The Culture Trip, New York:
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.
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 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.
The perfect finish to a sumptuous Greek meal is dessert. Greek desserts come in every conceivable style, providing something sweet for every. Try one of these delicacies at Nerai:
Loukoumades. These are the Greek take on a donut, small yeast risen spheres that are deep fried, much like a donut hole, then drizzled with honey while they are still warm and garnished with candied walnuts. These “honey puffs” are a traditional Greek dessert, and are served at Nerai on Saturdays only.
Saragli. This Greek dessert is a type of rolled baklava, with layers of hand rolled-flaky filo dough studded with almonds and pistachios and served with mastiha gelato. It’s rich and decadent, the perfect finish to a mild seafood meal.
Kataifi Ekmek. This is a chilled Greek dessert, consisting of a shredded filo pastry drenched in anise honey syrup. This sweet base is topped with mastiha custard, which is dotted with pistachios and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Portokolopita. Chopped filo and sweetened, cooked oranges are traditionally used for this Greek dessert; it’s a rich orange sponge cake topped with a bitter chocolate sorbet – the perfect blend of flavors to cleanse the palate.
Mousse. There are two options for mousse at Nerai – the lavender mousse, with pineapple carpaccio, lavender honey and carmelized pecans; or the mavro mousse, metaxa génoise and light chocolate mousse topped with cocoa powder and berries.
Sorbet, Gelato and Yogurt. Choose from a range of frozen flavors including mastiha, tahitian vanilla, pistachio, or ouzo; or try the delicious Greek yogurt drizzled with thyme honey and topped with chopped pecans.
These Greek desserts are a do-not-miss –if you are too stuffed to manage them at the table, ask for a boxed dessert to take home. You won’t regret it!
Having a New York City party? The Greek restaurant Nerai is ideal for a luncheon or dinner engagement. It can accommodate from 75-150 people depending on whether you are holding a seated dinner or a cocktail reception.
The surroundings at Nerai are elegant and comfortable. Two private dining rooms can be combined for your event, each with their own exquisitely appointed décor.
The White room has crisp monochrome beauty and flowing lines; guests are seated or mingle underneath a twenty-five foot high vaulted ceiling covered by a billowing white canopy. Whitewashed walls feature high windows, bringing warmth to the space. Accents of Mediterranean blue flatter an interior that evokes the feeling of dining outdoors on Mykonos!
In contrast, the Midnight room is a serene setting that can be combined with the White Room for larger events. Guests can enjoy cocktails and appetizers under a whitewashed bamboo roof while the surrounding juxtaposition of pressed sea grass lit from below and hanging lanterns offers a romantic outdoor feeling. The white pillowed banquets continue the theme of purity and peaceful tranquility.
The main dining area includes with a full bar done in a subtle nautical theme. Again, the décor is clean and rich, and evokes a feeling of calm and joy. Nerai offers a simple per person setting ranging from $75 per person for cocktails foods and beverages to under $100 for seated service.
The well trained in house staff ensure your wedding event runs smoothly, and the food and drink are delicious. You can book the entire restaurant for your special event and relax knowing your guests will be well taken care of.
This venue is perfect for private functions where an intimate feel is wanted and a hassle free, elegant reception is desired. Nerai can provide the ideal spot for associates, friends or family to celebrate in, and you won’t regret booking our beautiful facility for your special party.
Looking for an entirely new lunch experience? This New York Greek restaurant has a dazzling array of freshly prepared dishes on their fixed priced lunch menu, including your choice of starter, entrée and dessert for $36 per person.
Nerai is known for its luxuriously appointed rooms, elegant bar and selection of fine cocktails. When you arrive, expect to be seated promptly in decadent surroundings and offered a menu. You can make your first selection from the delicious variety of starters, including seasonal and traditional salads, a soup of the day, warm pita bread with a selection of dipping sauces or spreads, or even a heartier plate heaped with short rib meatballs, spinach pies, or crisp cod croquettes.
Next are the entrees. You can’t go wrong with carefully sourced fish flown in daily from around the world, selected for excellence in freshness and flavor, and prepared by master chefs. If king salmon, grilled Lavraki or shrimp Santorini aren’t to your taste, try a tasty lamb burger, an organic chicken skewer, or a spring vegetable risotto. Nerai has something to suit every taste, the Greek influence tempered with a fresh Mediterranean flare.
Finish your meal with an exquisite dessert. Go brilliantly simplistic with the fresh seasonal fruit platter or try the wholesome, delicious Greek yogurt topped with candied pecans and drizzled with wild thyme honey. Alternately, plunge into decadence with the house dessert special – Portokalopita, a moist sponge cake drenched in orange syrup, topped with dark chocolate sorbet and sprinkled with caramelized hazelnut.
The prix fixe lunch at Nerai can be enjoyed over and over, with friends, family or co-workers. Mix and match the offerings for a new experience each time, and if you get to knock off work early on Friday, sample the expansive cocktail menu to add to the fun.
With a new diet fad sweeping the nation every month or so, it’s harder than ever to keep up.
South Beach, juice cleanse, Paleo, vegan, gluten free, sugar free, fat free, carb free – it can be such a struggle to find the right diet. Fortunately, Greek and Mediterranean dining fit well into the parameters of many diets, without going to extremes.
Mediterranean and Greek dishes concentrate on lighter proteins like fish, seafood and chicken, with occasional lamb or lean beef. They pair healthy meat options with other foods that ensure you have enough solid food in your diet to keep your muscle mass and give you extra energy. Nuts are another great place to get a protein boost and can help you have Meatless Mondays if that makes you happier with your meal plan!
When it comes to bread, pasta and more, Mediterranean and Greek food is heavy on complex carbs and light on simple starches. Whole wheat pita bread, healthy pastas and rice alternatives like orzo, and veggies that hit the body like complex carbs with plenty of fiber are top on the list.
The fat content of you food may concern you, but are you worried about the right things? There are “good” fats and “bad” fats – and the meats and nuts and dressings involved in Greek and Mediterranean cooking mostly contain the good fats. Nuts, fish and olives are all terrific sources of healthy fat intake.
Veggies and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are a large part of any Greek or Mediterranean meal. Look for color – you get more nutrients and vitamins out of colorful plants. Fresh is best; steamed lightly or sautéed are excellent preparation choices.
A balanced meal can have Greek or Mediterranean elements and fall closely in line with any number of diet trends. All it would take is moderate edits to be vegetarian, low carb, Paleo, and so forth – just eliminate “banned” foods and find ones that work well for you. Enjoy healthy yet decadent Greek Food at Nerai!
At Nerai, traditional Greek food fuses with Mediterranean flair to bring you dishes designed to make your palate take notice, and diners are talking it up. Here’s just a sampling from recent Yelpers:
Chips Nerai and our grilled octopus are definitely two of the favorite starters on our menu. Customers rave about them, saying:
- “We started with the spinach pies which were delicious, followed by the grilled octopus, which was amazing, served over a bed of chickpeas.”
- “We split the Chips Nerai and the Grilled Octopus. Beware – the chips are dangerously good. They are thin and very crisp.”
- “Their octopus is the best in the city, by far.”
- “We dined on a superb octopus dish and an impossibly light halibut with artichokes.”
- “Great bottle of Greek wine suggested by our waiter then the starters of octopus and vegetable chips turned into a wonderful meal.”
- “…you have to get the grilled octopus.”
- “Grilled octopus was the best I’ve ever had, perfect char, right amount of lemon dressing.”
- “We had an octopus appetizer that was out of this world.”
The Youvetsi Short Ribs and the Lobster over Orzo take top billing in the entrée department, with rave reviews:
- “Dinner was the Short Rib Youvetsi, which is served over a bed of orzo, which was cooked perfectly.”
- “… gotta try the lobster orzo dish. Wow!! … I will be back for sure, and not for a special occasion. Just because I am craving that lobster dish!”
- “For our entrees we had the lamb chops and short rib. Both dishes are absolutely amazing. I personally love how the short rib is over orzo.”
- “Lobster Orzo was also out of this world.”
People love the luxury feel of our restaurant – comfortable but upscale, the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a business lunch!
- “Not overcrowded, nice decor, outdoor seating option, good service.”
- “Nerai is very far from a ‘tossing plates’ Greek Taverna. It offers a creative and sophisticated take on modern Greek food served by a charming staff in a gorgeous environment.”
- “The bar is very sleek, and the dining room decorated in crisp white, which provides an open and airy vibe. Simplistic but beautiful.”
- “The atmosphere at Nerai is very lovely and the service is authentically gracious.”
- “Finally, ambience plus food!”
Come visit Nerai and add your own experience to the list. Enjoy our food, relax in our delightful dining areas, savor our specialty cocktails and wines – and do Yelp about us later.
Billy Zane is best known for his roles in Titanic, Scorpian King 3 and his first screenplay as Match in Back To The Future I and II. We love Billy Zane for his great looks and acting abilities. But recently, Zane turned up the heat with his presence and Iliada at the Fancy Food Show last week in NYC… as the Greek powerhouse in his newest role as Entrepreneur. Billy Zane has partnered with Agrovim, the largest olive oil producer and exporter of Greece: to introduce his Greek heritage in a product that feels like home…that product is Iliada.
Sitting directly across from Billy Zane at the Press Dinner inside upstairs Nerai, I was able to listen closely and get the intimate details of his new partnership with Agrovim and the brand Iliada. I inquired at how Zane first found Iliada…
“I found a bottle of Iliada in my families cupboard. And, I was blown away by the quality, the color, the texture, and the speed at which you know… it casually found its way down the bottle.” –Billy Zane Zane further describes how he proceeded to drink it and bathe in it. Now whether or not he actually bathed in Iliada, we will never know. What Bella does know, is that Iliada is an amazing olive oil from Greece: and Billy Zane not only knows how to pick which movies to star in…But he knows how to pick an olive. After his first taste of Iliada olive oil Billy in his own words recounts… “This is amazing! If ever there is a product to enter into the market with, it’s Iliada.”-Billy Zane
And although Billy Zane’s character Caledon Hockley never got his “Rose” in Titanic… the real Zane has his rose in Iliada. Bella enjoyed a full course meal at Nerai in NYC, and a round of Iliada Rose Olive Oil Shots. Something Billy Zane and Kostas Peimandis (Iliada Business Development Manager), were promoting all day at the Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in NYC. What does Bella love about thisIliada Rose Olive Oil Shot? We love the many benefits! The Iliada olive oil acts as a conductor to deliver nutrients to your body, its taste good and if applied to the skin…the rose in this specific one can help reduce puffiness. Also, it’s kind of a beautiful trend to start and a conversational drink. No need for Silver Tequila…we got Iliada Silver Rose Olive Oil Shots! You can find the Iliada Aromatic Olive Oils in specialty shops and at their website. Billy Zane and his business partners at Iliada have truly made olive oil sexy in many ways: drink, bathe, fabulous to cook with and look at. As we dined over the beautiful and meticulous Greek cuisine of Nerai, prepared by Chef Chris Christou with Iliada Olive Oils… both Kostas and Billy continued to relish the excitement of a new found friendship and business partnership. Kostas and Billy joked they were separated at birth: and appeared to be two olives from the same branch.
The comedic pair told Bella stories of how they met and acquired the nick names “Sexy” and “Pop” respectively, at the Fancy Food Show. All joking aside, Kostas and Billy are very serious about making Greece prominent in the international agricultural market. Billy Zane also plans to take some of his prosperity with Iliada back to the homeland, and give to different Greek charities.
Iliada and Billy were also generous to guests: giving Olive Leaf pins to the female guests and Iliada Logo Cufflings to the men…both imported from Greece (synapeiro.com). We left with gift boxes of Iliada Silver Olive Oil in Chocolate, Vanilla and Rose. We were also given the bottle of the Kalamata PDO (Protected Designation of Origin Certification) from the Gold Selection, and an organic version from the Silver Collection. Iliada does not use chemicals to treat the oil or trees. These Silver Olive Oils have won the Gold Medal for “Great Taste 2012” and Silver Medal in “Innovation Award 2014” by Olive Japan, and the Gold Medal in “Packaging Design 2014”from Los Angeles Competition: making Iliada “Red Napkin” worthy and a kitchen staple must!
Before I left, I made sure to snag a photo with “Sexy” and “Pop”, but make sure to grab Iliada’s Silver line and do a shot of Rose. For a complete list of Iliada Aromatic Olive Oils visit Agrovim.com. And make sure to tweet me @BostonScarlette your favorite Iliada Olive Oil!
If you haven’t yet sampled the cocktail menu at Nerai, you are in for a delight. Enjoy one of these special offerings:
This delightful drink is made with smooth Grey Goose vodka, spiked with quince and garnished with lemon. It’s a wonderful drink for between an appetizer and meal, to clear the palate in preparation for the main course.
This strong tasting drink starts out with Plymouth gin, to which is added a dash of malört (a bitter liqueur), antica formula (red vermouth) and finished with a hint of bergamot. It’s an excellent choice for after a lighter meal.
This delicious drink is made with Tanqueray gin, skinos mastiha (a liqueur made from the resin of the mastiha tree), and crème de violette. This elixar may not be for everyone, but goes perfectly with our pita bread and dips, before a meal.
How do you guarantee the perfect date? Start with Akvinta vodka, add St. Germain (elderflower liqueur), splash in some date juice and finish the drink with a little honey and cardamom. It’s spicy and sweet – the perfect way to end an evening!
Another drink that starts with Grey Goose vodka – this time, cherry noir! Add Disaronno (a fruity amaretto) and black cherry for a deep, fruity tasting drink that delights the senses.
This brisk whiskey-inspired drink starts off with Bulleit rye, and is gently flavored with thyme, honey, nutmeg and mint. Want something that soothes and still has some snap? This is the perfect drink for you.
This light, bubbly drink starts with prosecco blended effortlessly with Cointreau (triple sec) and St. Germain (Elderflower liqueur), It’s finished with a splash of pomegranate for a lovely, eminently drinkable treat.
This traditional Greek favorite is created with Figenza vodka, stoupakis mastiha (a silky distilled liqueur with mastigha flavor), cucumber, and punt e mes (Italian vermouth. It’s a brilliant combination of tastes and goes down smoothly.
Try the cocktails at Nerai during your next visit. Your host can help you choose the appropriate drink to pair with a meal.