean food destination for that much anticipated night out. You’ll enjoy great food, drinks and desserts, and not have to feel guilty about it afterwards.