In interviews, Michael Psilakis has made clear that MP Taverna, his casual restaurant brand now in Astoria, features a more visceral, less cerebral approach to Greek food. That doesn't mean the menu is dumbed down or made less "ethnic." It means you're happy that the kitchen is generous with that pita, because those stray licks of olive oil on the plate won't finish themselves.
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Chef Michael Psilakis is no stranger to restaurant openings and intense food, but his newly opened MP Taverna comes with the added challenge of it's location being in the heart of Astoria. We chatted with Psilakis on what Greek food means to him now, what it meant when he first started cooking and where he still wants the conversation on Greek cuisine to go.
"We're not trying to be a typical Greek taverna," Michael Psilakis says, which is why his newly opened MP Taverna is so unlike its Astoria neighbors. "I still think it's Greek, but my mother didn't cook anything like this." On the menu: octopus with yogurt and chickpeas, mussels with feta and Greek sausage, and more.
You could call Michael Psilakis one of New York's ambassadors of Greek cuisine. As the son of a first generation traditional Greek family on Long Island, Psilakis learned to roast whole lambs on a spit at a young age, and these days is busy maintaining his restaurants in the city and surrounding area. After the jump: his guide to the best Greek shopping and eating in the city.
Michael Psilakis's Fish Tag is a fish restaurant that's an awful lot more than a fish restaurant. In what sense? Well, though just about every dish on the menu includes seafood, an awful lot of dishes include something else, too: in your tour through this ocean, you'll find headcheese and chorizo, spicy lamb and guanciale. Ordering at Fish Tag can be an overwhelming experience—either exciting or vexing, depending on your mood, but overwhelming either way. Still, many of the unexpected elements work in Fish Tag's favor.
Thanks to Chef Michael Psilakis' focus on the clean tastes of fresh ingredients, Kefi's solid menu catches the diner's eye at every turn, and pleases not only food-loving parents but also their little ones.
Imagine your local Greek coffee shop or diner being taken over by a hard-working fancypants celebrity chef, who happens to be Greek-American. Sounds promising, doesn't it? See what chef Michael Psilakis (of Anthos, Kefi, and Mia Dona) has done at the new Gus and Gabriel Gastropub on the Upper West side.
A few weeks ago my wife met some friends for lunch at Kefi, and she reported that the restaurant at midday was an oasis of relative calm and serenity. Even more important, she raved about the food.
Michael Psilakis, executive chef at at Greek restaurants Anthos (36 West 52nd Street, New York NY 10019) and Kefi (222 West 79th Street, New York NY 10024) and at Italian joint Mia Dona, (206 East 58th Street, New York...
I've been meaning to write about Mia Dona for weeks now, and now that Frank Bruni has weighed in with a carefully considered review of Mike Psilakis' and Donatella Arpeia's newest restaurant, I feel remiss in not commenting before this....
When's the last time you were shocked by how reasonable the prices are at a fancy-pants restaurant? Mia Dona, Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpeia's newly opened, more-Italian-than-not restaurant on East 58th Street, has prices so low that I could have...
Sometimes food writers get invited to preview meals at restaurants that are about to open. These are called Friends and Family Meals, and they are often fascinating and frustrating experiences. Six weeks ago I was invited to one such...