MP TAVERNA photographS by oleg march
We aspire to be a good neighborhood restaurant, where people come in, know they’ll be served with a smile and feel like they belong,” says chef-owner Michael Psilakis. He credits the comfortable atmosphere at the Irvington contemporary take on a traditional Greek taverna to the “caring” staff. That feeling of comfort continues to the menu, meant to evoke a family dinner table. You’ll always find fare made with “simple, fresh ingredients,” describes Psilakis, such as octopus salad, the devilishly superb smashed fries, branzino, meatballs, souvlaki, and Greek paella. “I want you to get your hands dirty and pick those shells off and play with your food,” he says of the latter.
Having reached the five-year mark, the restaurant is being tweaked slightly. In a few months, the menu will change, becoming more farm-to-table-oriented and seasonal. Meanwhile, the space will transform to accommodate a private room and get spruced up with new chairs, tables, paintings, and curtains.
That said, it will never stray too far from Psilakis’ mother’s kitchen.
Excerpt from the December 2012 review: “The dish that captivated our food-lusting souls is listed on the menu as ‘dumplings.’ Picture light, ethereal ricotta gnudi dressed with a robust sauce of sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, spinach and feta cheese, and hints of spicy, intensely savory flavor from lamb sausage — and now top the whole thing with buttery toasted breadcrumbs. That is a signature dish.”