Slideshow: First Look: MP Taverna, a New Spin on Greek Food from Michael Psilakis in Astoria

Octopus ($11)
Octopus ($11)
"When I started cooking Greek food in New York, very few people ate octopus. Now it's probably the most requested item." Here it's roasted until cooked, then chilled, then grilled right before service. It comes, uncharacteristically, with chickpea salad and yogurt.
Bulgar Salad ($8.50)
Bulgar Salad ($8.50)
"This is kind of that secret item on the menu, it's so good." It has a lot going on: bulgar, tomato, cucumber, shaved fennel and radish, raw and roasted peppers, smoked almonds, chopped pistachios, fresh herbs, and pomegranate.
Downstairs
Downstairs
A long bar dominates the downstairs dining room, though there are also counter-height tables near tall windows. The restaurant plans to add 80 outdoor seats in the coming months.
Souvlaki ($12.50 chicken, $14 pork, $16 beef)
Souvlaki ($12.50 chicken, $14 pork, $16 beef)
A traditional take on the dish. Pork tenderloin is brined, then soaked in oil and herbs for a day, then grilled and wrapped with pita, tzatziki, and vegetables.
Smashed Fries ($7)
Smashed Fries ($7)
The fries come with sandwiches and some other items, but are also available a la carte. They're braised, gently cooked in olive oil oil, smashed, and then fried until crisp.
Scallops ($12)
Scallops ($12)
Another dish Psilakis is especially excited about. The pan-roasted scallops come with cinnamon-roasted cauliflower, browned butter, dried cherries, and capers.
The Bar
The Bar
The bar boasts 120 whiskies, 20 beers on tap, 50 more in bottles, and an approachable wine list.
Greek Paella ($22)
Greek Paella ($22)
Head-on prawns, clams, and mussels with orzo, spinach, and house-dried lemon zest.
Mussels & Gigantes ($9.50)
Mussels & Gigantes ($9.50)
Mussels topped with meaty gigantes beans, tomatoes, feta, bread crumbs, and loukaniko, a semi-cured pork sausage flavored with orange or leek.