I love Fridays. Not because the weekend is near or a new movie is coming out, though I do love all of those things. Instead, my anticipation comes from the Friday night special at George’s Greek Cafe for kleftiko. According to legend, kleftiko means “stolen meat.” Historically, this dish is made with a lamb stolen from a flock, perhaps one grazing in nearby hillside. Then, the thief would cook the meat for several hours in an underground oven sealed with mud so no steam could escape and give the thief away. The result? The most tender, flavorful piece of lamb. Heaven.
George’s Greek Cafe is also a legend in itself. On a given night you can find George himself standing outside hugging guests as they enter the restaurant. Okay, the hugging is optional but I like it.
In all seriousness, the service is incredible. Everyone is smiling and happy to offer food and wine recommendations and occasionally some (free) samples. No pretention, just free wine. For example, if you want to try some wine before committing to a bottle, just tell your server what you like and they are happy to let you taste several options before deciding on a bottle.
My husband shares my kleftiko enthusiasm so he joined me for dinner. We started our evening with a Greek favorite, Amethystos. This wine is a solid Cabernet & Merlot blend that pairs nicely with the lamb.
Reg and I were quite hungry but we knew we wanted to order a couple favorites before our lamb arrived. First up was the Melintzanosalata, a baked eggplant dip with garlic and lemon juice. The flavors are light and clean. I dare you to just try a little.
Then, the Saganaki arrived. This is all about the presentation, baby! Saganaki is an extremeley popular appetizer here. I know this because you can literally see when someone orders it because of the “show” that comes with it. However, as great as the giant fire show is, the actual dish is even better.
Greek Kasseri cheese is battered and lightly fried then brought to table to be flamed with Brandy and then the whole dish is finished with Kalamata Olives and fresh squeezed lemon juiced. Best served layered on that soft, doughy pita bread.
Here it is–the famous Kleftiko. Not only is the meat spectacular (I highly recommend squeezing those lemons on the meat to intensify the flavors a bit more) but the sides are equally fantastic. The potatoes are roasted with quality olive oil, onions, and thinly sliced carrots which make the potatoes slightly sweet. George’s famous Greek salad is also served with the dish.
The combination of authentic, friendly service, affordability, and fresh healthy food makes George’s one of my favorite restaurants…period. While Friday has a special place in my heart because it is the only night you can order Kleftiko, any night you visit George’s you will not be disappointed.
P.S. Can’t visit on a Friday? Check out their Monday night 1/2 off bottles of wine special!