I’d better review Mykonos on the Bay before it closes down. When we were there on Christmas Eve, the restaurant was only a third full. That’s a sure sign that it isn’t doing well. But it isn’t doing well not because of the food; the food is fantastic.
Mykonos on the Bay (MOTB) is part of the Mangiatutto Group, which specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, and which includes restaurants such as Cugini, Los Primos, and SolePomodoro. MOTB is helmed by Greek Head Chef Dionysios Michalopoulo. His signatures, the waitress informed us, are the dips, mousaka, and grilled meats.
Strangely, the waitress didn’t recommend the seafood. When I backpacked in Greece for 3 weeks, my limited knowledge of Greek food reveals that it focuses on fresh, bright ingredients, using a lot of seafood. Greek food is kind of like a fuss-free peasant fare, and has a down-to-earth quality. (I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. Anyway all cuisines are peasant fare, just that we have been brainwashed to accept that French food is sophisticated). So I found it strange that the head chef specializes in meat, and not seafood, especially when the name of the restaurant suggests seafood.
We waited 30 minutes for our food to come even though the restaurant was only a third full. I wondered how long we would have to wait if the restaurant was packed. But the adage, “good things are worth the wait,” applies here. The moussaka ($27) is fantastic. For the uninitiated, think of moussaka as a Greek version of a lasagna. It is a layer of eggplant at the bottom, a layer of minced meat (usually lamb) in the middle, and a layer of Bechamel sauce at the top. The whole dish is then baked.
Here, the chef adds mashed potatoes on top, which makes it a little like Shepard’s Pie. He also uses beef minced meat, instead of lamb. The minced meat is nicely tender, unlike many places where the meat is overcooked. The eggplant still retains its distinct shape, and hasn’t disintegrated. The whole dish brings about a homeliness, which is characteristic of Greek food, and yet at the same time, there is some elevation in it. A good balance of flavors and textures.
The other recommended dish, pita gyros ($27.50), is just what we call “kebab.” But this is fantastic too. Mr Fitness said, “Wah this is better than our Chinese siew yok.” Indeed, the pork belly shavings are charred on the surface, extremely tender on the inside, giving rise a contrast of slight bitterness to the sweetness, a hardness to the softness. It is also well marinated and tasty.
Two other things I like about the food: (1) it comes scalding hot and I like my food that way, (2) the portions are humongous, hearty, so huge that we couldn’t finish them. So this would be a great place to bring family and large groups.
What I couldn’t figure out is why the restaurant isn’t doing well. The food is amazing. The restaurant is decorated in a white-and-blue Mediterranean manner, with wallpapers of Mykonos, indicating a festive, fun atmosphere. The servers are approachable and attentive; our glasses were always filled. MOTB is in all areas a superior restaurant, much better than many popular restaurants. Perhaps MOTB is a cautionary tale to us all; the best don’t always succeed, the lucky do. We spent $62 for two persons.
Overall rating: 3.531/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.