Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Crazy For Krasi Meze & Wine: A Greek Paradise

From Octopus Mortadella to Trahano Kroketes, my recent dinner at Krasi was amazing, from the food to wine. It earns my highest recommendation and I was pleased yesterday to learn that someone who went there based on my recommendation thought the food and wine were "spectacular."

Krasi, a Greek word for "wine," is a Greek meze and wine bar from partners Demetri Tsolakis (GreCo, Committee Ouzeri + Bar), Stefanos Ougrinis (GreCo), Theo Tsilipanos (Committee Ouzeri + Bar) and Tasha Breshinsky (Committee Ouzeri + Bar). The Executive Chef is Valentine Howell (Mastro’s Ocean Club, Legal Harborside and Locke Ober) and their Wine Director is Evan Turner (Helen Greek Food & Wine in Houston). I've long been a big fan of Committee and GreCo, and Krasi is a worthy addition to those Greek restaurants.

For more background information, check out my prior article, Krasi: First Impressions of This New Greek Restaurant

On a chilly Saturday evening, Krasi was packed, and even their patio was filled to capacity. This is certainly a popular restaurant, and if you desire to go, I'd suggest you make a reservation. We had reservations, and sat in a secluded table next to the front window. 

For wine, we began with glasses of the 2017 Sarris Vineyards "V is for Vostilidi," a compelling white wine which I recently reviewed. We also had a bottle of the 2018 Dalamara Naoussa, made from Xynomavro, which was also a delicious wine. Excellent acidity, a complex melange of flavors typical of the grape, and a pleasing finish. It paired well with some of the later dishes during our dinner. 

The Krasi menu is essentially all small plates, meant to be shared, and allowing you to sample a variety of their creative and delicious dishes. There wasn't a single dish which I didn't thoroughly enjoy, and there were other dishes on the menu that I wanted to try but was too full to order. 

We began with a couple of their bread selections, especially as I love fresh, warm home-made breads. The Lalangia ($6) is a fried dough, topped by thyme honey, and has a nice crunchy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. It has a mild sweetness from the thyme honey, and the creamy, honey butter. 

The Tiropita Rolls ($2 each), are made with halloumi, graviera, and olive oil. These type of rolls originated in Central Greece, and served with honey butter with sea salt, churned in-house. A tasty soft roll, filled with plenty of melted cheese, was elevated by the creamy, honey butter. Such a fine way to begin our dinner.

We then moved onto some charcuterie and cheese. The Akrokolion ($14), made with lamb, garlic, and black pepper, is a Greek version of prosciutto, and was tender and flavorful, with a rich, meaty taste. Delicious! The Octopus Mortadella ($12) is house made, with pistachio, peppercorns, and lamb suet. The silky tender octopus is enhanced by the crunchy pistachios and peppercorns. Such a unique creation, and even if you think you don't like octopus, because you think it is too rubbery, this mortadella will change your mind. 

The Kalathaki ($8), from the PDO Lemnos, is a sheep's milk cheese (at the top of the photo), which brings to mind feta as it is soft and briny.  The Ladotyri ($7), from the PDO Levros, is a semi-hard cheese made from sheep's milk and olive oil. Pleasing and flavorful, with a mild pepper note. 

With the charcuterie and cheese, there was a platter of accompaniments, including slices of bread, gherkins, fig spread and more. The fig spread on the Ladotyri was a fine pairing.  

The Taramasolata ($16) is a traditional dip made from salted and cured roe. This dish is made with white tarama, topped with trout roe, and accompanied by sweet potato crisps. It was creamy, with a taste of the ocean, and the crisps were delicious, especially dipped into the taramasalata. It also came with slices of grilled sourdough so you could smear the dip atop the bread.

The Trahano Kroketes ($14) reminded me of a Greek version of arancini. It's made with sour trahanas (an ancient grain product), a gemista filling (tomatoes, peppers and rice), caramelized briam (roasted vegetables) and creamy feta. The fried exterior was crunchy, with a clean flavor, and the interior was creamy and flavorful, with plenty of melted feta. Absolutely delicious and I'd definitely order these again.

Moving onto the heartier dishes, we opted for the Souvla, the Greek rotisserie which varies each day. On our visit, they had Chicken, which was moist and tender, flavorful and delicious. A simple but compelling dish, cooked perfectly. 

Makaronia Me Kima ($20) is usually a Greek version of Bolognese, made with ground beef or lamb. At Krasi, Chef Valentine chose to create his own version using seafood and it was a major success. The dish was made with ground monkfish, smoked eel tomato sauce, fides pasta, and grated horseradish. Such wonderful flavors, well-balanced and compelling. Tender monkfish, a smoky aspect, and a little bit of spicy heat. This could be one of my Top Ten dishes of 2021. Highly recommended!

The Sofrito ($22) is one of my favorite dishes at Krasi, and I've enjoyed it a few times there. It's a slow-cooked veal, made with homemade vinegar, shallots, garlic, parsley, and comes with carrots and potatoes. This dish comes from the island of Corfu, where they do a lot of braising. With such a great depth of flavor in the sauce, the tender veal, carrots and potatoes, make a tasty, hearty dish, perfect for the fall and winter seasons. This is some of the most tender veal I've ever tasted.

This was a wonderful dinner, with exceptional Greek food and wine. The food menu offers plenty of delicious options, no matter what your preferences. The wine list, the second largest Greek list in the country, is amazing. Wine lovers will find so many interesting and delicious wines. Service was excellent as well, The restaurant offers creative Greek cuisine, with its roots in tradition but it's not afraid to experiment. Krasi receives my highest recommendation! 

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