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After being under construction since the summer, Village Taverna has finally opened its doors at 81 University Place (212-982-3457), offering up a comprehensive menu of Greek specialties.
The menu includes Mediterranean spreads like skordalia, taramosalata, and tzatziki; warm appetizers of grilled octopus, fried calamari, meatballs, and grilled sausage; six specialty cheese selections, including saganaki and grilled halloumi or manouri; a selection of salads; traditional entrées like moussaka, pastitisio, lamb shanks, and stuffed vegetables; simple grilled items ranging from burgers to lamb chops to chicken to sea bass; gyro and souvlaki platters; pita wraps; and classic desserts and coffee. Appetizers average around $10, with entrées in the $20 range.
When we walked by the new eatery yesterday, we’d already eaten dinner, but we’re never ones to turn down an extra dessert, so we sampled the baklava ($6.95) and the ekmek ($6.95), a custard cream topped with whipped cream, sliced almonds, and a cherry, all atop a mound of syrup-soaked phyllo dough strands. While both were definitely sweet, they weren’t cloying, and the baklava offered up a nice walnut flavor. We preferred the ekmek, though, creamy and texturally exciting — a sort of Greek ice cream sundae, made with custard instead of ice cream. Not necessarily mind-blowing, but tasty enough to entice us back to see what tricks the savory kitchen has up its sleeve.