Local bites / Jeff Schlesinger
EOS, the Greek goddess of the dawn, signifies the beginning of a new day. EOS Greek Cuisine, an upscale Greek restaurant in Stamford, recently introduced its new menu and invited CTbites.com for a tasting of several of these items. All of the dishes are based on recipes from the owners, the Glekas family, with slight modifications to modernize the dishes while maintaining their Greek roots.
The tasting included three mezedes (small plates), a salate (salad), and three kyria piatas (entrees), all served in smaller portions than you would receive as a guest.
My favorite metzede was the Feta Saganaki, that featured a thick slice of feta cheese crusted with sesame and poppy seeds, fried and then topped with a drizzle of a peppered honey. This is a delightful dish. The cheese is slightly melted and contrasts texturally with the crispy exterior of the sesame and poppy seeds. The honey adds a cooling and smooth texture. The addition of the peppered honey elevates the flavor of the overall dish significantly and is the key component to the overall flavor of the dish.
The Mydia included P.E.I. mussels that were steamed in white wine, ouzo, butter, garlic and finished with fresh herbs. The size of the mussels range from small to medium, yet each was cooked to perfection. The accompanying broth is mild in flavor, slightly accented with just a touch of garlic, which does not overwhelm the delicate flavor of the mussels. This is a good start to the meal.
The Veggie Moussaka and the traditional meat moussaka were not as good as the other appetizers. The traditional version includes layers of zucchini, eggplant, potatoes and beef, and is topped with a bechamel cream, while EOS' vegetarian version substitutes lentil and mushroom for the beef filling. I give kudos to EOS in developing a vegetarian version of this classic Greek dish, but the bechamel is too dense and would benefit from a lighter and more airy rendition. Both the meat and the lentil/mushroom layers are under-seasoned.
Vibrant flavors were presented with the Eos Sliders, which included spiced ground lamb patties with caramelized onions and a roasted red pepper sauce, served on whole wheat buns. The lamb sliders were some of the best I have tasted. Contrary to the menu description, the lamb is surprisingly mild, the caramelized onions are soft and sweet, and the red pepper sauce adds yet another sweet component. The rustic flavor of the whole wheat buns is a perfect means to envelope these sliders.
The KyproSalata, with mixed greens, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, red peppers, Haloumi cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, was a pleasant surprise to this non-salad lover. The dish is elegant in its simplicity, while simultaneously delighting the palate. The flavors of each of the ingredients are delicious and the combination of the sweet red peppers, the slight peppery flavor of the radicchio, the sour of the balsamic and the saltiness of the cheese created an absolutely perfect balance. This non-salad fan is completely sold on recommending this dish for the table to split.
The three entrees included two winners.
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My favorite was the Lahanodolmathes, ground beef and rice-stuffed cabbage leaves enveloped in a creamy lemon sauce. It tastes much better than it looks and the first bite will bring a smile to your face. The lemon sauce is creamy and flavorful with the perfect amount of lemon to complement the other ingredients. The cabbage is soft, with just a touch of resistance, and the dense meat and rice add another textural element to the dish.
The Papia, a char-grilled bone-in half duck, black cherry and red wine reduction with pine nut rice, was delicious. The roasted thigh-leg portion is moist and tender, with a good, deep flavor, and the sauce is delicious; its sweetness is a perfect balance to the rich and fatty duck. The rice is bland and would benefit from the addition of a sweet component to better complement the full flavors of the other ingredients. Both the Lahanodolmathes and the Papia are delicious and recommended.
The Ksifias (char-grilled swordfish kebab with lemon potatoes) was disappointing. The large cubes of swordfish were overcooked and under-seasoned and required a good splash of lemon to add flavor. The onion slices were extremely pungent and overpowered the other ingredients. I did not enjoy this dish.
Overall, the new menu at EOS Greek Cuisine has several dishes that are outstanding and a few that need some additional work. If you order correctly, you will feast on incredibly delicious dishes from EOS' modern twists, inspired by great Greek family recipes.
EOS Greek Cuisine, 490 Summer St., Stamford, can be reached at 203-569-6250.