Over its lifetime, Ambrosia earned a reputation for providing Greek food with soul, in addition to all the usual suspects for breakfast and lunch. When it closed last summer, fans thought they had lost a sure thing.
Actually, most of Ambrosia’s Greek specialties have reappeared down the block at Nektar (451 Elmwood Ave.), where owner Stavros Malliaris offers them today. He’s trying to offer Ambrosia’s breakfast and lunch while maintaining Nektar’s martini-bar cool at night.
Among the Greek specialties is a favorite of Elmwood Village vegetarians, the pikilia platter. Nominally a plate of three choices from the restaurant’s mezze selections, vegetarians and vegans tend to focus on the trio that can be offered without any animal products at all. The standard preparations are topped with cheese, but it’s optional; vegans can ask the server to hold it, Malliaris said.
Lots of the Greek-style appetizers at local diners come out of a carton, but Nektar makes its own. “You have to do olive oil, you have to use vinegar,” Malliaris said. “Some places, tzatziki is made with sour cream, because it’s cheaper.”
Gigantes are butter beans baked in tomato sauce. “It’s tomatoes, parsley, garlic and onions, I make it a little spicy,” he said. The beans are cooked ahead of time, and finished in the sauce to order.
Melijano salata is a roasted eggplant salad that’s like a Greek caponata. Baked eggplant is peeled and mixed with olive oil, garlic, lemon, parsley and a dash of breadcrumbs. The result is “still a bit chunky,” not a puree, Malliaris said. Walnuts and green pepper add crunch.
Skordalia is potato puree infused with serious amounts of garlic and olive oil, and crowned with beet salad. “It’s mashed potatoes with a lot of garlic,” he said, punched up with red wine vinegar. That comes with some beet salad on top.
They’re $7.75 each, or $11.55 for a selection of three. Whole-wheat pita bread, buttered and grilled or plain, comes alongside.
For info, call 881-1829 or visit www.nektarrestaurant.com.
Edible Book Festival. 4-8 p.m. Sunday in the Western New York Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.). Amateur and veteran artists offer renderings of classic literary works, in edible form. After being judged, the books are eaten by the audience, as part of an international festival. Admission is $5. For info, call 348-1430 or visit www.wnybookarts.org.