Every month, I get a text from a friend saying, “My hotel is near Times Square, where should I eat in Midtown?”  In recent months, I’ve added a handful of spots to my between 42nd and 59th Streets rolodex. Yes, indulging from the big apple’s food trucks are a must, but dining inside a fancy pants establishment gives you a different pulse.

Nerai - Fishermans Carpaccio copy

Nerai is a modern restaurant and it’s airy color palette takes one to the banks of Mykonos, Greece. In the soothing and uber-comfortable upstairs dining room, I start with Agiorgitiko–a dry rose and tarama. The velety spread consists of fish roe with bright hints of lemon and accompanied with a slew of fresh baked breads. My school of thought is to a gastronomic experience around seafood. Next up, the calamari gemista appetizer and lavraki (also known as branzino) entree. I’m thinking more wine and the knowledgeable waiter directs me to Katogi Averoff White and lavender mousse for dessert. I found myself lingering and ordered a skinos mastha–neat. I would describe this after-drink libation as smoky with hints of anise.

Nerai - Grilled Octopus copy

Oftentimes, adventure takes us outside the center of a destination and we have fragmented experiences. Eat high and low but always find the heartbeat–explore a little bit deeper.