Pylos (New York City)

Pylos is another deep and narrow New York space, probably housing no more than 60 or 70 seats. It’s dark and romantic with a sophisticated, yet festive ambiance. The ceiling is made of dozens of clay jugs.

We started with the classic Greek dish, Saganaki, which is three cheeses melted in a clay pot. I’ve seen other presentations in which the cheese was ignited by flame at the table, but they did not do that here. Nonetheless, it was really tasty.

The second appetizer was octopus (Htapothi scharas) with a balsamic reduction. The octopus was chewy and meaty, with a delicate seal on the surface. A really nice texture for octopus. The flavors were amazing – strong grill notes with a lovely smokey element, enriched by the balsamic. Even the capers balanced well and didn’t overpower the dish. Fantastic stuff.

Octopus

A giant Greek salad arrived at the table next along with a chicken-lemon soup (Avgolemono Me Sampania). The feta cheese was fantastic, smooth and of extremely high quality. The salad was just about as good as the basic Greek salad can be, highlighted by a really good oil with a great olive flavor. The soup was subtle, with tones of lemon and herbs.

Next was a pistachio crusted bass, which finally revealed chinks in this Greek’s armor. The fish itself left something to be desired, simply tasting like a standard, somewhat dry cooked fish. However the side component almost bordered on ratatouille, with a spinach twist, which was quite nice.

The vegetable moussaka, like all of Pylos dishes, apparenty, had a really nice balance between vegetables and the bechamel. Nothing was overpowering and the dish was quite smooth on the pallet, with the potatoes and sauce acting as the strongest flavors. My only complaint about this dish is that it bordered on mild.

The desert tower

Which means that Pylos’ appetizers were better than the entrees, which is not uncommon. In general, I find appetizers to be easier than entrees which are in turn easier than deserts. So, not to be outdone, we ordered Christos’ desert tower, which is a neatly stacked pile of triangular phyllo dough, surrounding a custard and swimming in honey. And that’s as good as it sounds. This is like baklava on steroids, and frankly I’d like to eat one right now. Just looking at a photo of it brings a tear to the corner of my eye.

All told, Pylos was a great experience and holds up well, if not better, than most Greek food I’ve ever sampled. I wasn’t wild about the entrees, but the feel of the restaurant, quality of ingredients and preparation of most classic dishes was simply superb.

3.5 out of 4 paws

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