Thursday, September 29, 2022

Greek Cuisine Surging in Boston: Xenia Hospitality Group

From Demetri Tsolakis and Stefanos Ougrinis, owners of Krasi Meze + Wine, Hecate and Greco truly Greek fast casual concepts, have announced the launch of Xenia Greek Hospitality, a new restaurant group. This is exciting news as I'm a huge fan of these excellent Greek restaurants, with Krasi, with its superb food and wine list, being one of my Top Three Favorite Local Restaurants. Krasi even has the largest Greek wine list in the country, and you can even purchase their wines at the restaurant to take home. 

As their website states: "At Xenia Greek Hospitality, we are inspired by the ancient Greek concept which is built on guest-friendship. Today, we often forget how important not only the food being served is, but most importantly how it is being served. With a single visit to any of our concepts, you can experience the highest level of hospitality, with care and attention to all our guests, so you feel welcomed in our home."

Xenia Greek Hospitality will also be expanding with additional Greco locations in Boston and beyond, as well as a new restaurant concept, Bar Vlaha, to open later this fall in Brookline. Xenia states: "Bar Vlaha is dedicated to the largest group of nomads in Greece who are called the Vlachs. They are shepherds who wandered and laid the foundation and roots of Greek cooking. This new concept honors the nomadic dishes and hospitality that originated from Central Greece, specifically the remote areas of Epirus, Metsovo and the Pindus mountains. It is to the Vlachs that we owe the ancestry of Greek food."

Xenia Greek Hospitality has also announced the most recent addition, in June, to their team, Culinary Director Brendan Pelley. Pelley has over a decade of experience at the helm of kitchens throughout the local area, including the Webber Restaurant Group, Doretta Tavern, Pelekasis at Wink & Nod, and Zebra’s Bistro & Wine Bar. In addition, Brendan’s has deeply rooted familial connections to Greek cooking. Brendan has already added some new dishes to Krasi and the Greco locations:

At Krasi, on their new Brunch menu, you'll find:  
Yiaourti Me Meli - Greek yogurt, honey, sour cherry spoon sweet, candied walnuts
Rizogalo - coconut milk rice pudding, chia, almond and apricot granola
Tsoureki - merenda (Greek nutella), kataifi crumble, spice roasted plums, whipped cream
Tost - sourdough, seasonal mushrooms, maidanosalata, mizithra
Solomo - smoked salmon, lemon-dill manouri cream cheese, boiled egg, caper berries, hallot toursi, koulouri
Halloumi - shishito, snap peas, radish, fermented green garlic sesame dressing
Spanakopita - 100 layer phyllo, spinach, leeks, feta, egg, dill oil, dehydrated kalamata olives
Omeletta - eggs, potatoes, herbs, kasseri, cured loukaniko

Krasi's new dinner menu items include:
Mavromatika - black eyed peas, roasted peppers, broccoli, turmeric pickled cauliflower, tehinas
Manitaria - paleokerisio roasted mushrooms, smoked paprika yogurt, farro
Lahano - spicy tomato sauce braised cabbage, golden raisins, almonds, puffed black rice
Skordostoumbi - baked eggplant, garlic, tomato yiahni, feta poulenta
Lavraki - sea bass crudo, nerantzosalata, dried Kalamata olives, pepperoncini gel
Xtenia - seared scallops, roasted corn kritharoto, cherry tomatoes, maidanosalata
Pikantiko - chicken, hot and sweet peppers, chickpea revithada

This weekend, on October 1, Brendan will unveil a few new seasonal dishes at all four Greco locations (Newbury Street, Pier 4 Seaport, Milk Street and Hub Hall), including:
Halloumi Pita - grilled Halloumi, skordalia garlic spread, onion, tomato, hot honey, hand cut potatoes (This sounds delicious!)
Naxos Salad - baby kale, pickled red onion, radish, crispy chickpeas, golden raisins, honey vinaigrette
Greco Bowl - crispy Brussels sprouts, cumin yogurt, lemon pilaf, baby kale, pickled onion, radish, skordalia garlic spread (crispy Brussels sprouts with cumin yogurt also available as Greco Side)

I strongly recommend that you check out Krasi Meze + WineHecate and Greco truly Greek. And I look forward to the opening of Bar Vlaha, to experience another aspect of Greek cuisine. Best of luck to Chef Pelley in his new position and it will be interesting to see what he brings to these restaurants.

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