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Feb 2, 2007 07:55 AM

Kefi - review

Eager to check out the new incarnation of Onera, I stopped into Kefi on W. 79th the other night, to give it a taste. First impressions of the space are that it is comfortable and cozy feeling, quite nice. Sitting a table for two though felt a little too cozy, as the tables are placed very close to you neighbors and are really the size of a table for one…we are talking small.
The have a nicely priced selection of wines by the glass. A bonus.
So for the food…to start off, let’s talk bread. The bread, which comes in baguette like slices, sadly tasted as though it had been cut far in advance and had been sitting around far too long. This would be a very nice bread if only it were to be sliced closer to serving. The accompanying olive oil was pleasant and had a light fruity quality.
I ordered the broad noodles with braised rabbit. Unfortunately, the execution of this dish was lacking on my visit. It was overall too sweat and was missing the salted flavor notes from the cheese in the dish. While the little pieces of rabbit within the dish had nice flavor, the overall dish lacked. And sadly the portion was a little insulting. Yes it was reasonably priced, but I found the portion to be far too little.
Of the few bites of my companion’s roasted chicken dish I founded it to be fine, if not a little too acidic, but nothing to write home about.
Overall – I want to like this place, and think it isn’t far off the mark and has potential, but I’m not sold just yet…Maybe another visit will provide further enlightenment…we’ll see.

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  1. My husband and I also tried Kefi tonight, and we were very pleased with it. All in all it's a nice addition ot the neighborhood. We shared a greek salad -- red peppers, feta, cucumber, red onions, fennel (I think), dill, mint, tomatoes -- a nice mix. Husband had the branzino and I had the mousaka. The branzino was good, a little plain for my taste, though he enjoyed it. The mousaka was unusual -- not a layered dish, but a mix of meat, eggplant and thin potatoes with a nice touch of bechamel on top. The potatoes and eggplant had a good texture to them -- they weren't too mushy - and the sauce wasn't too rich or too much, which I appreciated. It had a nice flavor, though I would have liked a bit more salt -- but I happen to love salt. The portions were just right, in my opinion. They weren't those ridiculous oversized American portions, just a healthy amount of food. (I couldn't finish the mousaka, and needed some help from my husband.)

    Thankfully, however, we still had room for dessert. We had spied an empty dish on another table with something bright red that looked interesting. We asked the waiter, who told us it was blackberry(?) port sorbet, which also came alongside the dessert we ordered, a pear/phyllo concoction. It was very sweet like most Greek desserts, but we loved it and that sorbet was amazing.

    We also thought the room was nice and cozy. The table was small but that's typical in the neighborhood. Service was very good, and we especially appreciated the bottle of tap water that they left on the table and refilled frequently. They were very good about replacing the dishes and the silverware and bringing plates for sharing.

    Bottom line: we'll be back. It was a well-executed food at a good price, and we hope they stick around for a while.

    1. Not impressed so far. The front desk seems very overwhelmed and the wait is very very long. I wish I could say it was worth it but after 40 minutes on a weeknight, the meal was not enough to warrant a repeat visit any time soon. And the other diners felt like they were practically on top of me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LilianNY

        We tried to go Saturday night but they were already swamped by 6:30...quite a change from the quiet of Onera.

        1. re: David W

          no doubt they need to iron out service and space logisitics, however the food is great. i alluded very briefly to good dishes in a previous posting

          1. re: jsmitty

            Echoing the above sentiments, food very very good, service and logistical aspects laughable. Crowding and confusion rife at the packed entryway, long waits, rushed and preoccupied servers, remarkably cramped seating (looks and feels like a pre-school playroom), catch as catch can attention from staff...Still, the Greek salad, cod fritters, lamb shank, branzino, walnut cake were all delicious. Some dishes rather too salty (including moussaka) but overall very nicely done. Short but satisfying selection of Greek wines by the glass. Sure do hope things calm down in the coming months.

            1. re: burton

              The food, as reported above, is quite good and very resonable in price, though I'm still trying to decide if it was worth the hour plus wait we experienced on a recent Saturday night. We had the Greek salad, octopus salad, mixed dips, calamari, pork souvlaki, lamb shank, and shrimp with orzo and feta. Two nice bottles of Greek wine and two desserts to share brought the total tab to just over $40 a person. We'll probably try back in a couple months when things are slightly less crazy.

      2. Darn, I guess the portion size is why the prices are so "reasonable". As a poor kid with a big appetite, I thought Kefi might be good for a "nicer" outing.