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MP Taverna Astoria

By on May 2, 2013
Maria A. Pardalis

Maria A. Pardalis

“Pick one thing and be great at it. However, make sure the one thing you pick is something you really love.”

These are words very close to Michael Psilakis’ heart, words of advice given to him by his late father and words that inspired him to jump from the world of finance into the food industry. The notable chef and restaurateur may not have a culinary degree, however his love for Greek food paired with an unfathomable amount of hard work resulted in 5 successful restaurants and a well deserved Michelin Star for his work at Anthos.

Food has always played a pivotal role in Psilakis’ life. It is what garnered some of his fondest childhood memories and what consistently brought Psilakis’ family and friends together. Having already proven what he can do in the culinary world, Psilakis felt it was time for a “going home” project and what better city than Astoria for MP Taverna’s third location? Besides being New York’s Greek food mecca, Astoria is a place very dear to Psilakis’ heart and closely associated with his Hellenic upbringing.

Michael Psilakis

Michael Psilakis

MP Taverna was established with the intent to create memories while providing patrons a delectable fusion of simple old-fashioned taverna-style fare along with menu items that represent an evolved version of Greek cuisine.

This avant-garde type of Greek food is essential because it represents how Greeks have evolved over the years. Traditionalists should not fret, all authentic Greek flavors remain entirely intact in nearly every menu item. You will not find deconstructed frou-frou Greek dishes at MP Taverna, just simple unpretentious classics with an evolved twist. Gyro Spiced Sliders are a wonderful example of what can be expected on MP Taverna Astoria’s menu and Psilakis was kind enough to share his coveted recipe with us.

Gyro Spiced Sliders

Gyro Spiced Sliders

Gyro Spiced Sliders

[sws_green_box box_size=”630″] (Makes 1 dozen sliders) [/sws_green_box]

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”665″] Ingredients: [/sws_yellow_box]

  • 12 2-ounce beef patties
  • Gyro spice mixture
  • 6 ounces Tsatziki sauce
  • 12 slider potato rolls
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 12 cornichons (optional)
  • 12 frilly toothpicks

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”665″] Gyro Slider Spice: [/sws_yellow_box]

  • 6 oz Cumin
  • 1 oz Coriander
  • 4 oz Yellow mustard seed
  • 4 oz Clove
  • 1 oz Black cardamom
  • 2 oz Fennel
  • 1 oz Cinnamon

Combine  all  spices  in  mixing  bowl, transfer  to  air tight  container  and  set  aside.

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”665″] For the Tsatziki: [/sws_yellow_box]

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 4 shallots, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup small, picked sprigs dill
  • 1 ½ cups strained Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”665″] Preparation: [/sws_yellow_box]

  1. Quarter the cucumber lengthwise and trim off the triangular wedge of seeds. Dice or cut the cucumber into very small pieces. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, vinegar, shallots and dill. Pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. Add the mixture to the cucumber; add the yogurt.
  3. Fold together with a rubber spatula, adding the olive oil and lemon juice. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper, starting off with 1 tablespoon salt. Taste for seasoning.

*You can store Tsatziki in a covered, clean jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”665″] Slider Preparation: [/sws_yellow_box]

  1. Make gyro spice and set aside.
  2. Make tsatziki & reserve in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Season sliders on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge sliders in gyro spice.
  4. Add enough olive oil to fill bottom of skillet and in batches, so as not to crowd, sear sliders for approximately 1 minute per side.
  5. Remove to resting rack.  Wipe excess grease with paper towel and repeat.
  6. Place each slider on bottom of potato roll and top with dollop of tsatziki. Cover gently with bun top.
  7. Skewer cornichon with toothpick and spear sliders. Transfer to plate and serve.

[sws_green_box box_size=”630″] Kali Orexi![/sws_green_box]

For more information on MP Taverna, please visit www.mptaverna.com or stop by the new Astoria location on 31-29 Ditmars Boulevard.


About Maria A. Pardalis

Maria A. Pardalis is Lifestyle Editor on NEO Magazine.