Nerai – Delights from the sea nymphes’ fountain
Located right at the axis of modern aesthetics and Greek hospitality, Nerai has always been the perfect place to indulge in culinary adventures or to simply pass joyful evenings with people close to your heart.
However, this Thursday, the focus was less on culinary ventures but rather on Nerai’s impressive wine selection. As one of only a hundred NYC restaurants to win the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, Nerai proudly presented its favorites in a semi-casual setting. Invited by Greek hotspot’s owner Spiro Menegatos and General Manager Michael Coll, friends, family and media tried — to only name a few — wines from Eklektikon, Cava Spiliadis and Craft & Estates.
The complimentary tasting was paired with delicious Greek hors d’oeuvres that made up for some beautiful compositions. Tasting fresh panikopita and zucchini croquettes from Executive Chef Moshe Grundman after a sparkling sip of light white wine certainly qualified for an extraordinary experience.
However, in traditional Greek manner, the restaurant also complimented the modern ambiance of the event with some fascinating story-telling. Not only did I learn about the evolution of Greek cuisine in Manhattan, I was also fortunate enough to taste the same wine Aristotle had mentioned more than two millennials ago: Limnio. To be fair, I did not find any direct quote of Aristotle to prove this claim but a thorough research at least revealed that there is enough evidence to consider it more than a myth.
But the most fitting anecdote of Greek mythology might be found in the origin of Nerai’s name itself. As explained to me by Will Maringo, one member of the very attentive and kind event staff of this evening, the word is derived from the term ‘Nereid’ which is commonly understood as synonymous for Greek sea nymphs.