Trio of Dips with Pita -- from top, yogurt, eggplant and chickpeas -- is an appetizer at MP Taverna in Irvington, N.Y., that tastes even better than it looks ($11.95).
At the end of May, I just caught a glimpse of a restaurant sign and the Hudson River beyond as my fast-moving train passed through Irvington, N.Y.
Moments later, I Googled "MP Taverna" on my iPhone and came across a highly favorable review from The New York Times.
At home a week later, I looked at the menu on the restaurant's Web site. Then, I made a lunch reservation for this past Thursday.
The food and service were well worth the 25-mile drive, but I was mistaken about being able to see the Hudson River from the dining room, which are about a short block apart.
The Westchester County restaurant is described as Chef Michael Psilakis' modern interpretation of a traditional Greek tavern.
Of course, you can't walk into the kitchen and peek into pots or the oven to see what's cooking, as I did in Greece in the early 1990s.
|We'll sit at a table the next time to avoid booths with uncomfortable upholstered benches that don't have enough seating surface to support customers' thighs.|
|Fresh pita triangles are ideal for scooping up the flavorful dips.|
MP Taverna has a 3-course, $15 lunch, but it includes fish only on Fridays, when I work part time.
We ordered a la carte, which was a splurge, and ended up with too much food -- a salad and entree would have been enough.
My grilled sea bass fillets and especially a side of spinach tasted so rich I asked the waiter if the kitchen uses butter in the dish.
No. Only heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil is used.
A small bottle on the table tempted me to have a couple of crusts of fresh bread and a pita triangle or two dipped into the fruity oil.
The MP Side Salad ($5) is one of the best I've had, with chopped olives, tomato and cucumber, and feta cheese hidden under romaine lettuce.
Grilled Branzino or Mediterranean Sea Bass on a bed of spinach, which I asked for instead of fingerling potatoes ($19.95).
My wife had the Simply Grilled Fish of the Day with salad or vegetable -- head-on Prawns served with Asparagus ($19.95). No fish of the day was available, the waiter said.
|For fish lovers, Friday is the day to land a 3-course, $15 lunch special.|
|The view of the Hudson River customers can't see from the dining room.|
MP Taverna, 1 Bridge St., Irvington, N.Y.; 1-914-231-7854. Other MP Tavernas are in Rosyln, L.I., and Astoria, Queens.
Web site: www.michaelpsilakis.com