Constantine Kalandranis is a humble, poetic man and a very talented chef. At 33 years old, he’s proving to be a savvy businessman as well. It’s likely that his Nyack, NY patrons at 8 North Broadway, open since December, agree on all counts. A native of Astoria, Kalandranis has a passion for prime seafood, meat, produce, bread and pastry and organic ingredients, frequently sourcing from Hudson county and neighboring regions and importing fish from around the globe. The quality of ingredients shows in dishes, elevated by simple, thoughtful preparations that are Mediterranean at their core. Kalandranis helms the kitchen with chef Hichem Habbas, another native of Astoria. From his earlier days at Anthos, Exo, Gus & Gabriels, Kalandranis brings with him a deep appreciation for smart, straightforward executions that elevate pristine ingredients. No corners are cut. Everything on the menu is made fresh from scratch daily, using organic ingredients when possible. Flat and pita bread are hand rolled and baked on premises, served steaming from the oven or charred from the grill. Olives and fragrant fresh herbs abound here, creating food that is both sensuous and satisfying.
Phone calls in the wee morning hours inform Kalandranis about the best seafood offerings, with decisions made between two and three AM that will influence the menu, which is printed several hours later. This translates into a vibrantly fresh, fluid menu with lovely surprises for patrons eager to experience new types of fish or traditional proteins that are true to their authentic, free-range flavors. Meats are given equal consideration and heft, most sourced from farms within 200 miles of the restaurant.
Like Kalandranis, Richard Mitchell, general manager, is a class act. His polished style brings a humming efficiency to the front of the house, where wait staff are attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. Staff is young, confident and good looking, creating a relaxed energy that puts diners at ease. While there’s a comfortable distance between tables, the atmosphere seems to invite easy chatter between tables, sparking discussion of dishes. The Nyack zeitgeist is warm and convivial and 8 North Broadway’s patrons are clearly at home here. Regulars are warmly welcomed and newcomers made to feel at home. The bar teems with solo diners and small groups sharing mezze and wine.
Subsequent visits indicate that the restaurant is beloved by area restaurateurs and chefs alike, with its Monday nights bustling with the owners of Nyack eateries stopping in for dinner or simply a drink at the lovely brass bar, which seats 16.
The 48-seat restaurant open for lunch in the fall. Sunday brunch starts at 11:00am and is more suitable for younger patrons than weekend evenings.
The ever-changing menu is divided into four sections: small cold plates; small hot plates; main dishes; and additions. Desserts are posted on a separate menu and include a selection of house-made items and suggested wines to pair them with. A thoughtfully curated wine list showcasing elegant, small production Mediterranean wineries at reasonable glass and bottle prices is offered.
Mezze are meant to excite the appetite and 8 North Broadway executes these foreplay items beautifully. Small cold plates range from $7 for seasonal crostini of carviar dip, white anchovy and shaved red onion to $13 for shaved lamb loin carpaccio with lemon oil, pickled chick pea salad, dandelion and pecorino. All the offerings are designed to whet the appetite, mixing briny, salty bites with sparkling flavors of the sea. The local beet salad ($12) is delectable with Vermont feta, red onion, olives, kale, a silken hummus and the restaurant’s chewy, warm, hand-rolled pita.
Small hot plates are excellent for sharing. Sizzling Spanish octopus ($14) is served in a sizzling cast iron skillet, with charred vegetables and a red wine vinaigrette. The texture of the octopus was pleasantly toothsome, delivering a punch of flavor. Other hot mezze items include sardines a la plancha served with Sicilian bread salad and crushed pistachio ($13) and a lovely seared diver scallop ($14) with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop a puddle of that smooth hummus. If I had to choose one favorite item from this part of the menu, the scallop would be it. Its balanced smoky, salty flavors mingle with the delicate tart, tangy sweetness of the cherries, playing beautifully on the tongue. Go with the muscadet just to celebrate this winning appetizer, a Sevre Et Maine, David Duvallet, Loire, France, 2011 ($10/glass – $37/bottle), an ideal counter with bright fruitiness.
Gewurstraminer, from Warwick Valley Winery Upstate, 2011 ($9/glass or $32/bottle) is crisp, a fine choice for any of the mezze items. Even the Macon-Villages, Roux Pere & Fils, a French Burgundy, 2010, ($11/glass or $39/bottle) would also be worth considering.
In the Main Dishes category, seafood is sure to tempt, with multiple daily specials servers will describe and staples like grilled sea bass with bitter greens, lemon potatoes and capers (market priced). But don’t ignore the other proteins, like a Heritage Farm Pork Chop ($29) served with white polenta,sage, pork belly and tomato broth. Grilled Colorado Lamb ($36) is more deeply flavored and, well, lamb-y, than its Australian cousin. It’s plated with a Sardinian couscous, mint, pickled apricot and flatbread. Grass-fed beef ribeye ($39) is nicely charred, and served with addictive crispy yucca frites, melted onion and rosemary. This is another excellent non-fish option and beef lovers will enjoy its true beefiness and excellent marbling. Vegetarians have the option of a tasting plate ($22) with red quinoa, braised sherry mushrooms, bitter greens and legumes. Or they can also opt for multiple mezze items.
Additions range from braised organic beans with tumeric ($6) to white polenta with yogurt ($6) and are nicely portioned.
Desserts are homey and satisfying with plenty of options for those who are chocolate lovers, gluten-free and/or fans of yogurt, honey and nuts, which take leading roles on the menu.
8 North Broadway offers delicious, sexy food, polished service, a warm ambiance and another wonderful reason to visit Nyack.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm and Sunday at 11:00am. Look for lunch in the fall. Reservations recommended. Private parties welcome. (845) 353-1200 • email@example.com www.8northbroadway.com