Authentic Aegean Fare In Tribeca

By Anne Raso


Tribeca has never had many Greek restaurants, but now it has one of the best! Paros was created by former Top Chef contestant and Kyma Hudson Yards head chef George Pagonis, and brother Nicholas who are both veterans of the restaurant business (Nicholas oversees the day-to-day operations of the restaurant while George takes control of the kitchen).

The handsome brothers’ experience goes all the way back to their dad’s diner in Alexandria, VA where they were fascinated by what was going on in the kitchen. Besides being run by a young brother team who gives their “all” to what they do, Paros offers fish flown in straight from Greece, including species not available at other fine NYC eateries.

Interestingly enough, Paros is named for the island 140 miles southeast of Athens where the Pagonis brothers have always vacationed—and enjoyed eating the local fish.. Says George Pagonis, “Our seafood is flown in directly from Greece and this process is something that you need to stay on top of to make sure you don’t run out. Having the right seafood purveyor is especially important and ensures we’re able to deliver fresh seafood to our customers daily.”  

When you walk into the 3,500-square-foot Paros, the ultra-high ceilings and numerous white pillars catch your eye. Their space is an entire ground floor of a 1915 building that once held a publishing house with a printing press and it still has some of its industrial details. Extra-large front windows (perfect for people watching), simple wooden tables and numerous flowering plants growing around the upper walls give it a cozy feel. You’ll see supermodels dining right besides artistic types, families with young kids and plenty of those who work in the neighborhood.  

How did the owners pick this beautiful Tribeca corner location for their eatery? Says George Pagonis, “After endless searching for a location, we were shown this current location and fell in love with the neighborhood. Tribeca is a great neighborhood, where most everyone loves going out to eat. They really support their local restaurants and have welcomed Paros into the neighborhood. We also felt that Tribeca was lacking authentic Greek cuisine.” 

Outside of steakhouses, it’s rare that a downtown fine dining establishment serves large portions, but Paros does. Mixing quality and quantity is an equation that guarantees success and Paros reservations have been in high demand since their opening in early October. Octopus dishes are all the rage with NYC foodies now, and Paros’ version is grilled and served with fava beans, roasted peppers, onions and capers. Chef Pagonis says that the dishes that are the most popular besides the Grilled Octopus are “the Fragri, which is a pink snapper from the Aegean with full flavor and firm texture; Lamb Shank Youvetsi, a slow braised lamb shank in tomato sauce, orzo and mizithra, and Lamb Kleftico, which is slow roasted lamb shoulder with shallots and kefalograviera wrapped in filo.” (He admits this is his favorite dish.)

When the New York Lifestyles Magazine team visited Paros, we felt the need to put the restaurant to the test since they are already heralded for their ultra-fresh seafood. (Many guests partake of the popular raw bar as their appetizer.) We tried the Shish Kebob, and it turned out to be cubed filet mignon served with crispy roasted potatoes, grilled grape tomatoes, warm homemade harissa pita bread and a chimichurri sauce. The prime-aged meat dripped delicious juice. The Brick Grilled Chicken was a quarter grilled chicken with the same crispy roasted potatoes and was as moist as could be. Generous amounts of locally grown fresh herbs top all the apps and entrees. 

The dessert menu features Greek classics like Baklava and Honey Cake, but also has a classic homemade New York Cheesecake that is super creamy and has just the right degree of sweetness. You can tell your waiter that you want the dessert that is “a little bit of everything” and you will get a huge plate of all the desserts—and the portions aren’t little. This is ideal for a table of four to six to share.

We asked George Pagonis what the highlights of his career and it was easy to tell that Paros is his whole world at this point in time, He commented, “Participating on Bravo’s Top Chef was definitely a highlight of my career; I was a finalist on Season 12. It opened a lot of doors for me and led me to many more opportunities. Also, the opening of Paros is the defining moment of my career. Opening a restaurant in Manhattan with my brother is a dream come true.”  

The Pagonis brothers have said that they hope that their resto will “transport each guest to Paros, experiencing the enchantment, beauty and magic of the Mediterranean through the atmosphere and, of course, the food.” No doubt that this is really happening--come see for yourself. 

For more information on Paros,