Flavor of the Month
About two years ago, a good friend of mine, who lives on the Upper West Side, moaned to me, “Why is this area such a restaurant wasteland?” Well, wasteland no more. Atlas Kitchen (258 W. 109th St., 646.928.0522), a Chinese restaurant helmed by Kaiyuan Li, a First Tier National Chef in China, is creating innovative Hunan dishes like sautéed luffa (Chinese okra) with short-neck clams and beef flank in dry wok. A mural of mountains in the main dining room, and soothing colors of blue and green create a peaceful ambience for the fine Asian fare.
Also on the UWS: Eléa (217 W. 85th St., 212.369.9800), a friendly, casual Greek restaurant, perfect if you’ve got a hankering for taramosalata (whipped mullet-roe spread with onions and capers) or char-grilled marinated lamb chops.
For pre- and post-theater dining, Russian Samovar (256 W. 52nd St., 212.757.0168) has all the trappings of a Theater District hideaway. Dim lighting, a classically trained pianist playing, 26 flavored vodkas to choose from and, of course, hearty Russian staples like beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev. Don’t skip the samovar tea, served with pitted cherries and lemon, a real treat and perfect meal finisher.