Modern Greek, With Mood To Match

In low-key Byram (a section of Greenwich, Connecticut, just outside Port Chester), Famous Greek Kitchen is quietly turning out some of the area’s best Greek food. It started 35 years ago when John Karipides, a Greek immigrant who lived upstairs at 10 N Water Street, opened Famous Pizza and Souvlaki downstairs. When Karipides retired last year, his CIA-trained son, Steve, began serving modern Greek cuisine; daughter Sophie, a designer, created a contemporary ambience; and Maria, his other daughter, took on management. One year after the metamorphosis, Famous deserves to be truly such.

Dishes are graced with lightness and contrast. Hummus tastes of chickpeas fresh out of the pot. An appetizer of octopus—boiled, grilled, and finished with lemon and olive oil—surprises with a filet-mignon-like texture that earns it a continuous place on the table (“Don’t take that away”; “Still working on it”). This is where to enjoy curiously creamy feta and country salad with ripe tomatoes. Grilled lamb riblets with shallots, garlic, and herbs are also outstanding.

Appetizers are often the high point for me when it comes to Greek cuisine. But an entrée of grilled Atlantic cod with lemon sauce is light and tasty. Lemon potatoes create interest with a crispy shell, and horta (steamed dandelion greens) tastes like Greece and earth and spring. Wines lean toward California and Italy; I loved the Irony Pinot Noir.

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But if you want the Famous Pizza—a plain, thick-crusted, Greek-style—or souvlaki, they’re still on the menu, with a loyal following.

Greek yogurt might not be top of mind for dessert, but here it should be. It’s homemade and on the light side, studded with candied walnuts and drizzled with honey. Baklava is adorned with chocolate slivers. By the time this issue is out, the additional dining room should be open and the renovated patio ready for action.

 

10 N Water St, Greenwich, CT (203) 531-6887 | www.famousgreekkitchen.com

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