As someone who reviews restaurants for a living, it’s always a wonderful treat when one really surprises you. Such is the case with recently opened 1633, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. You won’t be able to sneak a peek inside, as small porthole-type windows guard against sidewalk rubberneckers. And instead of entering through the main dining room like most restaurants, you will be escorted inside through the kitchen, where you will receive a small snack from the chef, before proceeding on to your table.
The dining room itself is a treat, with floral wallpaper on the ceiling, a flowing fountain, neon lights, and a smorgasbord of other details, which somehow all work together to create a fun dining experience. The restaurant serves mezepoli-style cuisine with whimsical, playful names and style — chef Dionisis Liakopoulos reconstructs common Greek dishes into new and exciting fare that excites diners. We started with the Mousse-AKA, a short rib, zucchini and eggplant ratatouille with torched bechamel and graviera chips. This is a must-have item! It was so satisfying we could have left after this dish and been happy. We also tried their potato croquettes, which were hearty and very addictive.
For the main show, we tried two highly recommended dishes — the Lazy Beef (braised short rib, trahana risotto, tomato molasses) and Gregory’s Comfort (roulade of organic chicken, sliced fries, roasted tomatoes, horned peppers, graviera). The former was definitely my favorite of the two, with plenty of flavor a new variation on risotto I hadn’t tried before, while the latter had a nice, crispy skin to it and was juicy and tender.
Paired with our meal, we tried two of Zane Harris’s cocktail concoctions. The Moro Mou is a spin on a margarita, with tequila, lime, salted pistachio orgeat and nutmeg, giving it a nutty flavor to balance out the sweetness, while Jen’s Blossom was a lighter, more refreshing choice with old tom gin and strawberry-rhubarb-black pepper srub.
With all deliciousness of dinner weighing us down, dessert seemed unthinkable by the end of the meal. Despite our protests, the chef still brought us out a treat of a small chocolate jelly type sweet, which left us feeling just a little bit sweeter.
1633 is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm-2am.
Twisted Talk: Have you been to 1633 yet? What do you think of this unique menu? Discuss below!