4 Berry Hill Rd. Syosset, NY 11771
Nissos description Nissos is a Greek restaurant newcomer in Syosset that has offerings including with as many ... More »
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Nissos twists and turns more than Odysseus heading back from Troy. Both arrive home, but not until they've had a few adventures.
Dressed in bright white and Aegean blue, Nissos' tailored image is inspired by almost every travel brochure for Greece. It's airy and fresh, too, from the billowy, sail-like cloth above the main dining area to the display of the day's catch on ice.
But after a couple of meals here, you'll learn the root of the word "chaos." Service often careens between erratic and absent. Dinner becomes, well, more leisurely than desired.
Warm triangles of pita bread are delivered. Strategically and immediately, order Greek spreads before your waiter vanishes. The taramasalata, with fish roe; and melitzanosalata of eggplant are good. Ignore the inevitable suggestion to have a Greek salad. Pick the crisp, fried zucchini and eggplant chips with garlic-yogurt dipping sauce.
After a refreshing sip of Moschofilero or Assyrtiko, two easygoing Greek white wines, sample tender grilled octopus, sent out dressed with olive oil, vinegar, capers and peppers. Saganaki is an excellent version, with savory, pan-fried kefalograviera cheese that benefits from lemon juice.
But veer away from grilled halloumi cheese, which materializes charred and rubberized, slices separated by rounds of cucumber. Spanakopita, the spinach pie, is dry; zucchini croquettes, drier; fried Greek meatballs, driest.
The stiff, sliced grilled chicken cutlet rivals the meatballs as a prototype of desiccation. If you're feeling carnivorous, the sirloin steak heads the selections. And, if you want it medium, order it rare.
Those glistening, whole fish on ice generally are better fried than grilled.
One evening, the nearly blackened grilled striped bass and branzino looked as if they'd been cooked with a blowtorch. They tasted that way, too. Another time, however, grilled black sea bass was moist, snowy, easy to recommend. Fish are deboned on request.
Jumbo shrimp: gently grilled and good. Pan-fried cod is a generous portion, carefully prepared, and boosted by skordalia, the garlic-potato dip. The deftly fried whiting also is meaty and moist, as are the fried sardines.
Moussaka may be a special, and it's first-rate, with appetizing eggplant and spiced ground meat, topped with an creamy cloud of béchamel sauce. It should be a menu regular. Pastitsio, or baked pasta with ground meat and an equally light béchamel, also merits more than a periodic appearance.
A triangle of baklava and a square of galaktoboureko are the gratis desserts. Fifty-fifty the baklava has a burned top layer. The modest, custard-in-phyllo sweet fares better. But remember a lesson from brave Odysseus -- resist temptation.