Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Greek to Me

Dining Greek is Great
by Charlie Leck

Last week I found myself out and about in South Minneapolis at lunch time and feeling mighty hungry. I was in the mood for a great lamb shank and ventured over toward a restaurant I'd never tried. It's Greek to Me is at Lyndale Avenue South and Lake Street. Someone had warned me away from it once, but lately I've been hearing good things. Alone, with nowhere to go, it was a great day to give it a try.

I was disappointed not to find a lamb shank on the luncheon menu. I expressed that disappointment to a very polite and attentive waiter and told him I was hoping to have it with some kind of eggplant dish.

"I'll talk to the chef," he said, "and see if he's got any ideas."

In a moment he was back and said the chef would take care of me. There was no talk of price. I relaxed with my book and a nice glass of sparkling water and waited. All around me folks were munching away and chatting about their pleasurable food and service. The aromas in Greek restaurants are normally wonderful and this one was no exception.

In 15 minutes or so, an extraordinary platter was slipped before me and a very nice Greek Salad was placed near it. I was famished and I dove in more quickly than I probably should have. It was spectacular and I knew I would want to write about it; yet, look what I'd done! I had sliced off and chomped down a good size hunk of the shank and scooped up a big helping of the eggplant before I had gotten out my iPhone to take a photograph -- thus the slightly torn-into platter in the photograph above.

The shank was juicy and tender within and well crusted on the outside. The eggplant, baked with several vegetables, was as good as I've ever had. I continued on, taking my time and my waiter looked in on me frequently enough but not too often.

I was delighted, when the check came, to see that my entire dinner had come in under $12. That, it seemed to me, was a real deal. In all, it was a four out of five star lunch. The setting is a little worn and could use a freshening and that's all that keeps me from giving this lovely place the full five stars.

I will, without question return! If you like Greek and haven't tried this place, you should definitely stop in some time. Take a look at the restaurant's web site!


This post had not been up for even a half-hour before the first comment came into me by email. Mike wrote:
"You remember the shanks at the old President's Cafe on Nicollet Avenue. I know we enjoyed them there together in the late 60s along with a dry martini or two. They were the best I've ever had. How did your Greek place's shanks compare to those? Mike S (still hangin' around in good, old South Minneapolis)"
Mike, how I remember and the shanks at the President were fabulous, but very different than these Greek beauties. The ones at the President were much more in an American style with that heavy, thick gravy. I sure would like to give them a try again. How we miss the wonderful President's Cafe. I miss seeing you, too. Let's get lunch together.

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