BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
Buried in a basement down two flights of stairs lies Suspenders. Suspenders is best known for its after-work bar scene and its close proximity to Wall Street –the heart of the Financial district. However, Suspenders also serves up a great selection of authentic Mediterranean food that can’t be missed if you’re in the area.
I had the pleasure of dining at Suspenders for the first time with a friend and regular of the bar. When asked what to order he responded that I absolutely had to try something off the Mediterranean menu.
We ordered the Meze Sharing Plate for 2 ($22) which came with a taste of everything. Lamb and chicken souvlaki, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and keftedes (lamb meatballs) served with a side of pita bread and the octopus ($11).
Owner, Michael Panayiotis sat with us as we ate and explained that his food is served the way he had it growing up. He fondly told us stories of diving for seafood in Cyprus when he was a child and eating everything fresh with only a bit of lemon juice. His childhood is evident in everything he serves, especially the grilled octopus, tender and marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano; the ingredients speaking for themselves and truly a pleasure to consume. The dolmades were simple, yet flavorful with the citrus adding a pop of flavor.
Courtesy of the house, we were also served plates of hummus and babaganoush, all made from scratch. It was easy to escape the hustle and bustle of New York, and imagine that I was gazing out over the Mediterranean Sea, the breeze blowing through my hair while I listened to stories of his childhood.
Most importantly, Michael emphasized, Suspenders is a place to relax and enjoy good times with good friends; a neighborhood bar with an unsuspecting Cyprian flair.