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Don't Skip the Octopus at MP Taverna

Irvington's new MP Taverna kills the octopus, just for starters

MP Taverna,  1 Bridge St., Irvington, (914) 231-7854, mptaverna.com

I confess: it took me longer than it should have to stop pining for the popcorn shrimp at Day Boat, the Irvington chowder house that slipped away one night last winter never to return to port.

It’s a little like whining about a cancelled television show. Move on.

As you probably already know, I’m not exactly Jimmy Olson: I take my time to review the new. Rising in its place is MP Taverna, a Mediterranean bistro. The MP is Michael Psilakis, chef/owner, nice guy, and hard-working fellow. (I’ll let him tell you about his other restaurants but suffice to say, he’s ambitious in the good sense.)

At Taverna, they don’t mind if you order a cocktail, as there is such an exhaustive list of branded spirits, you might confuse it with Liquor Digest. I started with the octopus. It’s sautéed, roasted, and then grilled, served with chickpeas and spinach. I followed it with the Mediterranean striped bass; something about the Med that calms the fish and the diner. Must be the topless beaches. But watch out for the little bones.

Spoiler alert: don’t leave without trying the smashed fries. The potatoes are boiled, smashed, and then fried. Think of them as fat potato chips.

The knockout dessert was a chocolate halvah brownie with sesame ice cream.

Of course there wasn’t a vacant seat on a recent weekend night. Yet we didn’t feel like passengers on the E train. It was still very civilized.

When I returned for a midweek lunch at the bar I got to hang with Michael But the real treat, really a steal, is the $15 MP Meal of the Day: three courses served together.

Today’s trinity was a crispy crab cake, grilled chicken salad with amazing Jersey tomatoes—both red and yellow— and concluding with a Galaktobureko parfait (I checked the spelling so you wouldn’t have to), consisting of caramelized honey, katafi, smoked almonds, raspberry, and cara cara orange segment. (Some orangists consider the cara caras to be mutants but that’s above my pay grade)

Crowd: Yes, there is one. But the Taverna can handle it.

Think About:  Trying something you can’t pronounce readily

Don’t Miss:  The MP Meal of the Day.  As penance, you will surely over tip.

Bring:  Me. I’m ready to return.

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