The owners of hit new Greek restaurant Kyma have expanded uptown with a more casual, less sceney sibling restaurant. Eléa opens tonight on the Upper West Side, at 217 West 85th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, with a menu and vibe more geared to the family-friendly neighborhood.
Owner Reno Christou is adapting his sleeker downtown concept for the uptown locals, meaning the menu is a little more affordable and thus packed with more meats and less seafood. Some of Kyma’s most popular dishes — eggplant and zucchini chips and whole-grilled fish — are still on the menu, in full below, but executive chef David Perez has also added some, such as braised giant beans with tomato, herbs, and crumbled feta or mussels saganaki with tomato, herbs, fennel, and feta.
Though the menu has less seafood in order to be a little cheaper, Christou says there won’t be any “crayons and comic books” for children. He wants the restaurant to be what the neighborhood needs, while bringing a bit of a downtown vibe uptown.
“I’m not leaning toward the impression of kids running around and stroller parking out front, although that very well may be what happens,” he says. “We’re looking to build relationships with what is there.”
The decor is similar to Kyma (and other big box Greek restaurants like Milos, where Christou worked for years) with its white walls, light wood, terra cotta tile, and Greek-style pottery. Here, the light-filled, 40-seat bar room is on the ground level, with a more sprawling, 130-seat dining room downstairs. There are no tablecloths here, and menus are paper as another effort to “tone down” a bit for the UWS.
Since Kyma’s Flatiron debut in June, it’s been consistently packed, and Christou says it has outperformed metrics. Eater critic Robert Sietsema categorized the food as “luxury” for its sleek fish displays and whitewashed interior. Christou worked at Milos for years before going off on his own to open Kyma in Roslyn, and he intentionally chose to not open in Midtown so as not to compete with Milos, Avra, and Limani.
Eléa, which means “olives” in Greek, is now open daily at 4:30 p.m., until 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.