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Opening Hours
Today: 11am–9pm
346 East 21st Street

Stashed way out on the eastern edge of 21st Street is a delicious little Filipino joint. With the sort of unpretentious murals on the walls one might find in a beachside restaurant, this place feels like summer anytime of the year. When it is warm, there are a few tables to sit at outside, which is what we chose to do... and from there we could see into the kitchen. While peering through colorful rows of cans containing products we could not pronounce, we watched as the chefs wrangled meat and vegetables on and off an enormous grill. When our waiter came by, we admitted that we were a little lost, but he ably stepped in to guide our whole party through the menu without overburdening us with too much information. We started off with Lumpiang Sariwa, a large bowl of tiny deep-fried spring rolls. These were delicious- - incredibly crunchy and stuffed with refreshing vegetables. We shared some of the entrees beginning with the Pinakbet. On the plate was a combination of sauteed melon, string beans, squash, eggplant and some other vegetables accompanied by shrimp. The vegetable medley was recognizable except for the melon that was shockingly bitter, though very interesting when paired with the light, shrimpy saltiness of the sauce. Next came the Kare Kare, which is large bowl of oxtail and tripe swimming in a thin peanut sauce. First time diners will find this assortment of flavors odd, but many at our table thought it unusually delicious. The last dish to emerge was the Kalderete, consisting of beef chunks with potatoes cooked in spices and tomato sauce. Arguably everyone's favorite, but perhaps this was simply because it was a little more familiar to us. The spices were more robust and less sweet than an average stir-fry, and the deep red-colored oil that was left behind after we demolished this dish was readily poured over garlic rice as we sparred for the last forkfuls.

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More places on 21st Street

Lost Gem
Merakia 1 Mediterranean Greek undefined


Merakia occupies the space that housed Kat & Theo from 2015-2017 - and while the restaurant maintains the same ownership as before, it also has a different mission. The modern Greek steakhouse prides itself on its meats and classic seafood items, while maintaining a classy, hip atmosphere in its cavernous space on 21st Street. “We built a new team… and a new vision, ” managing partner James Paloumbis shared with the Manhattan Sideways team when he spoke of the switch from Kat & Theo. He then went on to highlight Merakia’s differences from other Greek restaurants. “It’s not white and blue like every other place in New York City. Our menu is not the copy paste of any other place. ” The menu is heavy on steaks and seafood, boasting their signature lamb on the spit ("the only restaurant in the city to do so") while, surprisingly, offering some robust meat-free options as well. “Everything is farm to table, we use fresh ingredients, [and] we make everything from scratch on a daily basis. ” James told us that part of his mission is to bring back the adventure of going out to eat, a phenomenon he has noticed declining over the years. “People don’t like to go out anymore just to eat. You can eat at home, you can eat down the street, you can order your meal online. But to get an experience of nice service, some nice flavors, nice music, nice drinks - it’s worth your while to go out again. ” Husband and wife team behind Kat & Theo - Renee and Andreas Typaldos - seem to have orchestrated a smooth transition from their previous restaurant. As their past executive chef, Paras Shah, believed, "there should be a movie written about the couple's romantic backstory and that he “couldn’t have worked for better folks. ” Andy is originally from Greece, and the restaurant was named after his parents, Katerina and Theodosios. Andy came to New York on a scholarship from Columbia and met Renee, who is from the Bronx. He took her out on a first date “with holes in his shoes and with no winter jacket, ” according to Renee. She added, “The romantic, poetic way people get together. ” Today, they are paying homage to Andy's Greek heritage and according to James, “People have to trust their stomachs and their palates with a restaurant, so that’s what we’re trying to do here. Trust us - our food is fresh, our food is made with care, and we love what we do. ”