IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- The menu at MP Taverna is designed to make authentic Greek food friendly for everyone.
Chef Michael Psilakis is a first-generation American born of Greek parents. His goal when opening the restaurant was to take Greek food out of the ethnic category and make it more mainstream.
Dishes that many Greek people grew up eating are presented in a fresh, new way that could make any patron feel comfortable enough to try something new.
The local favorite is the octopus, which is served with a Mediterranean chickpea salad ($13).
"It's the highest selling appetizer and fish we have in general," Psilakis said, "The one we serve really has that old world new world identity. Between stark traditionalists and new people who love evolved food, both spectrums flip out over the octopus."
The staple food of Greek festivals everywhere, the gyro, is re-imagined in slider form, served with spicy pepperoncini and onion ($10).
Also of note, the European seabass, or "Branzino," is served grilled to perfection with fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, garlic and olives ($20).
The menu includes small plates, seafood, meats, dips, salads, burgers, sandwiches and grilled items.
They additionally do whole animal roasts per Greek tradition, including lamb, goat, veal, suckling pig, pork, steak and fish - but you'll need to call at least five days in advance.
Psilakis discussed the emotional, introspective meaning behind his menu choices.
"This is first generation American-Greek food," he said. "A family leaves a country because things are bad, when they do that, they all sort of do it in the same manner. They take a picture, bring it to their new land, and put it on the wall.
"They raise their kids in the vacuum of that picture. It is a stagnant moment of time. The traditions, customs, foods and folklore are encapsulated in that moment and you are raised in it. The country they left evolves and changes, but the first generation embodies those traditions and is prideful because their parents don’t want them to forget where they came from."
The interior features dark woods in both dining rooms with black leather stools and booth benches for seating. A full bar can be found in the first dining room as well, along with an outdoor patio.
The drink menu includes wine, sake and craft beer, along with domestic and imported beer.
The restaurant has happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with discounted drinks and specials.
Lunch is served Monday to Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. Dinner is served Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
MP Taverna is located at 1 Bridge Street. For more information, visit their website here.
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