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Florida Greek

Thira (new Hallandale Greek, SE Broward) again

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Thira (new Hallandale Greek, SE Broward) again

s.m. koppelman | Apr 5, 2005 01:03 AM

Yep, nice place. Civilized and modern and not cramped like most Greek places around here. Friendly and helpful staff, too.

The food? The hummus was kinda subpar, pasty and overfine with too much of a tahini flavor. Bread was Cuban; I like Cuban bread but it lacks the crusty, tangy edge of Greek peasant bread and doesn't go as well with the dips. Tzatziki was thick and sour and not refreshing at all; if they'd strained any more moisture from the yogurt it would have been cheese.

Apps of grilled octopus and briam (baked vegetables) were both much better, the briam reet tasty, cooked to the right balance of softness and carmelization without turning to mush, and fragrant with olive oil without being wet and greasy. The octopus was decently tender and nicely charred and seasoned, but chopped into bite-sized pieces. I prefer it in big slabs but I suppose this makes for easier grazing at the expense of some texture. Still good. A bowl of agvolemono was decent, maybe a bit better than average for the area nice and lemony, but by going for "modern" presentation in a wide shallow bowl it was ice cold within a couple of minutes. I'm not sure I understand the wide shallow bowl of soup thing outside the realm of food photography.

Entrees were a mixed bag. My pork souvlaki was nicely charred but was overdone and tough. Maybe that's why most Greek places don't use thin-cut tenderloins like this and instead go with rounder, thicker knots of meat. The baked half-chicken was flavorful but a little on the dry side. Still, better than the souvlaki. Best at the table by far was the kleftiko (roast lamb), crusted and infused with spices, tender but not falling apart. Recommended.

Rice and the vegetable side of mushy peas in light tomato sauce were fine if forgettable; the roasted potatoes, like the briam, were quite a bit better.

Decent list of Greek wines at reasonable prices, with drinkable choices by the glass. Outdoor seating that I imagine I'll be enjoying for snacks and coffee.

Speaking of which, they know how to make a very good proper Greek frappe, right up there with the Athens Cafe, my old haunt on Grand Ave. in Astoria. A viscous, bracing glass of iced Nescafe and damned if it wasn;t the best thing I had all night. For those alone I'll definitely be back. I'll have mine medium with a splash of milk.

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