Uncle Nick’s Brings Greece to Hell’s Kitchen

When I want cheap, wholesome food served in huge portions, a casual setting, and with tons of garlic, there is only one place to head in Hell’s Kitchen: Uncle Nick’s.

Uncle Nick’s is a Greek restaurant (with another location in Chelsea), that is open all day and with a slightly more hip, liquor focused ouzeria next door that really gets hopping at night. When we arrived for an early lunch, the place was pretty empty, but on a Saturday night at 8 pm, good luck getting a table. The atmosphere is incredibly casual in the big and bustling restaurant – people everywhere are ordering plates of flaming saganaki, servers are running around yelling at each other in Spanish, and the scent of garlic and oregano envelopes the place like a heavy cloak.

Horta

These dandelion greens are so delicious that they had even my vegetable-fearing father licking the plate. They are dandelion greens, which are like a cross between spinach and rapini – the tender, silky chew of spinach matched with the verdant, slightly bitter taste of rapini. These were steamed then lightly dressed in olive oil, mellowing out the bitterness and rounding off the harsh edges. Doused in bright lemon, this is a great dish for someone who really loves greens like rapini, kale, or spinach.

Gigantes

Though not as perfectly rich as those at Agnanti Mezze, these beans were still delicious. Large, tender white beans in a spicy, tangy tomato sauce filled with sweet onions, fragrant oregano, and a hefty dose of black pepper. Thick and hearty, this could be a meal alone if paired with some of Uncle Nick’s excellent tzatziki and pita bread.

Greek Fries

The best thing at this restaurant, hands down. Thicker than chips but thinner than steak fries, these round, golden spuds are the ideal combination of crispy, creamy, and salty. Dusted with dried Greek herbs and salt, they need no dipping sauces or accompaniments.

Mahi Mahi

There is always a large selection of fish at Uncle Nick’s, and if it’s on the menu, it’s fresh. It is the restaurant’s policy never to serve frozen fish, and every fish I have tried has been excellent. The mahi mahi was an example of how really fresh foods need minimal adornment to shine. The fish was simply rubbed with herbs olive oil, then grilled skin side down on an open grill. The result was a tender, moist, velvety fish that was unbelievably mild, with an enjoyably fatty mouthfeel. A spritz of lemon was all that was needed to finish this fish – if you like fish, you must get some at Uncle Nick’s.

The zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and potato dish served alongside the fish deserves its own mention. Savory, earthy with thyme and oregano, and cooked until all the vegetables were soft and creamy – kind of like gourmet baby food. Sound gross? Well, it wasn’t…it was awesome. One of the best dishes of the day.

Uncle Nick’s is just the best. Cheap food, big portions, good service, and GREAT food. We didn’t even get the fragrant Cretian Meatballs, the garlicky Scordalia dip or the meaty, robust Pasticcio this time. That’s the thing about Uncle Nick’s – no matter how many times you go, you always have stuff you need to order next time. 
And there will most certainly be a next time.
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Comments

  1. kim says:

    I always get the horta whenever I go to a Greek restaurants, but not every one offers dandelion greens (sometimes broccoli rabes or spinach). The best one I ate was from Agnanti.

    Have you tried the Greek Kitchen on 10th Ave? Pretty nice atmosphere there, too.

  2. petulantpanda says:

    I'm so glad you're reviewing this place! It was the jam; so delicious!

  3. Hungry says:

    I always get the dip sampler here.

  4. Sarah says:

    I went once with Renie and we ate much fattier dishes, that were perfect comfort foods…some melted cheese plate and a noodle dish that resembled lasagna. HEAVEN.

  5. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Kim-I LOVE Agnanti, too!! You have great taste!
    @Amanda-here, here!
    @Hungry-I always plan to order that!
    @Sarah-omg pasticcio…LOVE that!!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] alongside. Perhaps the most memorable component of this dish are the homefries – almost like Greek fries, they are thick cut and very crisp, with fluffy, buttery innards. Barely salted, they are purely [...]

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