Written by Hulda Lawrence
After we were seated we noticed the many celebratory groups at surrounding tables, and our server Yusuf suggested we have cocktails as we perused the menu. Then he described the Mozzarella Bar Misto as our antipasto. This large tray of bufala, burrata, flor di latte, cremes along with prosciutto, roasted peppers, great eggplant caponata and fava beans almost overwhelmed us. However, we found that tasting these different cheeses with their accompaniments was a joy. It is a very substantial first course for $29.95.
From the antipasto we might have chosen Gorgonzola Bread, toasted garlic bread with piping hot gorgonzola sauce at $8; Fried Artichokes alla Giudea; or a Salumeria Platter of Parma Prosciutto, Sopressatas and melon for $13.95. Vegetable antipasto is pegged at three selections for $10.50; three seafood selections are $15.00.
There is an all-encompassing list of steaks, from filet mignon to porterhouse, Strip Tagliata, skirt steak, a steak burger and lamb chops, along with veal scaloppine prepared Parmigiana, Milanese, Piccata and Marsala, and veal chops and chicken as well as lobster and seafood. We opted for Red Snapper Livornese and Jumbo Crab Cake and Gameroni. The Crab Cake was sensational and accompanied by large prawns. It had no filler and was anointed with a lemon-butter sauce. The crab cake is $29.75 as an entrée but as an appetizer it is $18.50. The snapper was clay-pot roasted with plum tomatoes and capers.
There is pasta including Spaghetti with Meatballs; Ravioli al Magro; Sfogliata di Lasagna and Linguine Fruti di Mare. Pasta is $17 for Double Pomodoro to $22.75 for the linguine.
There are salads, from Insalata Tricolore to Insalata di Mare, with a Cobb variety of warm chicken, avocado, egg, pancetta, gorgonzola, tomato and greens at $20.95. There are popular pizzas such as Margherita, Salsiccia, Double Pepperoni, Prosciutto and Mascarpone and crispy Stracchino cheese-filled Focaccia di Becco from Liguria (the first time in the USA).
With our fine seafood we appreciated Chardonnay, Sonoma Cutrer (Russian River) 2003 at $15.50 for my companion and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Terre di Bo 2000 (Toscana) at $21.50 for me. These wines are served in small quartinos, 250 ml. There is a lengthy listing of wines from Italy as well as many from North America.
Out dessert was the best Tiramisu ever. It is served in a bowl and is moist and exceptional. Made of mascarpone cream, espresso dipped lady fingers and shaved chocolate, it is $7.95. Other desserts include Twin Cannoli, mascarpone, ricotta cream filled almond tuiles with blueberry coulis and toasted almonds; Profiteroles, Tarfufo Bianco & Nero, black cherries wrapped two ways in vanilla hazelnut and double chocolate; Torta al Circcolato, Italian flourless chocolate cake; N.Y. Strawberry Cheesecake and several flavors of gelato and sorbetto. Desserts are $6.95 for sorbetto to $8.95 for the tartufo.
Next time you are going to theatre or would like to visit a restaurant that looks the way glamorous dining was handled years ago, a trip to Bond 45 will bring back good memories.
Molyvos, located at 871 Seventh Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets, 212 582-7500, is an authentic Greek restaurant. Its décor of sports objects and photos reminds diners of Greece, and its tables are placed far enough apart to enable all to chat privately. In addition, its staff is substantially Greek and greets diners as if they are really delighted to see them.
On a recent visit, our waitress Despina was wonderful. She knew everything about the menu and was helpful in making suggestions about what to order. We were overwhelmed by the list of cold and hot mezedes which we could order while sipping our Mediterranean specialty drinks. My choice was Rhodes Mist of Absolut Raspberry, Cointreau and White Cranberry Juice, while my companion opted for Apkrodite of Gray Goose Orange, Pomegranate and Lime Juice. On my next visit I will try the Sanorini Sun Set of Villa Amalia Sparkling Wine, Peach Nectar and Peach Schnapps or Chios Blood Orange Martini or Stoli Vodka, Cointreau, Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange and Rose water.
We shared taramonsalata, caviar mousse, Melitzanosalata, wood-grilled eggplant salad with tomato, vinegar and parsley and Patzaris Skordalia of marinated baby beets with picked pearl onions. Each dish was tasty as were the hot mezedes of Spanakopita spinach, leeks, and feta in phyllo, and Keftedes, spicy meatballs with red sauce. Each of these mezedes is $5.
Molyvos has established a "Quick Lunch" at $24 of appetizer, entree and dessert. A choice of Lentil Soups; Chilled Baked Gigantes (giant white beans, tomatoes, honey, vinegar and yogurt); Romaine Red Endive and Baby Arugula, which was our choice to share. Entrees are Orecchiette, "Little Ear" shaped pasta with spicy braised octopus; Grilled Fish with the tiniest of brussels sprouts, melted root vegetable and barley pilaf and Lahano Dolmades, cabbage leaves grilled with ground beef, lamb, pork and Arborio rice with spiced yogurt garlic sauce. We selected the fish which was tile that day. It was delicious. Our dessert was Ravani, toasted almond vanilla cake, quince spoon sweet, cinnamon cream. Other lunch choices were Galaktoboureko, semolina custard wrapped in Phyllo or Greek Yogurt with orange spoon sweet and walnuts.
With our "light lunch" we had glasses of Asyriko, white wine for my companion, and Aghiorghitiko, red for me. The white came from Santorini and the red from Nemea. Each was $10.
We had an interesting conversation with Dimitri (known as Jim) Botsacos, the chef. He told us how he picks the freshest of fish from the market each day and that the restaurant bakes its own bread. This bread is exceptional and delicious when served with feta spread. The chef insisted we try the Octopodi Salata, Grilled Octopus with tomatoes, mixed baby greens, lemon and olive oil emulsion and it was fine. However, after he returned to his kitchen we asked Despina to get us small taste of Aglaia's Moussaka which turned out to be the best we had ever eaten, Other entrees also available in the evening are fish done on a wood-burning grill; Baby Lamb Chops; pan seared Branzini; Sirloin Steak; Chios Pork and Giganti Stew. Prices are $19 for the wonderful moussaka and up to $29 for the sirloin.
Lighter entrees include Seared Spice Crusted Tuna; Molyvos Warm Wrapped Lamb Sandwich; Grilled Chicken Paillard; Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops and Savory Lamb Ravioli. Light a la carte entrees are $16 to $20.
To top off this splendid lunch we requested some Bakalava. It truly was the best we had ever been served here or in Greece.
There is a pre-theatre supper of three courses for $35 and the menu is about the same as at lunch with a long list of mezedes.
For a delightful dining experience in a very Greek atmosphere with excellent food to not miss Molyvos.
Hours: Open seven days a week. Lunch Monday through Saturday noon to 3 p.m. Dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday 5:30 to midnight; Saturday 5 to Midnight; Sunday Noon to 11 p.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.