128 E 7th St
(between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009
Started with this glass goblet of some Greek wine that the waiter suggested. I told him I like my wines like how I like Beyonce – full bodied, which is exactly what this wine was. Great for a cold spring night.Our meal began with complimentary piping hot soft pita with creamy hummus on the side. This is something I would pay for as an appetizer. It tasted even better because it was free.
We ordered the Htapothi Scharas ($16), a classic grilled, marinated octopus with a balsamic reduction sauce and capers. It is the most expensive appetizer on the menu but is so highly recommended by all Yelpers that I had to get it. And they were so right. The octopus was DELICIOUS.
It was just-the-right-amount-of-charred on the outside, soft and chewy (but not too chewy) on the inside. The balsamic reduction was slightly sweet and gave the octopus a nice caramelized glaze. Seriously good. Probably the best octopus I’ve had. I don’t even love octopus.
I ordered the Hoirino Kotsi Lemonato ($23), braised pork shank with lemon and herbs, served with fingerling potatoes and leeks. Pork shank is the leg part of the pig which tends to be leaner and therefore tougher. It takes a lot of tenderizing, often via slow-cook methods, to soften the meat and bring out the porkiness flavor. The meat fell right off the bone and had delicious tendony bits – honestly my favorite parts. The other parts of the meat were still a little tough but I don’t think there is a solution given how lean the shank is. The porkiness was definitely the principal actor and the lemon and herbs mere extras supporting the main. The meat didn’t have any other flavors infused into it… nothing complex here. It’s a great, simple, meaty dish for those nights you just feel like a carnivore. Fingerling potatoes were creamy and complimented the flavorful shank quite well. Leeks added a little acidity to cut through the meatiness.
LAW ordered the Moussaka ($19), layers of lightly sautéed eggplant, zucchini and potato baked in a clay dish with aromatic ground meat sauce and béchamel. I had moussaka in Athens and disliked that it was drenched in oil with soggy vegetables. I thought that was what moussaka was and never had it again. Now having tried Pylos’s version, I know I definitely fell for a tourist trap. This moussaka was delicious, not greasy, heavy, and light at the same time. The eggplant and zucchini were so fresh, you could taste the actual flavors of the individual vegetables. The creamy potato held everything together and added a heartiness that you get from home cooked meals. Ground meat sauce reminded me of shephard’s pie. Delicious! Better than my pork shank I would say because I generally am not into meat as much as veggies and carbs…
As you can see from the first photo, the ambiance of the place is very charming. The pots hanging from the ceiling give the place a rustic but modern feel. The diners were all beautiful and Greek-looking. The chitter chatter was soft enough to avoid distraction from your meal but was loud enough to feel vibrant. Definitely a new favorite place in the East Village.