128 East 7th Street between First and Avenue A
$40 each for two, with drinks, without tip
I’m always excited to find another Greek restaurant in the city. I was even more thrilled to try Pylos because I walked by its glass wall one night and took a note of it as a must-try when I make it back to the neighborhood. When a friend wanted to meet for dinner before heading out on a Saturday night, I suggested that we go there even though I never got a chance to look it up and read about it. I later learned that the owner partnered with Diane Kochilas, a widely recognized authority on Greek cuisine, to be the consulting chef–I now remember the cookbooks on display in the restaurant.
We started with crispy phyllo dough filled with cured beef pasturma, tomatoes and kasseri cheese. The flavor was subtle but very savory. The octopus was grilled and I couldn’t get enough of the balsamic reduction on the plate. It could have used a lot more of the sauce though, so that the octopus was a little bit more flavorful. They had ran out of the anchovies and the cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef, so we immediately moved to the main course of grilled baby lamb chops which were perfectly medium-rare and soft, served with stuffed eggplants and slivers of fingerling potatoes. The chops were so good they made up for the maitre d’ who huffed and puffed when we inquired to be seated without a reservation on a Saturday night.
We got the table next to the giant glass wall under a ceiling covered with unglazed clay pots. (Pylos stand for “things of clay”, see?) The street lamp outside illuminated our side of the restaurant and gave the front section a warm glow while the back room looked like a long dining hall. Everyone around us seemed like they’ve been going to Pylos for years since most tables were comprised of bigger groups. I’d have to come back with my own posse, but I’ve taken a more detailed note: Pylos is a nice little spot without the frills of a New York City Saturday night. It was perfect for two friends and could be perfect for a first date.