I'd say over the past 25 years, I have been to Periyali 10 times. There is a reason that it continues to thrive.
At one point, Periyali was probably the only upscale Greek restaurant in Manhattan but that has changed over the years. Many top Greek restaurants, although only a handful, have entered the landscape. Yet, Periyali is the only one downtown. I am not sure when, although the menu has not changed, the decor has. The renovation is simple and has the air of being in Santorini., Greece. White ceiling, white furniture and hints of blue and white. The food is still good and if you close your eyes, you can pretend you are on that island.
We all split the classic greek salad which they make so well. Feta, cukes, tomatoes, red onions with a light red wine vinegar dressing. For appetizers, 2 of us got the octopus which is excellent. As the waiter said, it is their signature dish. Braised first, then finished off on the grill and placed in a red wine reduction. Really delicious and needs to be sopped up with bread to finish the plate off. Someone else has a plate of simply grilled asparagus and another had the Greek meatballs in a tomato sauce. All the greek seasonings in tiny meat balls which were tasty and light.
Three of us went with the whole Dorado grilled with olive oil and herbs. Simple, well cooked. On the side comes couscous and brocolli rabe which is nothing special but a nice addition. Someone else has the braised lamb which is full of flavor and served over tiny Greek pastis which looks like orzo. Sort of super cook home cooking, Greek style. We also split a nice bottle of white wine from Santorini from a small vineyard.
We were all quite full so we bagged dessert although my memory from past meals is that the desserts are yummy. Why I continue to come back is that I know what I am getting, the service is old style New York waiters, the food is classic Greek right out of Santorini and the added bonus is the noise level is low. Won't be back tomorrow but when the hankering arises for a Greek dinner, Periayli is always our first stop.