After enjoying a half-dozen invites to restaurants by other food bloggers in GVRD, I thought it was my turn to organize something. So out went my call to Sherman, Kim, and Jessica (who’s been on haitus, but is back! ) for dinner at this crazy looking place of Kingsway: Minoas Greek Taverna.
At 6 PM the restaurant seemed to be reasonably busy for a Tuesday night. A few other parties were already seated, and enjoying the very “Greek” atmosphere what with all the white & blue, and the indoor vines throughout the second floor dining room.
Our group worked out to being 6 people, and three Entertainment book coupons were scrounged together to help make our meal a bit less pricey. The deals were buy one entree, get the second $10 off. Pretty sweet – though, we ended up blowing our savings on a big Hot Appetizer platter!
This sharing plate was stacked with lots of goodies – a spanakopita, dolmades, calamari, tatziki, hummus, pita wedges, and some surprising sauteed mushrooms. I had been considering the dolmades as my main course, and would have been very happy eating more of these given how carefully the grape leaves had been wrapped around rice and spiced ground beef. The lemony hollandaise-like sauce worked super well with these. The hummus was kind of fluffy, perhaps recently blitzed up? It had good flavour and definitely seemed homemade. I thought the calamari were a bit soft – they seemed to have been cooked well, but their breaded coating became a little soggy even before we spritzed the generous quantity of squid with lemon juice. I enjoyed the tatziki, which was quite garlicky, but would have liked more pita to scoop up the dip (also I felt that the pita was a bit of a space filler). As for the spanakopita – it was good, but I’ve had better elsewhere (something about the ratio of spinach/greens to cheese/egg filling and the filling ratio to the phyllo seemed to be lacking). It was also really hard to cut into 6 even pieces for sharing! Finally, those surprising mushrooms – they were amazing! Very well sauteed with plenty of butter and olive oil (but not so much as to make them feel greasy), they were tender and well seasoned with lots of lemon juice and oregano. Divine!
We also each got a small Greek Salad to go with our meals – these were pretty good, though I would have cranked up the amount of red wine vinegar in the dressing. I liked the minimal use of lettuce here – definitely more traditional! Now, looking back at the menu – I think we were supposed to get pita as a side, rather than the salad – I preferred the salad for sure.
Next came our main courses:
Sherman and M both had the Kleftico – Roast Lamb Shoulder (which is on special every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for $13.95 – down from $17.95)
That is one big portion! And, while my terrible picture doesn’t convey it at all, the lamb was very well cooked, falling-apart tender, with just enough collagen and “lamb” flavour to make this dish distinct. Sherman’s potato was much bigger than M’s, which M pointed out on several occasions throughout the meal.
Jessica also ordered lamb; Paidakia – lamb chops.
While there were at least 3 (maybe 4!) chops on the plate, I think that the roast lamb was a better deal and better dish. The piece that I tried was a bit tough, but I guess it is hard to compare a grilled dish to a slow roasted dish.
Kim got the winner in my books – Moussaka!
This actually was one of the best mousaka’s I’ve ever had. Each ingredient was well balanced in flavour as well as in quantity in the overall dish, with just enough tomato sauce and bechamel to keep it nice and moist but not overly wet. Everything was perfectly cooked, and the top was nicely browned. I would definitely order this for myself on a future visit!
Chris – who’s food was “camera shy” on this particular occasion – had a large Greek salad (about 3 times the size of our starter ones) and a bowl of the Fasolatha (bean & veggie) soup. I have no idea how he could have soup in the hot weather, but he liked both a lot.
Here is what I ordered: Biftekia – spiced ground beef patties.
Similar to the other dishes, this one had a lot of meat! The biftekia were really nicely seasoned, and they had a more dry texture overall, but were still juicy (I guess I mean to say that they were well grilled, sealing in the juices). The tatziki (served in the metal cup) was excellent with these, as was the spritz of lemon. I don’t like carrots at all, so I was disappointed that the “vegetables” were 90% braised carrots and 10% overcooked zucchini. The veggie’s weird tomatoey sauce didn’t help the rice that tasted like nothing (seriously!) and had a strange, reheated texture. The potato, on the other hand, was fantastic. Super tender with a very strong lemon flavour, I could have eaten a whole plate of these. I now see why M was so cranky!
As for service, the waitress (who was quite likely the proprietress too) was friendly, though a bit on edge… perhaps all the cameras and the non-stop food banter made her wary (or weary?) of us! She was very patient with our rambling orders, and was generous enough to honour all three coupons, plus give us a few return client coupon-cards. I’d give the coupon a shot – definitely felt like we didn’t try enough (no one ordered quail! Or souvlaki! That must be remedied in the near future!)