No blue walls, no line drawings of the Acropolis, no moussaka—MP Taverna, the acclaimed restaurant Michael Psilakis opened in New York's Westchester County last year, is nothing like a traditional Greek eatery. "I even removed hard-to-read Greek words from the menu," says the chef, who has become the poster boy for modern Greek gastronomy, thanks to simple, fresh preparations of heavy, often yogurt-drenched classics. Across the country, first- and second-generation chefs are following his lead and reinventing the cuisine with an eye toward the latest epicurean trends. At Amali in New York City, restaurateur James Mallios is so dedicated to seasonality that he won't serve tomatoes in the winter, while chef Costas Spiliadis of Estiatorio Milos traverses the globe for impeccable fish that he has flown in to his Miami hot spot for a turn on the grill. A world away from slicing gyro meat off a spit, these innovators are creating a new Greek mythology sure to make you salivate.
New York City
Adopting a sustainable approach to classic Mediterranean food, chef Nilton Borges Jr.'s seasonal menu includes elegant dishes like salt-baked black bass, line-caught off Montauk.
At this fashionable Miami eatery, fresh fish is the star—brought to the table grilled and barely dressed with olive oil, lemon, and salt.
Kentro Greek Kitchen
Executive chef Konstantine Marougas and owner Vasili Kotsiovos bring a refreshing modernity to old-school flatbreads, topping them with unexpected items like braised lamb shoulder.
Irvington, New York
Michael Psilakis reinterprets the traditional Greek taverna with culture-jumping dishes like a paella of spicy lamb sausage, shellfish, and orzo.
Almost as surprising as the thick bifteki burger stuffed with creamy Feta cheese and topped with cucumbers, tomato, and onion is the "secret" beer garden out back serving succulent gyros and craft beers.
Chef-owner John Loufas has created a warm, inviting eatery (candles and communal tables) serving playful twists on Greek classics like wafer-thin cured-lamb carpaccio.