Roasted eggplant dip, baby goat, herby chicken with lemony potatoes: It’s all Greek to patrons of the latest and perhaps greatest idea (yet) from Mike Isabella. He’s the “Top Chef” veteran who also owns the Italian-themed Graffiato and who tapped former Zaytinya sous-chef George Pagonis to helm the new kitchen.
Just to be clear, Kapnos is not your father’s, or even your mother’s, Greek restaurant; the familiar flavors are all accounted for, but the presentations are up to the minute. Thus roasted beets are garnished with shards of green peppercorn meringue, octopus crackles with a dusting of quick-fried amaranth, and the pretty phyllo pies show off roast duck, cherries and pistachio yogurt. Kapnos translates as “smoke” in Greek, and sure enough, the suckling pig and baby goat are imbued with the savor of the hickory fire over which they’ve been slowly cooked.
Not everything excites; chicken souvlaki, for instance, manages to taste both burned and raw, and good luck trying to hold a conversation in the noisy bar. But that still leaves much to admire, including the design and the drinks.
Next visit, I hope to catch the drama from the kitchen counter, with its view of the spits, and launch dinner with one of the many cocktails I have yet to explore, liver willing.