I headed out to the wilds of Astoria the other night to check out Athens Tavern, a new Greek (no—really?) restaurant whose kitchen is being overseen by Yannis Baxevanis. And who, you might ask, is Yannis Baxevanis? Well, in Athens the man gets to polish his Michelin star when he's not foraging his own wild herbs, and for Athens Tavern he's recreating that herb-driven approach to Greek cuisine by foraging at the Union Square Greenmarket instead.
Greek wines are a fascination of mine at the moment, and Baxevanis' cuisine serves as an ideal showcase for them. His baked fish with aromatic greens (psari fournou me aromatika horta, if you want to impress your friends), stuffed with a tangy green tangle of sorrel, lovage, fennel and dandelion greens, was a great foil for a floral, citrusy yet lushly textured 2004 Vatistas Athiri ($23). (The Athiri grape variety is native to Santorini, though it is also found in other regions. It is, as far as American wine buyers are concerned, as obscure as you can get, but it's so appealing that someone really ought to fix that.)