NYC Chefs Share Their Healthy Recipes: Michael Psilakis, Kefi Restaurant

the CHEF:
Michael Psilakis
(Chef Michael Psilakis’ Bio)

Michael Psilakis is Executive Chef & Co-owner, of Kefi, Anthos, Gus & Gabriel, and Eos. At the Greek Restaurant Kefi, Psilakis and partner, Donatella Arpaia, have prepared a rustic Mediterranean menu that’s hard to resist– especially at such low prices. You can find classical Greek dishes, such as whole fish simply grilled with olive oil and salt,  everyday Greek-style burgers,  and even mac and cheese. When I go to Kefi with my friends, I love sharing the spreads, including tangy tzatziki (yogurt dip), melintzanosalata (eggplant spread), revithia (chickpea spread), all served with grill-warmed pita. One of my favorite entrees is the Grilled Branzino, recipe below. Each dish is wholesome and emphasizes fresh ingredients. Kefi shared three of their favorite healthy recipes with Creative Delites, so that you can delight in their food at home.

RECIPES and PHOTOS courtesy of:
Kefi (Columbus Ave., btw. 84th & 85th St.)

  • grilled branzino
  • cannaloni bean soup
  • spicy shellfish yiovesti

Grilled Whole Fish atop a warm salad of potatoes, tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives and feta drizzled in fresh lemon juice and garlic


4 Branzino’s 1-2 lbs. each, scaled and gutted
24 cherry tomatoes, halved
24 kalamata olives, pitted
24 green olives, pitted
2 sweet onions sliced into rings, grilled, and reserved
10 fingerling potatoes, par cooked and reserved
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
½ Cup feta cheese
2 lemons
Salt & pepper
1 Tb. dry oregano
1 Tb each of fresh chopped parsley, basil, and dill


Pre-heat a grill to med-high. Paint fish with EVOO season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill. Char on each side for approx 8 min.

For warm salad, in a large heavy-bottomed pan add 2 Tb. EVOO and heat through. Brown garlic and potatoes. Then, add tomatoes, olives, onion rings, dry oregano, and feta cheese. Transfer to a serving platter and place the fish on top of the warm salad. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, then drizzle with EVOO, and sprinkle with fresh herbs.



1 Lb Cannolini beans soaked over night
2 large carrots peeled and finely chopped or pulse in food processor
4 Stalks celery and finely chopped or pulse in food processor
1 Large or 2 Medium Onions peeled and finely chopped or pulse in food processor
4 Fresh Bay Leaf
5 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tb Lemon Juice
2 Tomato diced
1 Bunch Scallions Chopped
1 Leek Chopped
1 Bunch picked spinach


In a large pot, sweat carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf in 4Tb extra virgin olive oil.
Add the beans and cover with stock, or water. Cook until beans are tender.
Purée 1/3 of the “soup” in a food processor, then add it back.

In a pan, sweat the diced tomato, scallions, leeks, until they soften in 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil, add spinach to wilt. Add the soup and warm through, finish with lemon juice, and plate in a soup bowl.



1Qt fish stock (chicken may be substituted)
Selection of shellfish (2pc prawn, 6pc mahogany clam, 8pc Buchan mussel)
Sherry vinegar, for deglazing
1 Cup orzo
2 Tsp fish sauce
1 Tsp dill
1 Tsp parsley
2 Tbls lemon juice
Shallot rings
Garlic clove
2 Tbl olive oil
Espelette pepper, black pepper can be substituted.


Preheat oven & Yiouvetsi (traditional earthen-ware pot) to 350º.
In a deep pan over medium high heat add olive oil, shallot, garlic, pepper.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar, add 2 cups stock, orzo, salt, fish sauce.
Bring to boil, transfer to yiouvetsi, cover, bake for 10 minutes – stirring every 2 minutes
Add shellfish, mix well, cover and cook until all mussels and clams open
Add fresh herbs and lemon juice
Adjust seasoning with salt & espelette, dress with olive oil


2 responses to “NYC Chefs Share Their Healthy Recipes: Michael Psilakis, Kefi Restaurant

  1. how did you meet this guy? How awesome that he shared these recipes with you too! Awesome post!

  2. Pingback: Save the Dates for the New Taste of the Upper West Side, May 21st & 22nd, 2010 « Creative Delites; The Guide to All That's Healthy & Delicious Eats on NYC's Upper West Side

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