As Gothamist can never get enough of Greek food and drink, and as it had been awhile since our last new Greek-food venture, we decided it was time to try Pylos in the East Village. We had heard good things about Pylos from friends (and from a commenter on our Molyvos review) and were ready to give it a try.

Before we even went to Pylos, we had our expectations raised by the fact that renowned Greek-cookbook author Diane Kochilas has served as the consulting chef at Pylos since it opened a couple of years ago. Her menu choices attempt to show the range and breadth of Greek regional foods; specifically, the type of home cooking that has been passed down within families for generations and that she has documented in her cookbooks.

03_05_pylos_trio.jpgFor years Greek restaurants catered to the American palate and consequently provided a rather one-dimensional view of Greek cuisine. But as American tastes have changed (and the Mediterranean diet has come into vogue) more Greek restaurants have taken up the challenge of being more authentically Greek in their food.

Pylos, in particular, stakes its claim on showcasing the breadth of regional Greek foods--everything from the more "Italianized" Ionian islands of western Greece to the more Turkish east. Comprised of so many islands, and with such a long history of cultural mixing (Turkish, Balkan, etc.), Greece contains multitudes within its cuisine. In short, there is no one "right" way to make Greek food.

Instead, there are several good ways to make it. And Gothamist is happy to report that Pylos is succeeding. Everything we ate--from the traditional dips to the roasted red pepper with whipped feta, from the moussaka to the braised lamb shank--was delicious.

A Greek restaurant's worth can be directly measured by its taramosalata, tzatziki, and melitzanosalata and so we made sure to order the sampler ($9) that provided all three. What arrived at our table included a very thick, tangy version of yogurt-based tzatziki (not too garlicky but definitely intense); fish-roe taramosalata that walked the very fine line of not being too salty/fishy, yet still having a strong flavor; and the eggplant dip melitzanosalata, which was full-bodied and chunky.

The other meze (appetizer) that caught our eye was the half roasted pepper with spicy whipped feta inside ($7). As Gothamist is a fan of all things chile-related, we were happy to find that even though Greek food is never super spicy, it does occasionally provide a little fire with a dish like this. The salty creaminess of the feta against the velvety texture of the roasted pepper just added to why we liked it.

After all the amazing meze, we were excited for the entrees, and especially the moussaka ($15). Would Pylos' version manage to distinguish itself from the many, many moussaka that already exist in the New York diner's world? This moussaka differed from others we had had before; far less tomatoey, with just a few thin eggplant slices and delicate seasoning. These changes lend a more delicate, formal quality to a dish that the menu itself labels "comfort food." It's still comforting, yet manages to seem more grown-up and stylish in the transformation.

And the braised lamb shank with egg noodles ($17)? What can Gothamist say--when meat that flavorful doesn't need a knife to be eaten, and is delivered in a red sauce that delicately complements the meat, well, we're happy. And in true Greek fashion, the preparation is simple and the ingredient list short. No showy sauce needed--that way the quality of the lamb can shine through.

Pylos also offers a variety of Greek wines, both whites and reds.

Gothamist ended our evening at Pylos on a (literally) sweet note: with miniature galactoboureko ($6), buttery phyllo triangles filled with custard and drizzled with honey. Beautifully presented in its stacking of the triangles, the dessert completed our evening of escaping the East Village for a Greek isle in our mind's eye. Flaky and crisp, even with the intermingling of the drizzled syrup, we savored the last Greek flavors of the evening and planned to attempt some Greek home cooking of our own very soon.

PYLOS, 128 East 7th Street (between First Ave. & Ave. A), (212)473-0220