871 Seventh Avenue
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 582-7500
Fax: (212) 582-7502
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Chef: Diane Kochilas
Area: West 50s
Entree Price: $25-30
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard
Very handy to Carnegie Hall and City Center, Molyvos provides diners with reliably good food in a large robust and stylish setting. The restaurant skews Greek though it serves food that's a bit more sophisticated served by seasoned professionals who understand what "we have tickets at seven thirty" means.
All the spreads and mezzes are terrific, aggressively seasoned and well presented. The taramasalata, one of my favorites, is briny with carp roe; the manouri tomato with oven roasted tomatoes, manouri cheese and rosemary is one that doesn't turn up on every other restaurant's menu and the hummus is laced with whole chickpeas. A large basket of thin, fresh pita comes alongside and keeps coming.
The grilled octopus is impeccably fresh in a blood orange vinaigrette with a small salad. Mint comes through lightly in the "longevity" wild greens pie, served as two logs as an appetizer portion. Salads are large enough to be shareable. For an entree you can't go wrong with any charcoal grilled fish. Not into creatures of the sea? The lamb--chops, a skewered loin with pilaf or a shank cooked in a clay pot with Kefalotyri cheese and orzo, is good as is the cannelloni, three to a portion. Lemon garlic roast potatoes come with the moist roast chicken and, of course, there is mousakka with ground lamb and beef and a béchamel made with yogurt.
The dessert menu offers various takes on baklava, yogurt with honey, mixed berries and a selection of really good ice creams including cinnamon, something of a rarity.
Both pre-a and post-theater meals are available. The gray-green walls of this sophisticated taverna are adorned with pictures of Greek island life and drawings of the sea and boats. Large parties can be accommodated at round tables; when several are in full swing before a show there's a fair amount of background noise but it doesn't interfere with enjoyment of the food.
Besides the full bar there are wines including many kinds of ouzo--paint thinner to some and ambrosia to others. The restaurant offers more Greek wines than any other and is recognized as a leader in this area. Beverage service includes every possible take on coffee including Greek, slightly less mud-like than Turkish and a great end to dinner. Special menus arrive for holidays including Mother's Day and, since Greek life is very social, Molyvos encourages private parties for 50 to 75 as well as restaurant-wide events for up to 220 guests. Owned by the Livanos family, Molyvos has been doing a roaring business since 1997 with a complete makeover in 2012. Lunch and dinner are served as well as a Sunday brunch. You will leave with a lighter wallet and taste buds that have been indulged and delighted. No need to throw your glass against the wall, just enjoy a full flavored meal or smaller bite.
Review By: Mari Gold