In 1997, the Livanos family opened up the doors to Molyvos, their first New York City restaurant. Twenty years later, as of this year, they are still doing what they do best, serving up fresh incredibly delicious Greek cuisine. From the outside, you wouldn’t know it, but the space inside their simple façade in the heart of the Theater District is vast. With warm neutral tones, dim colored canvas draped lampshades and plate and family photo clad walls, the large space somehow gives off a homey vibe.
Sitting at a white tablecloth-covered table that overlooked the whole restaurant, I was excited to dive right in. I sifted through their wine menu curated by Wine Director Kamal Kouiri and discovered that it, in fact, boasts the largest selection of Greek wines in all of Manhattan. That, and there are some great beers from Santorini that can’t be found anywhere else in the city. Of course, I had to try one of those. Oh man, you’ve got to go and try the Yellow Donkey, it’s an unfiltered fresh lager with citrus flavors with slightly bitter tones. Not to mention, it went beautifully with Executive Chef Carlos Carreto’s dishes.
These aren’t dishes that my brain automatically pictures when thinking of Greek fare. Often, I envision stuffed grape leaves and endless dishes incorporating olives. I saw neither in any of the dishes that landed on my table. Instead, I had some of the most incredibly delicious spreads—an oven roasted tomato based one, an avocado one and a fava bean one—paired with pita triangles, a perfectly charred octopus, a citrus vinaigrette tossed Aegean seafood salad and a plate filled with huge expertly grilled wild tiger prawns. Every bite was beyond fresh, flavorful and cooked to perfection. I now get why in a city where restaurants are open one day and closed the next, Molyvos has been opened for twenty years.