Monday, February 11, 2013

The Chicago Dining World Tour: Greece is the Word

8660 W. Golf Rd., Niles
Yelp page | page

What I ate: Braised Lamb, Potatoes, Rice Pilaf, Saganaki, Baklava

I like Greek food considerably more than I eat it.

Aside from quick-serve Gyros—which I love but likely only get a couple times a year—before Friday night’s first-time visit to Mykonos in Niles, it’s been at least a few years since I’ve had a Greek feast. That was probably at Psistaria in Lincolnwood.

I know I’ve enjoyed visits to Chicago’s Greektown—and even once wrote a tourist brochure about it—and have dined at Greek Islands there as well as in Lombard, but probably not for at least a decade now.

So while Greek food might seem like one of the more commonplace cuisines to include on my Chicago Dining World Tour, without such exploratory impetus, who knows when I might have been so inspired. (Though I should note that Greek Culture is being celebrated through the Coming Together in Skokie program and that I will be visiting the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago this weekend.)

And Mykonos—whose namesake island I hope to one day visit—provided not only a savory and satisfying feast, but an experiential treat as well.

I was joined by my friends Dave and Ken, and we began by chowing down on delicious bread that was heralded in advance by the former. (Dr. Wolf, I hope you’re not reading this.)

Then came an appetizer of Saganaki, a.k.a. flaming cheese, the table-side presentation of which--including the waiter's shout of "Opa!"--originated at The Parthenon in Chicago in 1968 (according to Wikipedia).

As usual, the Saganaki was quite delicious.

For my entree, I got Braised Lamb, which came sliced and accompanied by my choice of two sides: rice pilaf and potatoes.

The lamb was tender and made for a good meal, but was a bit too mildly flavored for me to absolutely love it.

Dave ordered a Lamb Chop and Shrimp combination dish from among the Friday Specials, while Ken chose the Combination Plate from the everyday offerings.

It consisted of gyros, dolmades, moussaka, pastitsio, Athenian potatoes, rice and vegetable.

Even if both my companions had not verbally conveyed pleasure with their selections, their completely cleared plates would have clued me in.

The food and conversation was certainly enjoyable, but as typical--especially for me and Ken--it ran to current events and the corporatocracy, which unavoidably involves a certain amount of societal chagrin.

So it was particularly heartwarming to see a few older patrons giddily dancing to the live band (only on Fridays, I believe), even showering themselves with dollar bills as they did so. And with a cute baby looking on in wonder, it was enough to remind that sometimes the perplexities of life can--and should--be forgotten in favor of just enjoying it.

And so, we ordered dessert.

I got a piece of baklava, which was especially thick and terrific, while Dave got rice pudding and Ken went with Galaktoboureko, which I can best describe as a custard-based cake. He really enjoyed it; I tried a piece and liked the sweetness more than the consistency. 

All in all, it proved to be another quite successful cultural culinary excursion. 

While there are many other international flavors I still look forward to savoring, my trip to Mykonos definitely left me thinking:

"Iota eat Greek food more often."

Pictures of Dave and Ken's entrees, plus the Galaktoboureko dessert are below. 



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