New York City
20 February 2013
One problem of moving back to the same neighbourhood (same building, just a different floor and floorplan) is that you know everything around it; it has not changed that much in 3 years. Some things moved, and a few new things showed up. One that had shown up is a Greek place called Rafina, oddly placed across the street from my doctor’s office in a block full of medical offices and residential buildings.
I had high hopes for good food, as one thing NYC can do very good is Greek food. I’ve loved Greek food since living above the rather shabby Souvlaki House while in college in Ithaca. I’ve always used Ammos as a good place to wait for my train out of Grand Central, as they are fast and delicious. Avra, on the other hand, is horribly expensive with crap service but has excellent halloumi (which I love). I wanted another good place within short walking distance.
In the rather windy evening I wandered and found Rafina. It’s a little too “club lighting” for me and that was a bit of a bad sign. Rather empty place but friendly enough service. I sat down and one negative has already appeared — no Greek wine by the glass. For me that’s a “I’m not returning” sign…
After my merlot showed up I ordered…but they didn’t have the atherinos — the smelts. I was gutted as that was the one thing that grabbed me. So instead I ordered loukanikos. They were pretty good but you could barely see anything in this way-too-dark restaurant (I had to seriously doctor these photos…).
This is when the service started to deteriorate as it seems one person is handling everything, and everyone is in a different part of the service so it was getting a little unwieldy. My main showed up soon, some rather unimpressive looking lamb chops.
They were rather boring. To be honest the potatoes were the most tasty thing on this place. It’s a big negative when a Greek place does lamb badly. I was disappointed.
I was going to order some dessert but the waiter disappeared…and one of the few guests in the restaurant began carrying on a very loud conversation on his mobile (while his dining companion just sat there). He kept dropping large numbers (saying things like “billion with a b, not million with a m”) and try to make himself ultra-important. This is exactly the crap I hate about NYC, people wanting to boast for no reason but to be boastful.
I was so ticked off by now I bypassed the dessert and asked for a coffee and bill. The waiter sensed that I was ticked off and brought out a small baklava gratis. I consumed everything quickly and left as the man kept going on his phone. I was going to say something but not today…just too tired.
I headed out into the windy night for the few blocks home, knowing I did not find a place I would come back to. Shame.
630 1st Avenue (at 37th Street)
New York, NY