Michael Psilakis’s newly opened MP Taverna Brooklyn (470 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn; 929-250-2312) demonstrates the chef’s passion for creating modern Greek dishes meant for sharing family-style.
This is Psilakis’s fourth location for MP Taverna; the others are in Roslyn, Irvington, and Astoria. The chef continues to emphasize a background in fine dining, as well as his style of taking a very classic ingredient, such as octopus, and pairing it with a not-so-standard accompaniment, like yogurt.
“Whether or not yogurt goes with octopus traditionally doesn’t really matter. What matters is when you eat it, are you still within the genre of Greek food? To me — yes,” Psilakis says. “The things that we do here are firmly rooted in the Mediterranean. Nothing that I serve on this menu is beyond the boundaries of what lives in the Mediterranean. If it doesn’t exist there, it’s not on a plate here.”
A seafood and merguez paella, grilled calamari with cauliflower and chickpeas, and grilled whole fish are a few of the items guests can share or take on solo. Premium dry-aged beef is available for those looking to stay on land while navigating the Mediterranean. Whole animals, including lamb, goat, and suckling pig, can also be ordered for large groups with advance notice. MP Taverna Brooklyn is set to offer a weekend brunch, with options such as skillet baked eggs with mushroom and spinach.
A former warehouse, the 120-seat restaurant retains some of its former elements, like the gray industrial floor. Psilakis and his wife, Anna, added personal touches to create an inviting interior; an orange citrus tree is the centerpiece to the dining room, with floor-to-ceiling windows and leather couches accenting the open space.
The black granite bar with its background of built-in shelving is reminiscent of a grand library, albeit stocked with bourbon, not books. White columns add a sense of elegant beauty. “My wife really designed the whole spot,” noted Psilakis. “We embraced the culture of what’s going on over here, kind of do-it-yourself. I built a beer tower into a bookcase,” the chef added.
The bar, with nineteen beers on tap in addition to sangria, wine, and signature cocktails, is offering a daily happy hour from 3 to 5:30 p.m., with half off the entire beverage menu.
Psilakis reflected on opening his first restaurant in Brooklyn: “If you go to Queens, you’re getting the actual, authentic thing. In Brooklyn, it feels like you’re getting slightly evolved from that tradition and paying homage to it in a very artistic way, and I think that’s what resonates. That’s what I think is exciting.”