Seafood Centric Limani Making It in NYC

Limani caught a buzz when it opened in Roslyn six years ago. It drew seafood lovers from Nassau County for its good food, authentic Greek preparations, and style. But the Long Island restaurant had a bit of Manhattan envy.

“Everyone who grew up on Long Island wants to go to the city, it’s the center of the world,” Franco Sukaj, general manager of Limani said. “Everybody’s dream is to have a restaurant in New York City.”

Limani overcame that envy opening a second restaurant in Midtown Manhattan at 45 Rockefeller Plaza last November. That new restaurant is thriving.

“Everything is great,” Sukaj said.

Image: Benjamin Johnson, Shawmut Design & Construction

On a recent weekday afternoon people pack the restaurant, gathered around the entrance waiting for already occupied tables, the hum of conservations providing a backdrop to the lunchtime setting. Reservations clearly recommended.

Upon sitting down, a small basket of bread and an olive oil plate for dipping was brought to the table. The Mediterranean influence immediately felt when glancing at the menu and it seems only appropriate to focus on the seafood to which Limani first garnered attention.

Image: Benjamin Johnson, Shawmut Design & Construction

The restaurant offers a three-course prix fixe lunch menu for $24.95 plus tax, gratuity and beverages, an al la carte dinner menu, and a prix fixe four-course theatre menu from 5:30 to 6:30pm for $46.50, tax, gratuity and beverage not included.

Some of the dishes but not all will be familiar to Roslyn diners. An artful salad of fresh scallops and citrus was delicate with a nice balance of seafood flavor. The organic salmon made with Fresno chili, shallots, cilantro, and scallions and served with steamed vegetables is new from the Roslyn menu and representative of Chef M.J. Alam’s style. Formerly of Milos in New York City, Alam uses his dishes to try and recreate the feeling of Greek meals where food is about sharing and happiness. While he uses traditional Greek recipes to prepare the seafood dishes the technique is all modern. Another new twist to the Limani NYC menu is the option to have some fish coated with a salt crust and oven baked as opposed to the Limani Roslyn norm of charcoal grilled. Perhaps the most distinguishable new dish though is the Kakavia, a traditional Greek fisherman’s soup of scorpionfish, grouper, and monkfish. The dish takes an hour to prepare and is considered the oldest of Greek fish soups.

Image: Limani

The dessert lunch options are full of light dishes perfect for the midday. The Karidopita is a gingery sponge cake served with honey lavender ice cream for a yin and yang balance of cool mint and sweet. While the Yaourit with Greek thyme honey is cool and sweet.
Much like the menu the open kitchen, market display of fish and modern airy space evokes the feel of the Roslyn restaurant. But this is Manhattan and so everything is also a bit grander.

“It’s more elegant, more of a business crowd,” Sukaj said of the 8,000 square feet space, which seats 200.

A gleaming white marble floor, hand-grooved sandstone columns, and walls offset a square pool of sparkling water in the main dining room. The pool reflects a sculpture of swirling school of fish suspended from the ceiling. The dramatic décor by Shawmut Design and Construction creates a timeless sophistication.

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner from noon to midnight, Monday through Saturday and from noon to 10 pm on Sunday,