Kefi

One of the very first flash deals my wife and I ever tried was here at Kefi, many years ago. We seem to recall liking it. Occasionally they still offer the same deal: one appetizer, two entrees, a side and a dessert. So we picked up the deal and went there this past weekend.

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I sampled a pair of Greek brews over the course of the meal. Both were good. The first was a lager and the second was an unfiltered wheat beer. The wheat beer, $3 more at $10, was the better of the two in my opinion, but the Keo was refreshing, like a Yuengling.

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We started the meal with a classic Mediterranean and Greek staple: grilled octopus on a bed of beans (chic peas and black eyed peas).

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This was fantastic. The char added a great crisp for texture and a lightly ashed flavor to the outer edges of the ‘pus. The meat was tender with no chewiness to it. Coated with a generous to borderline over-the-top amount of lemon juice, parsley and scallions, it was bright with flavor.

My entree was a complete let down, unfortunately. I went with the hanger steak.

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It looks good enough, but the meat was so fucking tough that I had to actually spit several bites out onto the plate. Gnawing at steak is not cool. On top of that, the steak actually had a bitter flavor, from the copious amounts of lemon and the soaking contact with the broccoli rabe beneath.

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I managed to get a good amount of the steak down my gullet by sawing at the hard grain across the bias, furiously shaking the table in the process, and focusing mostly on the overcooked bits that were on either end of the steak (they were easier to cut). Very disappointing. In sum, it was under-seasoned, bitter, over-cooked in some parts, under-cooked in other parts, and tough as fuck. This was actually the worst steak I’ve eaten in all my years of dining in NYC, and I’ve even had steaks at Tad’s! I’m giving it 3/10.

On the plus side, the steak did come with a split and grilled sausage, which was pretty decent, and sort of fulfilled my desire for meat.

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My wife had the better entree: braised lamb shank with orzo.

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The meat was super tender and had a rich stew-like flavor to it. Luckily, she wasn’t able to finish, so I had a good amount of this to tide me over from that lame steak.

On the side, we shared this order of roasted cauliflower. Nothing to get too excited about, and nothing to complain about either.

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For dessert we shared this chocolate mousse with sesame ice cream.

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Eventually, the chocolate flavors overpowered the light sesame flavors in the ice cream, which was unfortunate because I really enjoyed that sesame ice cream. The first few bites, when combined, reminded me of halvah. This dessert could be a huge hit if they pump up the sesame flavors or tone down the chocolate flavors to strike a better balance.

So, in conclusion, I suggest sticking with the staple Greek proteins – octopus and lamb – if you dine here. Those two dishes were great.

KEFI
505 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024

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