What to Eat at Parea Bistro
Hello to all --
Hope everybody ate well at Thanksgiving!
My cousins' next reunion is this Sunday for lunch at Parea Bistro on East 20th St, chosen mainly for convenience of location and modest pricing.
What should I order?? And as important, what should I avoid??
Thanks for any info.
36 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003
Tried Parea Bistro last night when I needed a last minute reservation for 6 somewhere between SOHO and 26th St around 7 pm. Both Parea and Peryali showed availability on opentable. Snack Taverna didn't show availability.
Most of the food was ok, and some food was good, but the service wasn't great.
Hits: gigantes (giant beans on this menu), grilled octopus, fried zuke + eggplant chips, grilled "white snapper" (on the bill, it said fagri, which is red porgy- nicely grilled but overpriced at $70 MP IMO)
Pretty good: lamb riblets- a little greasy, and small portion of 4 for $17 or $18, arugula/beet/goat cheese salad, village salad, horta
OK: dip plate (overpriced at around $14 for 4 dips, 2 tbsp of each type. Melitzanasalata, tyrokefteri and tzatziki were decent, taramasalata wasn't a good version), kefte (giant meatball- the ground meat looked pink and undercooked to me, but some people liked it)
Saganaki was a strange diced version- not cooked until crispy or bubbly. Spanakopita was an ok version, more butter on the filo would've been an improvement. Pita bread served with the dips was typical grocery store pita, not especially fresh.
Wouldn't bother with the oregano rosemary fries.
I was surprised they were serving toasted bread on a Fri night, rather than fresh bread.
The servers didn't seem that familiar with Greek food or Greek food vocabulary. Our main server asked if we'd been to Parea, and when I answered no, he proceeded to give a dumbed down introduction to Greek food. At which point I told him that we were familiar with Greek food, even though we had never dined at Parea before. I ordered most of the mezes, and he made a few upsell attempts, when I had already ordered a generous amount of food for 6. He suggested risotto and roasted potatoes when fries were already ordered. Why would anyone order risotto in a Greek resto? Maybe it was pilafi. He suggested horta even though we already had 2 salads and some veggie mezes. White snapper at $70 instead of red at $60? We took him up on the white snapper, fried zuke and horta suggestions, but we did end up with a lot of food, probably about 2 or 3 dishes too many for our group. If I was doing this dinner again, I'd drop the meat ball, dip plate, fries and spanakopita. So I'm glad he suggested the fried zukes and horta, but I wish he would have let me know if we ordered his suggestions as well as everything else I'd ordered, we'd probably have too much. There's something to be said for a server who let's you know you're ordering with a heavy hand. :-) I don't mind that we ended up with leftovers, but in the future, I'll try to remember to ask the server which dishes he'd suggest we drop, if we take him up on his upsells/suggestions.
Be sure to ask for the market price if you dine at Parea. I had to ask how much the red and white snapper cost. Maybe that's the norm in NYC.
I had to ask for the servers to change our plates between courses. Bread plates with discarded bones were not cleared. Our servers weren't exactly attentive. Service wasn't rude, but it wasn't exactly courteous or friendly, either.