Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sandwiches of Westchester County - Chicken Souvlaki

Our new home sits approximately a 30-minute drive from one of America's iconic rivers, the Hudson. Until I lived in New York, I didn't have much appreciation for just how mighty this river is, as it appears to be nearly as wide as the Mississippi in some places:

This panoramic picture (one of the features on my fancy new phone) was taken from the Tappan Zee Bridge viewing platform in Tarrytown and doesn't begin to convey the majesty of the view. To give you some sense of the scale involved here, the Tappan Zee (which will soon be replaced with a new, nearly-$4 billion bridge) is over 3 miles long.

We've discovered that many of the towns along the Hudson in Westchester County (such as Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry, and Hastings-on-Hudson) are very charming and picturesque. Several of them have retail developments with restaurants and shops built into old riverside commerce buildings, including Bridge Street Properties in Irvington, which is where you'll find MP Taverna.  "MP" are the initials of Executive Chef Michael Psilakis, who parlayed a love of his mother's Greek cooking into a small local restaurant empire serving what he refers to as "Modern Greek" cuisine.  His tavernas (there are four of them) and other eateries are so well-regarded among diners and critics that he had a Michelin Star at one point (although that venture, Anthos, has since closed).

The Thursday lunchtime that I popped in for lunch was very quiet, and I took a seat at the bar below a large TV showing the latest business news on MSNBC.  Westchester Magazine told me that I'm practically obligated to order the chicken souvlaki sandwich with the house's smash fries, so this is what I did (with a pint of nearby Captain Lawrence's Effortless Grapefruit IPA to wash it down).  The souvlaki was exactly as advertised, tender and moist and filling, stuffed full of marinated chicken pieces, sauteed onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato, with a sober schmear of tangy tzatziki sauce (so as not to overwhelm everything).  I found the little cup of pickled veggies to be a great foil for the rich sandwich and the terrific smash fries, which, according to the magazine article, are soaked for 24 hours, cooked in the oven, flash-fried once, smashed, and then flash-fried again before serving, yielding golden brown, crunchy wedges.  I'd have no problem indulging in this lunch combo again and the missus and I (who are no strangers to Greek food, having eaten our fill repeatedly in Chicago and Tarpon Springs, FL) will definitely be back for dinner at some point...

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