Yefsi, Authentic Greek Cuisine in Eastchester
- The Goods
- Published on Wednesday, 13 April 2016 14:37
- Judie Dweck
In an area where Italian restaurants abound, it is a breath of fresh air to savor the enticing fragrance of rosemary, mint and thyme that await you at the newly opened Greek restaurant, Yefsi Estiatorio in Eastchester.
Chef- owner Christos Christou traces his roots to Cyprus, where his family farm raised sheep and goats, grew vegetables and prepared yogurt and cheeses. His mother and grandmother cooked at the local taverna and young Christos was surrounded by the foods of Greece and developed a passion for the culinary field. In 1989, he came to New York as a student. He studied at The French Culinary Institute and apprenticed with Jacques Pepin, Alain Sailhac and Andre Soltner. Back in New York, he graced the kitchens of Molyvos and many other fine Greek restaurants." With the opening of Yefsi on the upper east side, I aimed to represent the food of Cyprus and Greece and expect to do the same here in Eastchester. Yefsi is upscale, yet casual and friendly. I love to see my guests smiling and happy. I divided my time between the kitchen and dining room. It's important for a restaurant owner to be open minded and democratic. Important ingredients in my kitchen include Greek olive oil, Greek vinegar, our native cheeses, and herbs and spices including rosemary, thyme, mint, cumin, cinnamon and cloves."
As I arrived for a recent dinner, a valet parked my car. I entered the space through a comfortable bar area to the spacious dining room. Brown tufted leather banquettes, pale green walls and wine bottles lining the upper part of the walls. Additional dining rooms ajoin the main one, really nice for private gatherings. I was greeted by Executive Chef Owner Christos Christou, his partner Michael Parpoumas and manager Michael Savidis. Greek music playing in the background set the mood for our meal. It was tempting to get up and dance, but instead we remained seated and ate and ate and ate.
Yefsi translates as taste. With over 25 exciting choices of mezedes (appetizers) and almost as many larger plates you can design a varied menu of many tastes. The attentive and well informed staff brought us a sampler of traditional Greek spreads. We topped the warm pita triangles with taramasalata, a fish roe dip, eggplant salad, tzatziki, a yogurt dip and a spicy feta spread with added kick from jalapenos. Very special was the grilled halloumi, a cheese firm enough to slice, from Cyprus, topped with a relish of tomato, onion and cucumber in a citrus vinaigrette. The cheese was just salty enough and was divine. There is nothing as delicious as freshly sliced beets. Here they were piled up like a napoleon and dressed with vinegar and snipped herbs..Skordalia, that amazing potato based dip, prepared with the addition of almonds gave it a crunchy texture. The skordalia was also paired with crisp shrimp and cod fritters, psarokeftedes, with a balsamic glaze. So many of Chef Christos dishes add a modern touch to the traditional fare. Diced shrimp and gigante beans, appeared next, in a mastic tomato sauce with grape tomato halves and topped with crumbled feta, a fine combination of ingredients. Most enjoyable was loukaniko, grilled lamb and beef country sausage. They were beautifully spiced and were paired with blackeyed peas. A special of the day was the classic spinach pie. Here the phyllo layers were crisp and delicate and the filling of fresh spinach, dill, leeks and feta cheese was a savory delight. Our last mezze selection was one of the best. Octapodi. Slices of grilled baby octopus were mingled with a red wine vinaigrette and sprinkled with capers, onion and red peppers. These tender morsels were outstanding. Yet to be sampled are Yefsi vegetable chips, saganaki, and mussels in a white wine, feta and ouzo sauce, and the list goes on.
The large plates include meat as well as fish offerings. We opted for the plaki, a fillet of pan-roasted striped bass. The perfectly cooked moist fish arrived with a white wine sauce, cherry tomatoes, Vidalia onions and potato halves. If lamb is your desire, try the arni youvesti. The braised lamb shank was fall off the bone tender and served with thin noodles tossed with a cinnamon flavored tomato sauce. Aged kefalograviera was shredded on top. I will return to try Greek orzo with seafood and melted feta, moussaka, and souvlaki. Side dishes of lemon potatoes, green beans, rice with spinach and Greek fries are fine accompaniments.
For your finale try house baked baklava, galatoboureko, Greek yogurt, walnut honey cake, or as I did, a special of loukoumades, cloudlike fritters drizzled with honey and dusted with sugar, just perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Enjoy a culinary journey through Greece at Yefsi , for a friendly and fabulous experience in Greek dining.
219 Main Street (former site of Casa Brusco)
Eastchester, New York
(914) 779 8988
Find them on Open Table
Plaki (Oven roasted striped bass)
4 striped bass fillets, 7 ounces each
¼ cup sliced garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup cherry tomatos ,sliced
¼ cup chopped dill
1 bunch chopped scallions
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place olive oil in a large roasting pan. Place all of the ingredients including the four fillets in the pan. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and serve immediately.
Judie Dweck has been writing about restaurants and food for many publications. She teaches creative cooking to children at Scarsdale elementary schools. Through the years, her articles have appeared in Jack and Jill Magazine, Spotlight, The Pleasure of Cooking and The Scarsdale Inquirer. She balances her restaurant tastings with daily ballet classes.