I'm sure there are lots of us here who are fans of stuffed grape leaves. Phoenicia's are good, but they're more expensive than I would like. Sarah's on 53rd and Burnett have much cheaper grape leaves with more olives in them (I actually prefer them). Of course, neither place offers them as a side dish on their plates like Kismet Cafe near campus does. And if you do order a stuffed grape leaf at Sarah's as a side with something else you've ordered, you'll end up with one of the ones they keep with the rolls and kibehs underneath a heat lamp (dry and strange). If you do go there for some grape leaves to take home, make sure you get a little jewel box from their deli bar instead. They're packed in olive oil and are as texturally wonderful as you'd expect. Thank God for olives.
Anyways, I can't think of any other places where I've had memorable grape leaves. You guys have any recommendations? Specifically, I'm putting together a little appetizer platter for Saturday, and I'd like to avoid Phoenicia's expensive grape leaves or the tinny canned variety that I can buy just about anywhere. The grape leaves will be part of an anti-pasto platter with some prosciutto, garlic toast, marinated veggies, etc. Then we'll have a slightly wilted spinach bacon salad followed with roasted potatoes and poached, spicy buffalo/pork meatballs (or grilled, I've not decided) and a demiglaze sauce.
My meal description didn't really matter, but I wanted to let you guys know that I was serious (and make you jealous. $10/head if you want to crash, and you have to be tolerant of an absurdly cute dog who is overly excited around visitors. For those of you who love dogs - yes, he is that cute, and I named him after a family friend who first taught me about food).