Lunchtime in Soho can be a real drag—I know, I work here. It's either fancy sit-down or dirty deli, with little in between.
Pi Bakerie, which just opened a couple of weeks ago, is a shining beacon of hope on Broome Street. The little Greek restaurant is located up a flight of stairs and just out of earshot of the creeping Holland Tunnel traffic.
Owner Regina Katopodis runs Artopolis Bakery in Astoria, but this is her Manhattan baby—all sunny and light, with upside-down copper baking tables for seating, glass cases filled with sweet and savory pies and a tall industrial metal shelving unit imported from Greece to display the joint's baked goods.
About those pies: Handmade phyllo is wrapped around traditional moussaka ($7)—ground lamb, perfectly cooked slices of eggplant and béchamel—or the slightly more delicate combination of spinach, kale and feta pie ($7). These buttery bad boys don't err on the light side—they're more deep-dish pizza than flaky tart.
Watermelon salad with feta | Greek yogurt with sour cherries and baklava
A salad of watermelon chunks with muddled mint, lime juice and crumbles of creamy, quality feta ($5) is immediately cooling. The grape leaves ($1) are stuffed with gently spiced rice—not at all soggy, perfectly chewy.
Open one of the drawers of those big shelving units and you'll find rows of honey-soaked baklava ($15 per pound), some topped with pistachios, others drizzled with Belgian chocolate. There's also a fried dough I'd never seen before: Diples, a specialty of Crete, in which a vodka-spiked dough is crisped in sunflower oil then sprinkled with walnuts. Not too sweet or greasy, just pure crunch.
A bowl of yogurt swirled with plump preserved sour cherries imported from Greece and flakes of baklava ($6) is my new favorite way to consume the creamy Greek staple.
So the next time you're wandering through Soho around noon-ish, bound up the stairs to this friendly little joint. It's truly a bright spot in the neighborhood.
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