Last week, the G-Team celebrated our first winter holiday together at Loi (208 W. 70th St. NYC). http://www.restaurantloi.com/
As we sat down to our appetizers, we were greeted by none other than Maria Loi, the eponymous chef and proprietor of this new Greek restaurant on the UWS (and friend of Guillaume!). Although this establishment is new, Maria herself is no neophyte when it comes to the worlds of cooking and business- she is considered Greece’s answer to Martha Stewart, where she owns another restaurant, produces and hosts cooking shows, and has authored several cookbooks, including the official Olympic Games cookbook in Athens 2004.
Now, the food: at our party of six (which included our significant others), we ordered several appetizers, with plenty of seafood and a few vegetarian options. The adventurous eaters sampled sea urchin, but we also savored mussels, Greek salad, calamari, spinach and feta pie (which you see in the top photo), and homemade breads. By this point, we had not even tried our main courses yet! We had vegetarian moussaka made with eggplant, Traditional moussaka made with lamb, scallops, and Veal dishes. Following a complimentary dessert sampler from Maria, we met her up front by a table laden with baskets of fruits and wines, where she extended a warm welcome to all of us. “Philoxenia”, she explained, “is the custom in Greece where we extend a loving hand of hospitality to strangers. That is the focus behind my restaurant and my work”. Clearly a natural hostess, Maria guided us through the kitchen where she prepares all her recipes. There are no deep fryers, but rather a steaming oven and a grill, as her emphasis is on healthy cooking and natural, fresh ingredients.
While we strongly encourage you to visit Maria’s restaurant, you can also create a delicious traditional Greek meal for your loved ones at home! Loi has authored several cookbooks, featuring not only recipes for every course, but also an introduction to the regions of Greece and their culinary traditions. Although she is always extending her table to anyone that walks in her restaurant or opens her books, her passion remains to Greece, where she is truly an ambassador!
Here are some popular recipes from her cookbook:
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