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Molyvos


Ron Johnson
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I have not been to this particular greek restaurant, but I am somewhat surprised by the review by Mr. Asimov. In the body of the review he has numerous criticisms, but gives it a score of 2 stars. Given what was said I was expecting no stars or one at the most. Does this surprise anyone else in light of the critical comments he made?

Has anyone dined at Molyvos?

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I've been to Molyvos several times; it offers a very enjoyable dining experience. It is a bit touristy and I have gotten an Epcot Center feeling on the occasions that I've been surrounded by a chorus of midwestern accents attached to questions like "what's cous cous?".

With respect to the NYT review, I did not feel that the review was inappropriately critical for two-star cuisine, but I do think that Mr. Asimov was rather flip regarding some service breakdowns. Overall, I did not think the text of the review merited a no star rating.

The Critical Diner

"If posts to eGullet became the yardstick of productivity, Tommy would be the ruler of the free world." -- Fat Guy

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You have to look at this in the context that Molyvos was an existing NYT 3 star restaurant, based on an inflated review by Ruth Reichel a number of years ago. Asimov is trying to walk a fine line by correcting the previous review, but attributing the downgrade to changes, thus not insulting the previous reviewer or calling into question the validity of NYT reviews in general. For this reason there are probably a few more negative comments than one would find in a typical 2 star review. Molyvos probably does merit, and never merited any more than, a weak 2 stars in the NYT scheme of things.

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You have to look at this in the context that Molyvos was an existing NYT 3 star restaurant, based on an inflated review by Ruth Reichel a number of years ago.  Asimov is trying to walk a fine line by correcting the previous review, but attributing the downgrade to changes, thus not insulting the previous reviewer or calling into question the validity of NYT reviews in general.  For this reason there are probably a few more negative comments than one would find in a typical 2 star review.  Molyvos probably does merit, and never merited any more than, a weak 2 stars in the NYT scheme of things.

Thanks for the insight Marcus, that explains it perfectly. Just the sort of response for which I was hoping. :biggrin:

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Marcus is right. Molyvos opened to an inflated hype. While the food in the early months, years ago was good - It wasn't exactly ***. having said that, this and Milos are two greek restaurants we drop by without reservations and are accomodated and welcomed with a smile :cool:

anil

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As I mentioned earlier, Milos and maybe Periyli (sp?) on 20th St. There used to be a decent place that closed down called Periyus (sp?) on 57th, it was on the second floor.

And another restaurant in Bayside (the name escapes me) I was taken to by some folks who had arrived from Greece.

anil

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  • 3 months later...
Today on CNBC they did lunch at Molyvos...the food looked pretty good...any member input?

Tasty and consistent, but menu doesn't change much and has gotten very touristy in an Epcot Center way. Broad selection of Greek wines, a good number of which turn out to be good (and reasonably priced) quaffers.

The Critical Diner

"If posts to eGullet became the yardstick of productivity, Tommy would be the ruler of the free world." -- Fat Guy

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I second that reply. Molyvos is well worth a visit or two - high quality food, especially the meze and anything with phyllo, and very pleasant service, nice, relaxed atmosphere and decor. However, after a few visits, you do grow tired of the menu.

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We like to go for meze before or after a Carnegie Hall concert or event at City Center. Always quite tasty, and even if they don't change much there are still enough to have a different set each time. Their taramasalata is one of the best I've had.

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I visited Molyvos so long ago, and left the bar so groggy from an impromptu preprandial ouzo tasting, that I barely recall with whom I dined or, atypically, exactly what I ate. What stands out in my shaky memory, however, were the warm breads, grilled octopus, grilled whole fish, and baklava. (The fish was filleted more or less expertly by the waiter, perhaps because he didn’t trust us with so sharp an object as a knife.) The appetizer spreads, meatball appetizer, lamb chops, spinach, and dessert fritters must have been less, um, memorable. I think we also had potatoes. Perhaps observing the Ouzo’s effect on our party, the waiter selected a Greek cabernet, rather than something more traditionally Greek. No after-dinner drinks were served. Mint tea was mint tea.

I’d do the octopus and fish again, bypassing the ouzo. Even Dr. Atkins would approve.

"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...

I'm going to Molyvos tonight with my parents (it's their 52nd anniversary, and they were kind enough to invite me to join them for dinner). Does anyone have any ordering advice based on a relatively recent visit? (Thanks for yours, Kara. What's Saganaki?)

My father and I eat fish and things like octopus and squid, but my mother doesn't. She does eat shrimp and the like, though.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm going to Molyvos tonight with my parents (it's their 52nd anniversary, and they were kind enough to invite me to join them for dinner). Does anyone have any ordering advice based on a relatively recent visit? (Thanks for yours, Kara. What's Saganaki?)

My father and I eat fish and things like octopus and squid, but my mother doesn't. She does eat shrimp and the like, though.

I haven't been to Molyvos in a while, but I found it to be very authentic Greek cooking. The whole grilled fishes are simply prepared with olive oil, sea salt and herbs. Delicious. Any of the lamb dishes are a good bet. The grilled octopus is excellent, as has already been reported. Wine list has some real gems on it that are quite reasonable and I found the waitstaff to be quite helpful in that regard.

Saganaki is a Greek appetizer of Kasseri cheese that's been fried and then (usually) set aflame with brandy to loud shouts of "OPA!!" from the waitstaff and small scorch marks being left on the ceiling. :rolleyes:

Happy Anniversary to your parents!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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It's also been a while since I was there, but their $30 prix fixe (if they still have it) is a great deal for someone with a not-so-big appetite. Which is to say, the portions were smallish, but the food delicious. And as I recall, one of the dessert choices was their excellent housemade yogurt. Mmmmmm.

Please wish you parents Happy Anniversary for me, too.

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I'm going to Molyvos tonight with my parents (it's their 52nd anniversary, and they were kind enough to invite me to join them for dinner). Does anyone have any ordering advice based on a relatively recent visit? (Thanks for yours, Kara. What's Saganaki?)

My father and I eat fish and things like octopus and squid, but my mother doesn't. She does eat shrimp and the like, though.

Saganaki is a Greek appetizer of Kasseri cheese that's been fried and then (usually) set aflame with brandy to loud shouts of "OPA!!" from the waitstaff and small scorch marks being left on the ceiling. :rolleyes:

Happy Anniversary to your parents!

Have fun, Pan. Happy anniversary to the parental units!

Molyvos marinates their cheese in ouzo rather than brandy, maybe that's why it's so good. They do indeed set it aflame, and then douse the flames with a wonderful lemony sauce (not sure what else is in it).

I've sampled Saganaki compulsively at every Greek restaurant I've set foot in, and while many places do a fine version, Molyvos's is the best, IMHO. Some places focus more on the drama of the flames than the flavor. Other places somehow create a rubbery cheese. Molyvos's Saganaki has a more pleasing texture, it's toasty on the outside and firm on the inside, with a bit of "squeak" to the bite but no rubberiness, and the flavors are delighfully complex.

If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

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My parents and I had a very pleasant meal at Molyvos. (It was their 51st anniversary, actually, but who's counting?)

Some excellent rosemary-laden bread and pita were provided, along with a tasty spread of feta, red bell peppers, and herbs.

We started with two hot mezedes and one cold one. First to arrive was the octopus, grilled with a mixture of spices similar to what could be used on lamb. It was accompanied by diced tomatoes, fennel, a black olive, etc. Second was marinated beets, big white beans (gigantes), and skordalia. All of it was excellent, but the skordalia was particularly good. Finally, the saganaki arrived. For me, not having had it before, it was a unique taste. (Thank you for recommending it, Kara, because if I hadn't known to order it, I probably wouldn't have.) All three mezedes were appreciated by all. My mother particularly raved about the skordalia and saganaki but also tried the octopus and liked it, which I give her a lot of credit for, as I don't think she's ever tried that type of seafood before.

For main dishes, my father ordered cod, which was a high-quality fresh fish breaded and lightly fried, accompanied by the same kind of marinated beets and skordalia I had had as an appetizer. I ordered a special lamb dish that was excellent, an interesting combination of sweet, sour, and salty. The meat was primarily tender leg of lamb, but also included was a little charcoal broiled lamb chop. It came with caramelized acorn squash, slightly caramelized onion, capers, and rosemary, with a few mushrooms thrown in for good measure, and it sat atop some very nicely cooked lentils. My mother got a different lamb dish which was also quite good: Lamb shanks in a tomato-based sauce with orzo.

My parents don't drink alcohol and had a Greek sparkling water with the meal, which cost some $7 a bottle (we eventually drank two bottles). I got a glass of a Greek Cabernet at the recommendation of the waiter. It was a decent table wine and nothing more, though it did have a good aftertaste, up to a point. I'd say it wasn't up to the quality of the food.

For dessert, all three of us decided to have traditional baklava, and a delicious, moist rendition it was! It was accompanied by three pralines of walnuts.

I also had some good mint tea.

The bill came to $172 plus tip, which was less than my father expected.

Some remarks about non-food things:

The restaurant is really big. It seems to go back further and further. It's also very busy, and can be pretty crowded near the door.

When I showed up, I said my last name and the fact that I was part of a party of 3 for 7:30, and the hostess initially said that my parents were at the bar. I ultimately determined that they were not, whereupon she checked her computer again and directed me to their table.

The coat-check is a person of notable agility, as she has to climb up a steep step to access the coats. I suppose that job helps keep her in shape. :laugh:

A while into our meal, a couple showed up with a baby daughter and they were seated at the table next to us. Their daughter, who turned out to be 10 months old, was easygoing and smiley. The restaurant is a place of loudish conversations anyway, so had their daughter made more noise, it wouldn't have mattered much, but the fact is, she didn't, which put me in mind of the discussions we've had about babies in restaurants. I think that smiley baby should be welcome in almost any restaurant.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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