PRIME STEAKS. LEGENDARY SERVICE.
The Shops at Riverside
One Riverside Square • Hackensack, NJ 07601 • 201.487.1303
Sleek and sophisticated, The Oceanaire provides
the perfect setting to enjoy an unrivaled atmosphere
where you will indulge in tantalizing chef creations,
exceptional wines and exquisite desserts. Call or visit us
online and make your reservation today.
The Shops at Riverside
175 Riverside Square Mall • Hackensack, NJ 07601
201.343.8862 • theoceanaire.com
Flown in Daily.
they own outside Krokees in Southern
Greece, worked by tenant farmers.
Nikos, who has a background in architecture, is already at work on a renovation of the restaurant to begin in 2016.
One thing that doesn’t need an update
is the menu, which deftly combines
tradition with modernity. One of those
traditions is the daily feeding of the
sourdough starter—which, having been
brought from Greece in 1969, is the oldest living thing, other than the humans,
that makes Oceanos Oceanos. Mixing
sourdough with pumpernickel dough,
chopped shallot, garlic, white onion and
herbs de Provence produces the restaurant’s signature marbled loaf coated
with sesame seeds on the bottom. The
bread is so good diners often ask for
a loaf to take home. Don’t be shy. The
family is happy to oblige at no charge.
Modernity on the menu is exempli-
fied by the excellent 10-ounce grilled
filet mignon (served with a porto-
bello mushroom cap, crispy pancetta
and a lavender-peppercorn-cabernet
demi-glace) and fried calamari (with a
delicious sweet-spicy Thai chili sauce).
There are superb crab cakes with Dijon
aioli, crispy coconut-coated shrimp and
mussels Lyonnaise sautéed in Dijon
mustard, garlic and white wine.
Modernity even creeps into the $15
starter of four Greek spreads, all excellent. Taramosalata, made with whipped
salmon roe; hummus; and roasted
eggplant are classic. The fourth spread
is made from feta, manouri and graviera
cheeses puréed with roasted red pepper.
Some of the treasures fetched from
Hunts Point receive modern treatment,
such as Arctic char with lime and ginger
beurre blanc and yellowfin tuna with ginger, noodles, scallions and soy vinaigrette.
Yet for the most part, the family’s heart
aligns with tradition. “We like to keep it
simple, keep it Greek,” Nikos said. That
largely means whole fish cooked on the
wood-burning grill. Whole red snapper,
brushed with olive oil and seasoned just
with salt and pepper, was moist and fla-
vorful, and came with a perfectly cooked
medley of string beans and carrots.
A deservedly popular side dish (which
comes with certain entrées) is lemon potatoes. Yukon Golds are sliced, marinated
overnight in olive oil, lemon juice, salt
and pepper, then roasted. They emerge
irresistible and almost buttery.
Not everything works. Shrimp
scampi were overcooked, the garlic-herb butter sauce unaccountably sweet.
Colorado lamb chops, cooked medium
rare, as ordered, had a too-sweet herbed
red wine and shallot sauce.
Fortunately, desserts were exceptional, especially ekmek (shredded
filo topped with custard and pillowy
meringue); galaktoboureko (a custardy
cousin of bread pudding); and a cultural
outlier, tiramisu, made with sponge
cake instead of ladyfingers. Peter’s wife,
Varvara, bakes wonderfully crunchy
Greek butter cookies, free on request
with a cup of coffee.—SHANNON SARNA