As spring comes near I somehow think of the wonderful cooking of Greece - maybe because years ago I was invited aboard a freighter docked in Portland by the my Greek friends who knew the Greek captain and the Greek crew. They were roasting an entire lamb on the top deck of the freighter in celebration of the Greek Easter!
So as a tribute to the coming Spring, join me for a wonderful meal at our own local Greek establishment, Eleni's Estiatorio in Sellwood. Owner and chef Eleni Touhouliotis presides over both the Sellwood and the Pearl district locations, creating authentic Greek recipes with a focus on the cuisines of her home town Chania, Crete. Here husband George co-owns with her, you might remember him as the owner of the former popular night spot Satyricon. She trained under her uncle Dimitri at Dimitri's on Burnside.''
Three recent reviews on yelp:
"I adore Greece and Greek food. This is a high-end Northwestern Greek restaurant. Highly recommend the saganaki - best balance of lemon on the flaming hot cheese. BF had the mousaka which is a staple on the menu, and I had the braised lemon chicken special with potatoes and horta. Chicken crisp and perfect and sauced. Horta a fine mix of spinach, kale, garlic and lemon - healthy too!" December 2011
"I was raised in a Greek household, and I've been to Greece a number of times -- so, you'll understand I hope when I say that I hold my Greek food to very high standards.
Eleni's very much feels like an upscale Athenian restaurant. The menu seems to have a place for fans of mezedes (tapas) and for those wanting their own entree. .....The service was fast with nothing to complain about at all. The wine we ordered was quite tasty -- although I have yet to sample their Retsina (the true mark of a quality Greek dining establishment)......I was mostly very pleased with the food. The cheese dishes we got were very good (although they were out of Saganaki -- fail), but it was one dish that really stood out, and something I had never tried before at that: Spanaki Me Stafithes Kai Koukounaria (really good Spinach... sorry, my Greek is quite out of practice). It's a truly unique dish to someone whose family is also from Crete -- and I really loved it. We also got the Schara Kalamarakia (marinated and grilled squid), which was definitely quite tasty and almost undeniably either fresh or quality flash-frozen." November 2011
"Ridiculously good food. A table of 6 of us (mostly vegetarians) practically ate everything meatless (and some meat-ed) items on the menu. The food is so delicious that we didn't really pay attention to the service, although I vaguely remember it's rather lackluster for the scale of the restaurant. Still, I would most definitely come back if I am in the Portland area." August 2011
Check out the menu here at this link: http://www.elenisrestaurant.com/menu.html (There appears to be many moderately priced dishes and vegetarian fare)
Deposit Required: Some of you may not be familiar with how my deposit system works so please read this before you sign up. You are being asked to pay a deposit to hold your spot of $22.00. This is not the cost of your dinner. When you show up for dinner I will hand you a $20.00 bill which you can apply to your dinner. The other $2.00 is split between me and Amazon - I put my $1.00 towards the $140.00 a year I pay to host the web site. IF YOU DON"T SHOW UP YOU DO NOT GET ANY REFUND. If the entire dinner is canceled for any reason, you will get a complete refund. But you not showing up because you have other plans, your aunt came to town unexpectedly, the playoffs were on TV, whatever - NO REFUND.
No Shows: Restaurants survive by making a certain amount of money for their seats every hour they are open. Even though you are willing to forfeiting your $22.00 deposit, I still need to know as soon as possible if you are not going to show up. If you don't show up and don't let me know that you can't make it so I can advise the restaurant to free up their seats for other customers, I will have problems with the restaurant, someone else who wanted to come will have missed the opportunity and you will probably get kicked out of this group. I will send everyone that signs up my cell phone number a few days before the dinner so there will be no excuse for not calling me and letting me know. (You can e-mail mail me if there is enough time.)