The other night we went to Pylos, a popular Greek restaurant in the East Village. We should have known what sort of attitude you might find from the first page of the menu where consulting chef Diane Kochilas is described as the world’s foremost authority on greek cuisine. Not a bad distinction for a New Yorker of Greek descent who has lived in Greece since the all the way back to the early 1990’s.
Despite not having a reservation, we were able to get a table but only if we finished by 9pm. This sort of agreement is never a great way to start a meal but we took the table anyway. And I’m glad we did.The food was excellent.
We ordered a bottle of 2006 Zoe Skouras, a rose from the Peloponnesos region in Greece and made from the agiogitiko (also known as St. George) grape. Full disclosure – this was the first Greek rose I have ordered. We told our waiter we would start with a few mezethes (appetizers) and he quickly took away all but one our menus. We had Greek giant beans baked in a honey-scented tomato-dill sauce, poikila – a trio of tzatsiki (yogurt dip) , taramosalata (fish roe dip) and melitzanosalata (eggplant dip); horiatiki (classic greek salad) and saganaki – three greek cheeses melted in a clay pot. We ate these with freshly grilled pita bread. With our 9pm deadline approaching, we decided to have have just a few more appetizers – spanakorizo (spinach-rice pilar served with feta, lemon and cracked black pepper; htapothi (grilled octopus with a balsamic sauce and capers) and keftedakia (light-as-air meatballs, pan fried in olive oil). With just a few minutes before the hour, we asked if they any small sweets like Greek cookies. Our waiter told us “no we don’t have any Greek cookies” in a not-so-nice way (think Mike Mulligan). Much to our surprise, the deadline was pushed back for a bit allowing us to have two desserts – galaktobourekakia (phyllo triangles filled with Greek custard and drizzled with honey) and yaourti straggismeno (drained Greek yogurt served with sour cherry, Greek honey and walnuts.
Everything was excellent. Its just too bad the service didn’t match the comfort food.