We've been wanting to go to Kokkari for some time, Grecophiles and Retsina drinkers to the end. I was especially interested in experiencing the place for myself, since it has gotten equivocal reviews on this board over time.
I recall that several people had less than wonderful service, but we were treated wonderfully. We waited for our friends near the bar since we couldn't get really close, but the bartender spotted us, took our order and saw that we were served before we ever tried to get his attention. The hostess seated us on the dot of 7:30 at a lovely table in the back room. Our waiter was charming and attentive, but not overbearing, and the pacing of the courses was comfortable -- we weren't rushed, but we weren't ever left dangling. The waiter made an adjustment on the taramasalata- tzaziki appetizer selection for two so that four of us could share it without ordering two plates, which would have been far too much. Also, we were inadvertently served an appetizer we hadn't ordered, and we enjoyed it on the house. The appetizer we chose came quickly thereafter.
The food is good, but where Greek food is concerned, I'm easy to please. I'm almost too easy to please -- I'd really just like some olives, a big plate of taramasalata with crusty bread and a bottle of Retsina, the kind with a bottle cap (which is exactly what they serve, although the price is breathtaking when you know what it costs in the homeland). And I like gigantes stewed until they're buttery, served in sauce without any embellishment. So Kokkari is almost too refined for a low brow like me. But the stewed rabbit was excellent, and the lamb chops live up to their billing. My husband had the yaourti me meli for dessert which was wonderful, and I ordered the cookie assortment which was enough for all of us, with some to take home.
For south bay chowhounds, note: Kokkari is not so different from it's sibling Evvia in Palo Alto as to make it worth the drive, although the place itself is a prettier, with more ambiente.
Final score: good technical, excellent artistry.
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