Ousia, located in the iconic VIA 57 WEST, introduces a lively vibe to Manhattan’s newest West Side neighborhood. The latest concept from the Livanos Restaurant Group, Ousia’s Greek-focused Mediterranean cuisine brings the dynamic flavors and textures of land and sea to life on each plate and in every glass. Our lunch and dinner menus, weekend brunch offerings, and innovative cocktails come together with premium, locally-sourced, market-fresh ingredients.
Ousia, meaning “essence” or “flavor,” is a unique and welcome addition to the NYC dining scene. Its homey yet sophisticated ambience welcomes all to an equally approachable, up-and-coming residential neighborhood. Both our restaurant and our menus are designed to foster a communal and vivacious dining experience, so you’re never dining alone. Whether you’re grabbing a bite at our large, double-sided bar or sliding into a comfy booth with friends and family for a meal, we’ll make room for you at Ousia.
Director of Operations Kamal Kouiri, who oversees the wine program, thoughtfully complements Executive Chef Vasiliki Vourliotaki’s kitchen creations with a similarly Greek-centric Mediterranean list. Our extensive wine cellar is years in the making and includes limited-quantity labels not found anywhere else in the city.
Conveniently located on the waterfront, just off the West Side Highway, Ousia is an urban oasis where friends and family can gather over shared plates, craft beer, and signature cocktails to start or end the night. With dishes like Whole Lavraki, Lamb Roulade, or Turkey Leg Confit, lunch or dinner becomes the main attraction in “the city that never sleeps.”
Owners // Livanos Family
Executive Chef // Vasiliki Vourliotaki
Corporate Chef // Carlos Carreto
Director of Operations // Kamal Kouiri
General Manager // Johnny Livanos
Chef Vasiliki Vourliotaki’s foray into the culinary world began by happenstance, when she took an entry-level kitchen position at a restaurant in Athens, Greece in 2006. Her passion for cooking was ignited, and she soon enrolled in Le Monde Institute of Hotel and Tourism Studies, earning her degree in culinary studies in 2008. Chef Vasiliki went on to work alongside acclaimed chefs in Greece, Germany, France, Monaco, and the United States, including Michelin-starred chefs Alfons Schubeck of Munich, Hélène Darroze of Paris, and Ben Pollinger of New York City’s Oceana. Eager to return to the Big Apple, Chef Vasiliki joined the Ousia team in early 2017.
Having worked in some of Europe’s most renowned kitchens, Chef Vasiliki brings to Ousia a one-of-a-kind, multi-faceted approach to cooking, combining tradition with modern techniques and Mediterranean influences. She leads Ousia’s culinary team in creating thoughful, innovative interpretations of classic Greek fare. “My hope is for guests to indulge in Greek food with some familiarity, thanks to American ingredients that help them connect to, and understand, each dish,” Chef Vasiliki explains.
Carlos Carreto has been with the Livanos Restaurant Group since 1997, rising through the ranks, honing his craft and learning the ins and outs of Greek cuisine while at our beloved Molyvos. In his newest role as Corporate Chef at Ousia, Carreto marries his mastery of Greek flavors with the bold spices, herbs and flavors of the greater Mediterranean region. Chef Carlos is dedicated to high-quality sourcing and personally makes visits to purveyors to hand-pick his products. We guarantee you will taste the difference.
Chef Carlos is a father of three who first learned about cooking and flavor from his grandmother. “It’s been exciting to explore new regions of Mediterranean cuisine,” he shares. “With hints of familiar Mediterranean recipes, the Ousia menu features a twist on cherished classics.” It is his hope that you can stop in for lunch and want to come right back for dinner, craving something new.
Director of Operations
Kamal Kouiri has been with the Livanos Restaurant Group since 2001. Currently, as Wine Director of Molyvos, Kamal has developed the solely Greek wine list to include over 600 bottles. As a result, Molyvos is home to the most extensive selection of Greek wine in the United States, and has received numerous wine-focused awards. At Ousia, this passionate purveyor of Greek viticulture expands beyond his beloved Greece to share his latest finds from regions throughout the Mediterranean. In addition, Kamal also stocks over a dozen different kinds of ouzo, the national aperitif of Greece, as well as a handful of handcrafted spirits like Tentura, Tsipouro, and Mastiha, among others. “I always enjoy being able to educate our guests a bit while also encouraging them to try something new that pairs perfectly with our food. After all, you can’t really experience a taste of the Mediterranean without the appropriate accompanying wine or spirits,” he says.
Kamal’s work and his dedication to wine has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and numerous national and International publications. He travels to Greece at least once a year to tour different wineries and meet winemakers and then welcomes them in return when they are traveling this way. Are you keeping up with Kamal? Follow his wine and food adventures on Instagram: @greekwineworld
The Livanos Family
The extraordinary legacy of the Livanos family began in 1957 when John Livanos immigrated to the United States from Greece and began his career as a dishwasher, working for his uncle in Manhattan. He purchased his first restaurant in 1960, and later opened the elegant Livanos Restaurant in White Plains, NY, in 1985.
Today, John and his children, Nick, Bill and Corina, own and manage the critically acclaimed Oceana, Molyvos, Ousia, and Oceana Poke in New York City, as well as Moderne Barn in Armonk, NY, and City Limits in White Plains, NY.
Nick, the eldest of the Livanos siblings, grew up working in the family’s restaurants during the school year and spending his summers in Greece. Coming from a family of talented cooks and a long line of commercial fishermen, it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with food; the concepts of freshness and quality were the foundation of his culinary expertise. Nick graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor’s degree in management, but his life changed when, on a whim, he decided to visit the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and later enrolled. Today, Nick oversees the business of all Livanos restaurants, sharing duties with Bill and Corina. He enjoys engaging with guests and swapping stories about food, family and life.
Like his older brother, Bill was inspired by their father’s passion and dedication to the family’s restaurants to pursue a career in hospitality. As a child, Bill remembers going to work with his father — first to a diner they owned in West Hempstead, NY, and then the Arch Diner in Brooklyn. Bill learned and worked every position in the Arch Diner and eventually followed in Nick’s footsteps and studied business at Adelphi University. Upon graduating, he worked for several national restaurant chains before returning to the family business to develop the wine program at Livanos Restaurant and eventually participating in the beverage programs for all of the family’s restaurants. Today, Bill manages the Livanos restaurants alongside Nick and Corina, with his main focus on the suburban concepts.
Corina, the youngest of the Livanos siblings, grew up with her father and brothers as her role models in the hospitality industry. After graduating with a degree in management from the University of Rhode Island, she worked her way through the family’s restaurants, eventually joining her brothers as a key member of the management team. One of the most notable moments of her career was opening Moderne Barn in the family’s hometown of Armonk, NY, in 2010, bringing a casual-yet-sophisticated concept to the neighborhood. Even though each Livanos restaurant has its own character, Corina hopes that every guest experiences a few simple things: delicious food with exceptional service in a comfortable, engaging environment.
In 2016, the third generation of restaurateurs, Nick’s eldest sons, Johnny and Enrico, joined the family business as managers at Ousia. Both Johnny and Enrico graduated with degrees in hospitality management and culinary arts – Johnny from Cornell University and the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, California, and Enrico from Syracuse University and the Culinary Institute of America. Johnny, with his seasoned knowledge of Greek cuisine, wine, cocktails, and hospitality, leads the bar program at Ousia, while Enrico guides Ousia’s service operations to provide a dynamic and memorable dining atmosphere.