julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

My Big Fat Greek Dinner

Given that I’ve been out of town for a week, and my road warrior husband is still working his way home, it appears the cooking project is on a brief hiatus and the restaurant reviews continue.

Last night I met a few of my closest 110 friends at a local Greek restaurant – Kostas Cafe – to recount our Seattle adventure, watch a video of our performance, and spend some time together before taking a much-needed break through the end of the year. Because we had so many in attendance, the restaurant actually closed to the general public and hosted our party alone. It was a great time! Not only did I really enjoy visiting and singing with some terrific ladies, I reached far beyond my gastronomic comfort zone and embraced a culinary adventure like no other.

Tzaziki with Pita bread

I have to confess that when I heard we were meeting at a Greek restaurant, I was a little nervous. Not very familiar with Greek food (with the exception of these pitiful dolmas and baklava), I wasn’t real sure about what to expect. Luckily, my friends sitting beside me felt the same way, so we went through this adventure together. As we sat down at our tables, the waitstaff brought around a menu for us which had been prepared and printed specifically for our get-together – complete with music themed graphics. A really sweet touch, I thought. Price of dinner included appetizers (Tzatziki, a dip of sour cream, cucumber, garlic and olive oil with warm Pita bread and Dolmas, grape leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef). The Pita bread was fresh from the oven and a little toasty – delicious! – and it contrasted nicely with the cool dip. The dolmas were really good, meatier than I remember with soft warm grape leaves. Very tasty.

Throw another souvlaki on the barbee!

Next came a Greek salad, which I liked, although it was a little heavy on the dressing for me. Our waiter came around to take our entree order, which we could choose from a list specifically for our party. I opted for the safest sounding dish, Chicken Souvlaki (tender chunks of marinated chicken breast broiled on a skewer with onions, topped with lemon butter sauce) with green beans and potatoes. I was really happy with my choice – the chicken was moist and delicious, and the lemon butter sauce wasn’t overwhelming at all (I hate it when a good dish is unnecessarily smothered in overwhelming sauces…but don’t tell Julia Child I said so). The onions, I was happy to discover, were minimal, sliced thin and cooked through. I thought the green beans and potatoes were good, too. Mostly, I couldn’t believe how much food we were being served! But don’t you think for one minute that I didn’t save room for dessert.

Galaktoboureko - meh, it's all Greek to me!

I had anticipated ordering baklava, as that’s the only Greek dessert I know. Imagine my shock when it didn’t appear on our menu! Given the choice between rice pudding and something called Galaktoboureko, I went with the latter – it was described as a Greek custard layered in filo dough topped with some kind of syrup. It sounded similar to baklava, so I gave it a try. As it turned out, it reminded me very much of baklava and was super yummy, albeit really dense. I couldn’t eat the whole thing (shocking, I know!) but made a pretty good dent in it.

All in all, I give my first real Greek dining experience two thumbs way up. I was really impressed with the waitstaff and how friendly and attentive they were (not easy when faced with 110 hungry women and spouses), and thought the restaurant itself was pretty endearing. Located in a strip shopping center, the two-room facility was just the right size for our group, and they let us use their bar’s big screen TV to show our performance DVD. Special thanks to Dimitri and his staff for a wonderful evening of good friendship and good food.

Now, I just have to figure out how to tell them the bad news – they forgot to wrap their dolmas in green dental floss!

Like Greek food? Like friendly people? Check out Kostas Cafe. Don’t have a Kostas Cafe near you? Then go to your friendly neighborhood Greek restaurant and order any of the dishes I mentioned here. They were terrific!

Opa!

– Jessica

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One Response to “My Big Fat Greek Dinner”

  1. Melody says:

    I chose the Moussaka (which, thanks to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I will forever refer to as “moose caca”) – and it was AWESOME! It LOOKED like lasagna, but tasted a bit like Shepherd’s pie, with eggplant layered in rather than peas. Super awesomely good! And we had those potatoes & green beans, also.

    And yes – I, too, chose the “not rice pudding” option. Loved it! I do believe I’ve found another ethnicity to try on those “I don’t care, what do YOU want” evenings. 😉

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