After a brief lull, the Greek restaurant war has resumed in Roslyn: Limani Mezze has opened a few blocks north of Kyma, in the swank Harbourview Shoppe-ing center that also houses Besito and Kotobuki. The two-week-old restaurant takes over the old CoolMess space, but it has banished all traces of ice cream from the décor. The space is sleek and cool, dominated by shades of white and Aegean blue with accents of blond wood.
This is the third Long Island outing for the Limani group, headed by Christos Spyropoulos, who raised the bar on Greek cuisine when, in 2008, they opened the first Limani three miles east on Northern Boulevard. In 2018, they opened Oniro Taverna in Woodbury.
The menu at Limani Mezze is largely composed of almost 40 small plates ("mezze") divided into "the sea," "the land," and "the harvest (and cheese)." It’s a tempting lineup that includes grilled calamari, shrimp Santorini, huge head-on prawns, fried baby smelts, salt-cod fritters, grilled loukaniko sausage, chicken or pork sheftalia (minced, spices meat encased in caul fat then grilled), moussaka spring rolls, Kobe beef sliders, spanakopita, grilled mushrooms and sesame-wrapped feta with sesame seeds. Most prices are in the $10 to $14 range.
There’s plenty of fish — a raw bar, "Mediterranean" sashimi and ceviche, lots of shrimp / octopus / calamari starters and six fish mains — but it is not a piscatory temple like the original Limani, where scores of sea creatures recline on a bed of ice and whole fish, many of them imported, dominate. (Prices here are also significantly lower, topping out at $34 for sesame-crusted tuna.)
You’ll also find salads, soups, pasta, grilled meats (including kebabs and a burger) and a thoughtful wine list that incorporates many Greek selections in both bottles and glasses. Of course there are specialty cocktails.
Roslyn’s Greek culinary epic has more twists and turns than the Peloponnesian War. In 2009, a year after Limani opened on Northern Boulevard, Trata Estiatorio opened on Old Northern Boulevard in the village. It closed in 2011 and was replaced two years later by Kyma. That same year, 2013, a group led by chef Michael Psilakis opened MP Taverna a few blocks south. For six years, Long Island’s three best Greek restaurants were all located within a mile of one another. MP Taverna closed in 2019 — a few months later, the building was transformed into the emphatically non-Hellenic Roslyn Social.
Both Limani and Kyma trace their tangled lineage to Estiatorio Milos, the lavish and groundbreaking Greek seafood restaurant that opened in midtown in 1997. Limani’s current corporate executive chef, Peter Spyropoulos, was the opening chef at Milos. Kyma’s managing partner, Reno Christou, was a manager at Milos and was part of the team that opened Limani. Kyma’s chef, Chris Kletsides, was the opening chef at Limani.
Limani and Kyma are also battling it out in Manhattan, the former in Rockefeller Center, the latter in the Flatiron District.
Limani Mezze is at 1512 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-801-0881.