Have you ever had one of those meals when your stomach felt beyond full, but when you were presented with the option of more delicious food, you still went for it? Case in point: after eating a plethora of food at Uncle Nick’s, a great Greek restaurant in hell’s kitchen, the waiter asked me if I would like to order anything else. In the words of Mike Birbiglia, one of my favorite stand up comedians: “what I should have said was… nothing!”. What I did say was: grilled shrimp please. Granted, if this was some average diner food I would have stopped way before now, but this was my first meal at what I would discover to be an outstanding restaurant:
747 Ninth Avenue (between 50th and 51st street)
New York, NY
4.5 stars out of 5 stars
It’s all about the grill at Uncle Nick’s. Seriously, ladies and gentlemen, you should take at least one thing away from this review (but hopefully more than just this): when you go here, please order “grilled —–“ and fill in the blank with shrimp, chicken, calamari, they are all terrific and you will find several tempting possibilities. (Or you can be old fashioned and look at Uncle Nick’s menu.) According to my friend who introduced me to Uncle Nick’s, the ideal meal is splitting several appetizers with a small group of friends. Therefore, after inviting another good friend, the three of us embarked on our dining adventure.
After debating the options, we ordered four dishes: a combination of fried zucchini and eggplant, Cretan spiced meatballs, Kotopoulo (a breast of chicken marinated and skewered with onions, tomatoes & peppers), and grilled calamari. The results were phenomenal: I was greeted by the crisp and subtle salt flavor of the zucchini and eggplant which were excellent, followed by meatballs which should be the standard for all Greek restaurants; enough said. The chicken kebob brought no surprises but was equally excellent and one of my favorite dishes was the expertly charred and smoky grilled calamari. After literally devouring my first four portions, I could have stopped, maybe it would have been prudent in hindsight, but no I trekked on. Like any food critic who hears about a good restaurant, I knew my mantra: I must investigate!
I forged on with grilled shrimp and Greek sausage sautéed in wine sauce. At this point in the evening, my taste buds were whirling and I strived to stay alert in order to evaluate and appreciate the additional flavors. By now you should notice the word “grilled” shows up in each of these last two dishes; therefore, my impressions should not be very surprising: the shrimp and sausage were both sensational and again should serve as the ideal for this type of cuisine. So, is anyone out there wondering if I liked my meal at Uncle Nick’s?
Excusing my previous sarcasm, it’s safe to say that Uncle Nick’s is a needed retreat for a taste of properly cooked Greek food. Go with your friends or dare to venture here solo, either way I believe you will be happy with the results.
The blind Food Critic dines at Uncle Nick’s
I’d like to share one final thought with you before I go:
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
– Helen Keller
Thanks for reading as always!