I f you’ve never had the privilege, let me be the first to tell you that lamb ribs are a revelation.
First off, the texture of Plevrakia Aronu is not unlike beef short ribs, yet the fat is much sweeter, more akin to pork. Chef Niko Regas starts the process by browning the meat before it goes into a sweet, vinegary braise with citrus and fenugreek. When it is cooked, the ribs are removed from the pot to be portioned out, while the liquid is reduced to a syrupy demi-glace consistency, which intensifies the flavor immensely. The ribs—cooked to the point where they effortlessly free themselves from the bone—are glazed with the sauce and a scattering of orange zest.
To balance out the richness of the meat, Regas employs tangy Dodoni feta, as well as both Kalamata and Castelvetrano olives for acidity and salinity. A simple yet delicious potato salad, accentuated with peppery olive oil, dill, and lemon, follows his grandmoth- er’s recipe, inspired by time he spent in the Greek Islands.
What results is absolute perfection, with each element contributing to one of the most satisfying plates of ribs I have ever had. Xinomavro, a wine varietal native to north- west Greece, of which the name translates to “sour black,” is absolutely crucial as an accompaniment.
My assessment does not seem to surprise Regas at all. After cutting his teeth under notable chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerich- ten, he is preparing to take the reins of the kitchen at Emilitsa from his father, Demos, while his uncle, John, oversees the front of the house. This is the kind of dish, an update on old family traditions, that Regas plans to continue incorporating into the menu, as well as rotating in more of a generalized Mediterranean influence.