What I ate:
Appetizer:3 spreads with pita and bread- 1) tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, dill); 2) Melitzanosalata (smoked eggplant puree) 3) Fava (yellow pea puree with olive oil and chopped onions)
Main: Shared the fresh whole grilled fish special
Side of Roasted veggies and rice (came in separate bowls)
Dessert:Baklava (layers of walnuts between phyllo with honey)
The reason I wanted to eat at Ithaka is because I went to Ithaca College in undergrad and felt a real connection to the name. Yes, the connection was only in the name but it made me nostalgic for my college days. Not to mention Ithaca, New York has some incredible restaurants (but surprisingly, I can’t think of any Greek restaurants there).
The ambiance of the restaurant was open and airy reminiscent to eating in a villa in Greece (no, I have not been to Greece but this is what I would imagine it to be like). When we sat down at the restaurant we were greeted by the server who presented us with a silver platter that showcased the available whole fish. I cannot recall the names of the fish but we choose one that was silver (it looked like it had the potential to be a tasty fish).
There were so many appetizers that looked delicious that I made a mental note that we must return for a Greek tapas-style meal at a later date. We ended up selecting three spreads; tzatziki, melitzanosalata and fava. They were accompanied by homemade whole wheat pita bread and other white breads such as foccacia (which I try to steer clear of at restaurants since they can contribute to hundreds of extra calories). I wanted to eat every last drop but instead I saved my appetite (and my calories) for the feast that was about to arrive.
The fish was grilled to perfection. It was a moist, white flaky fish that had a very subtle flavor and was probably one of the freshest fish I have had in New York City. Even though I cannot remember the name of the fish I do remember that it was a fish that I have never had before. I was very impressed with the presentation and the flavor. I imagined that a fisherman was just out on the lake and brought it to the chef right off the line so it could be grilled specially for me. I all but tasted the rice on the side and it was nothing to write home about. I had plenty of carbohydrates as the appetizers there was just no room in my stomach for rice. The veggies that were paired with the meal were vibrantly colored indicating that they were not under or over cooked.
Finally, we decided to order the baklava for dessert. As an RD I am allowed to have a sweet tooth. The portion was not too big and after a few bites I was satisfied. This was one of the best baklava I have ever had!
Ithaka has set my standards for fresh Greek cuisine. Ultimately, the meal caused all of my thoughts of college to dissipate and all I could think about was planning a trip to Greece. One day.