River view – The city’s streets are alive with every manner of dining: in sheds, at tables lining the streets, at the curbs, in front of the restaurant and at tables lined up in front of what once was a neighboring business storefront that’s now shuttered. While dining a la street is the new normal, it’s nice to have the option to find a restaurant where the sounds and sights – and more and more lately, the smells of the city – can be left behind, while knowing, like it or not, that they’ll be there when you return home.
The perfect setting for a city dining experience that doesn’t include concrete or cobblestone or cacophony is happening at Mezze on the River in Battery Park City, which opened about a month ago. After alighting an Uber and crossing a city sidewalk into Gateway Plaza, you’ll find yourself in the convivial, bright indoor space of Mezze with its floor-to-ceiling windows and seeing passing sailboats and yachts in the North Cove Marina. If indoor dining isn’t your preference, go for Mezze on the River’s waterside dining experience at one of their outdoor terraces with unobstructed views of the Hudson.
The name Mezze on the River tells you what to expect. Mezze – small savory appetizers or accompaniments to alcohol – is a Middle Eastern style of eating. River, well, the Hudson. The menu highlights, after starting with traditional mezze dips like baba ghanoush, spicy feta, tzatziki with some warm puffy pita and selections from the oyster bar (you must have the lush and luscious jumbo shrimp and hamachi tartare) moves on to fresh grilled branzino, lamb chops, tuna tartare, skewers of salmon and chicken, miso bass, Norwegian salmon. At whatever point in your dinner, don’t miss the saganaki cigars. I can still taste the oozy cheese seeping through the phyllo. The gem Caesar salad with parmesan toast is refreshing and baby roasted beets are a robust side dish.
Something a little different, at least for me, were the feta fries. A little salty, but that’s feta. At dinner’s end and with an evening of Retsina, we passed on dessert. Nothing very Mediterranean about them. Just NY cheesecake with bourbon berries and whipped cream; warm chocolate molten cake with whipped cream, and a mixed berry crisp with vanilla ice cream. Yogurt with sour cherries or an old-fashioned Greek rice pudding would have made the cut, but not on the menu. Mezze on the Hudson’s a great in-the-city experience to enjoy Mediterranean food with Miami flair. 375 South End Ave. btw Liberty and Albany, towards the river. Hrs. M-Th, 4-11; Fri, 4-12, Sat, 12-12, Sun, 12-11. Rez: 212 432-1451.
City stuff – Open seating ... that great steel seating that stands throughout the city is a great respite from heavy packages and for just stopping to sit. But it sure can’t happen when it becomes the place where deliverers from supermarkets like Fairway on 86th St. occupy them while waiting for the next delivery order. And it’s not that it’s a matter of maybe once or twice or even three times throughout the day. It goes on all day. While deliverers have to be on the ready, the seating wasn’t meant as an accommodation to supermarkets ... Cannabis calling – Have been trying to find out if cannabis-selling stores will be subject to regulation requirements as are businesses that sell alcohol? There oughta be a law ... Naming names, not addresses – From Erica Sais, who identifies as a Proud NY Voter, Our Town Reader, NYC Democrat, and says: “All persons running for Public Office have their addresses on Petitions, thus potentially endangering their lives and those of their family. State laws must change ASAP.” She’s onto something.