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Celebrity Chef Opens Greek-American Restaurant in Irvington Tonight

At the helm of MP Taverna is chef Michael Psilakis, co-star of the new BBC America cooking competition series "No Kitchen Required."

MP Taverna, a Greek-American restaurant, opens for dinner in Irvington today, May 14, in the space previously occupied by Day Boat Cafe. Lunch service will begin on Saturday, May 19.

The new restaurant is described as a "modern interpretation of a traditional Greek tavern" by Executive Chef Michael Psilakis.

Chef appears in "No Kitchen Required"

Psilakis is one of the three chefs appearing in the new television BBC America television series, "No Kitchen Required" (it debuted last month); he is also a recipient of numerous culinary awards including "Chef of the Year" from both Bon Appetit and Esquire, and "Best New Chef" from Food & Wine. The other co-host chefs are Madison Cowan, a repeat winner on the Food Network's series "Chopped," and New Zealander Kayne Raymond, an elite private chef and also a "Chopped" champion. In the new series, the chefs will travel the world and cook in challenging, primitive and remote locations using locally procured ingredients.

How to Roast a Lamb, a cookbook written by Psilakis, was published by Little, Brown in October 2009.

American interpretation of Greek cuisine

The dinner menu offers many choices of mezes, salads and entrees.

The meze/salad section of the dinner menu includes:

  • Crispy cod with garlic, potato puree and tomato sauce
  • Octopus with a Mediterranean chickpea salad
  • Gyro spiced sliders
  • Pork ribs with smashed fries
  • Bulghar Salad with dates, almonds, pomegranate, olives and pistachios.
  • Dips available include eggplant with roasted peppers and garlic; yogurt with cucumber and dill, and feta cheese with spicy chilies and herbs

The dinner entrées include:

  • Grilled Branzino. With fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes and olives
  • Lamb shank. Served with orzo and root vegetables in a lamb jus
  • Greek paella. A combination of shellfish, spicy lamb sausage and orzo.
  • Grilled options. Include chicken, salmon, swordfish and “Fish of the Day.”

Lunch and brunch menus

The lunch menu, served on Monday through Friday, has salads and sandwiches such as:

  • Grilled pulled salmon salad with bitter young greens, dried pairs and cherries
  • Grilled chicken salad with heirloom tomatoes, string beans, grilled onion, cucumber and feta cheese
  • BFT with bacon, tomato and feta on sourdough
  • Lamb burger topped with spicy whipped feta sauce

A changing prix-fixe, three-course menu, comprised of an appetizer, entrée and dessert, is available for lunch at $14 on Monday through Friday.

Brunch served on Saturday and Sunday includes:

  • Ricotta pancakes with caramelized apple, almonds, raisins and zabaglione
  • Poached eggs Florentine a la Greque with spinach, graviera cheese and béchamel
  • Roasted tomato skillet baked eggs with sheep’s milk ricotta, graviera, basil and garlic.

The decor

Mahogany walls divide the 120-seat main dining room from the bar. Black and white tile covers the floor in the lounge which has a white, marble-topped bar and four large tables that can seat 16. The bar area has ten rustic brass chandeliers that hang from an acoustical tiled, 13-foot ceiling, and two LCD television screens.

One end of the rectangular dining room features distressed white brick with large mirrors hanging on opposing walls. Brown leather booths and patterned fabric banquettes are offset by beige plantation shutters, wide plank natural pine wood floors, and dark brown wooden tables. The wood-walled open-air patio in front of the restaurant can seat 20.

MP Taverna is located at One Bridge Street in Irvington and is reached by driving across the traffic bridge over the railroad tracks. Free parking is available. Lunch is served on Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. The dinner hours are: 3 to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 3 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations can be made at OpenTable or by calling 914-231-7854.

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