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Day 93: SoWe Taste… 8 North Broadway

Day 93: SoWe Taste… 8 North Broadway

The family-run 8 North Broadway of Nyack opened at a difficult time post Hurricane Sandy in December 2012.  Owner and chef Constantine Kalandranis and his team had no investors to rely on and little money.  Out of necessity, their restaurant adopted an ever-changing menu from its onset, as everything made had to be purchased daily.  Hence, dishes coming out of the 8 North Broadway kitchen were particularly fresh, high quality, and creative.  And everyone was impressed.

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Dark chocolate pot de crème; Constantine’s rendition of strawberry shortcake

Kalandranis constructs his Mediterranean menu around the premise of using a lot of fresh fish and farm vegetables, with little butter and cream.  Every morning, he travels to local fish markets and farms with which he has forged relationships.  Afterwards, you can find Kalandranis and crew listening to upbeat Motown music as they craft the daily specials.  While the menu is remodeled daily to reflect what’s fresh, Kalandranis makes certain to keep a handful of popular items available always.

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Chef and owner Constantine Kalandranis

At any given time, the offerings usually feature more from the sea than from the land, but 8 North Broadway is very proud of their meat selections.  The restaurant dry ages its own steaks and features artisanal hogs when available from local farms.  The team also makes fresh chicken stock using only free-range, organic chicken, taking care to utilize every single part of the bird.  Kalandranis practices this out of respect, always remembering that these animals were living things.  The first day Kalandranis receives a fresh fish, he will use it in its purest form, often for crudo, and the day after, he will serve it cooked.  In short, nothing ever goes to waste here.

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Tuna crudo, from a fish freshly delivered just moments before consumption!

For those who have already visited 8 North Broadway during the year and a half it’s been open, the restaurant added a whole new section to their menu that is certainly worth returning for!  Implemented just three weeks ago, the extension features more seasonal salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads.

If you can’t decide on just one or two items, there are a couple of ways to sample the best stuff on the menu.  Served on a tiered plate, the chef’s selection of daily mezze features nine seasonal items, plus pita and crostini made in-house.  A $22 prix fixe lunch menu also offers three courses, several of which are found on the slightly fancier dinner menu.

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Chef’s selection: heirloom tomato gazpacho, rosemary flatbread, hummus with sumac, tzatziki, etc.

Kalandranis put together a lovely sampler for me featuring heirloom tomato gazpacho, shrimp, feta cheese, olives, and rosemary flatbread with sumac hummus and tzatziki.  He takes great pride in the long-term consistency of his restaurant’s tzatziki and still gets excited every time he makes it.  His team creates it from start to finish, hanging the cucumbers required and ensuring to select sheep’s milk yogurt coming from an organic source.  8 North Broadway has perfected the cucumber yogurt garlic sauce over years of practice, and it is delicious both plain and spread over crackers.

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Freshly shucked oyster with sea salt, horseradish, seasonal mignonette

My first bite was a freshly shucked oyster prepared like I’d never seen before.  Instead of the typical cocktail sauce accompaniment, it was topped with horseradish and a seasonal mignonette.  It was by far the tastiest oyster I’ve ever had!  Next up was a mouthwatering tuna crudo cut from a fish that had been taken off the truck just moments before.  It couldn’t have been fresher, and it sure tasted that way!

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Steam rising off octopus served sizzling atop couscous and broccoli

The dish Kalandranis is most proud of is the signature, mega popular octopus.  Served sizzling, the hissing sound of the plate commands attention and builds anticipation.  The octopus is beautifully presented with sides that change seasonally—today, I enjoyed it atop couscous and broccoli.  I was told organic roasted game hen is another popular, permanent menu item.

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Spanish octopus once the sizzling subsided…

Drinks at 8 North Broadway are also outside the norm: the eatery has local, award-winning wines on tap.  Rather than bottling wine, this practice avoids wasting glass and cork.  It’s an expensive process, but worth it, as the restaurant prides itself on its sustainability.

In that vein, 8 North Broadway often pairs with vineyards for events—representatives will come in to discuss wines, which are paired with food provided by the restaurant.  Monday night “supper club” is another unique dinner series.  Since many establishments are closed Mondays, Kalandranis saw the opportunity to do something for those in the restaurant industry.  It was first advertised by word of mouth: Kalandranis told wait staff to bring industry folk, but it’s since evolved into an evening open to the public.  The very first supper club paid tribute to the Basque region in Spain with tapas, but each week brings something new.

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Exterior signage on North Broadway

The evolution of the supper club speaks to the community and sense of family that Kalandranis has created with 8 North Broadway.  Not only does he work with several members of his own family (brother, sister, cousin, wife, father-in-law, everyone!), but many of his employees were diners at his restaurant first.  Essentially, 8 North Broadway offers the ultimate local experience in food, drink, and staff.  Developing relationships with local businesses and patrons is of the utmost importance to Kalandranis.

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Doubling up on dessert today!

In short, 8 North Broadway is not a transient Manhattan spot where you’ll encounter people once a year.  The warm, friendly staff knows exactly who you are when you walk in.  Come enjoy a delicious meal (and make some new friends)!

www.8northbroadway.com

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