They gave us mythology. They gave us the diner. They gave us Yanni. They gave us fraternities (I had the best pledge name EVER). I mean, they even gave us democracy. But what the Greeks can do to an octopus trumps all of the afore mentioned. How they tenderize this cephalopod, it defies logic. But maybe I'm giving the entire culture too much credit. My best friends since nursery school are Greek. Can they outsmart the 8 armed Mensa member? I highly doubt it.
But Taverna Kyclades, a recent addition to the East Village, knows how to. After killing the game on Ditmars Blvd. for years, they took it to primetime. No disrespect to Queens, I got love for ya. The kitchen, it's as if as if Zeus is manning the grill, Poseidon walks in with the fresh daily catch, and Hephaestus sparks the grill. Peace to the gods for real. By no means am I an octopus expert, but more often than not the consistency is tough, fibrous, a tad too chewy. 2 visits in less than 2 months, and the dish was basically identical. Looks, texture and flavor. Fall off the bone tender, even if there is no bone. Minimal ingredients and simple preparation, charcoal grilled served with olive oil and some lemon juice. The epitome of Greek seafood.
A Greek salad? Cliche? Not when it's banging malaka. A huge brick of feta cheese sitting on a tomato heavy salad. Clean and refreshing with just enough olive oil. Just wish there was more of the chopped romaine lettuce and that the chief of salad was more heavy handed with the kalamata olives. I need that briny hit playboy! Sidenote, the small is large. More than enough when ordering a bunch of items.
Back to the grill again, the grill again! I'm a seafood junkie and I need another hit. Come on trick daddy! Just one tentacle baby! You have the option of calamari grilled or crispy. Healthy How opts for the non fried version, especially when dealing with fresh product. Again, olive oil, lemon and a charcoal grill. Tender with a little snap. Just how you want it. Had this cold the following day and it was just as enjoyable.
Oooooooh, the Pikilia aka home made assorted Greek style spreads. This dish was actually served first, but we kept dipping throughout the entire meal. From left to right, Melitzana, an eggplant yogurt dip, my least favorite due to my eggplant allergy, but apparently also the lady's since it was the only dip left at the end. Tzatziki up next, a yogurt cucumber spread more mild than the common tangy variety. The feta cheese spread with red and hot peppers called Tirokafteri rested in the middle. To the right of that is Taramosalata, a fish roe based spread with olive oil and a binding agent, usually bread or potato. Not as fishy as you might think. Finally we have Skordalia, a silky garlic and potato dish that is delicious. Warm pita wedges accompanied the spreads and served as a great palate cleanser throughout the meal. A must have for future visits.
Potatoes? We writing about potatoes? What are we writing about? Potatoes man. Peace to AI. I hear you. As my pops used to say, FDP, aka Fuck De Potatoes. And I hear that. But Greeks are known for their lemon potatoes or as John Stamos likes to call them, Patates Fournou, and I had to try them. Soft and lemony. The end. They doubled up as great hash browns for brunch the next day.
The entire ensemble in all its glory. Similar to the food, the restaurant's ambiance was clean and simple. Blonde wood tables and chairs filled a split large white room with various Greek posters throughout. There is a full bar beyond the dining room next to an ice display where the fresh seafood flaunts its stuff. The tables aren't that big, so if ordering a nice selection, things can and will become crammed. The food comes out pretty quick and for a slow eater such as myself it can prove a bit challenging. But that won't keep me away. It'll just force me to eat this great grub quicker.
228 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009
Monday - Thursday 12:30-11pm
Friday - Saturday 12-11:30pm
Sunday 12-10:30pmSome tunes for your listening pleasure...
Mc.Serch Back To The Grill Ft Chubb Rock Nas... by homhom