Day One: Pergola Does Mediterranean in Flatiron
Mediterranean and vegetarian cuisines have become immensely popular, and this new Flatiron entry has offerings geared to fans of both. Live music, a hookah menu and solid cocktail program invite guests to linger, and the restaurant is open until 2 AM nightly.
The Décor: A former botanical business in the midst of the flower district, the space still has the feel of a greenhouse: The glass interior is filled with plants, and natural light shines through. A mezzanine level seats 70.
The Food: Ecuadorian chef Nestor Moina, who cooked at Remi, then Nerai, has assembled a menu with Greek and Middle Eastern influences. To start, lentil soup with chickpea gets a fragrant hit of cumin and a slice of warm pita ($8), falafel comes two ways - with fava beans, cilantro and parsley, or mint, chickpea and tahini ($9); and lamb, chicken or vegetable “cigars” arrive wrapped in phyllo ($10). Larger plates include a mixed grill of baby lamb chop, merguez kofta and kabob ($25), falafel crusted wild salmon and wheat bulgur tzatziki chopped tomato salad ($20) and grilled prawns with tomato ouzo sauce yellow polenta and spinach ($25). Pergola also has a 12-flavor hookah menu.
Drinks: Scott Fitzgerald, formerly of Mulberry Project, has whipped up libations like Jalisco Rose (Reposado Tequila shaken with amber agave, apples, rosemary and lime juice); Spearmint 75 (vodka with lemon, torn spearmint, agave, lemon rind and a splash of Prosecco) and Lavender-Lime Collins (gin with lime juice, Luxardo maraschino and lavender-violet liqueur topped with soda and a mint bushel of thyme). Each is $14.
The Desserts: In addition to ricotta cheesecake and chocolate lava cake, the dessert tray features loukoumades, fried donuts with honey, crushed pistachio and raspberry puree, each $9.
The Music: European “chill out” lounge music
The Crowd: Midtown executives, Chelsea and Flatiron residents, and a few NBA and NFL stars were in the house on our visit.
The Details: 36 West 28th St.; 212-679-4842