December 24, 2011 | Short Order

Village Taverna feeds walk-ins free before opening


by Vicki Polon


           Serious holiday cheers. Village Taverna, launching Wednesday, 12/28, opened its doors a few days early for walk-ins, and for the past four days, it’s all been on the house. What a way to let the nabe know you’re here. The menu is extensive (though some items are still in flux), with a perfectly grilled whole sea bass, rare without even asking, grilled “alcoholic octopus” cooked in Mavrodafni wine, delicious moussaka served in a clay pot, and a wide array of cold and warm appetizers, including skordalia ($5.95) and patzaria (beet salad $7.95). The “specialty cheese selection” offers grilled, baked and pan-seared Greek cheeses. How can you miss with fried saganaki ($8.95)? The room is fresh and cheerful, with white-washed walls, pale wood trim, a chalk board listing daily specials, and a “market” section of Greek specialties for sale. Five members of the Karounas family are joined in the venture. (Bagel Bob being one of their flagships). When asked if they planned to do take-out, brother George declared, "Yes, but never the fish. It would be terrible to serve after the delivery time." The night we went, it was jammed and service was a bit rushed, but we’ll be back for money time. You can see your dinner and hear your companions! Village Taverna, 81 University Place, corner of 11th Street, NYC, 212 982-3457.