Ever since the venerable Macedonia closed about fifteen years ago, Morristown has been without a Greek restaurant in the area. There was the Athenian Plaka in Dover, but they mysteriously closed up about two years ago. Just recently a friend alerted me to a new Greek place in Stirling which is only about a twenty minute drive for me. After two visits, I am ready to give it an enthusiastic thumbs up! The place is called 12 Islands Greek Taverna: www.12islandsgreektaverna.com . They have another location in Millburn, but I have not been there.
The first time I went on a whim and was delighted to see that it was quite busy at 8:00 on a Thursday night. The menu is extensive and has all the usual dishes and then some. What struck me were the specials. I ended up ordering an appetizer of mixed sautéed mushrooms in a garlic/wine/herb sauce. It had a dark, smoky flavor and was delicious in its simplicity. Then I had a piece of snapper in a tomato, onion, pepper and herbs. The fish was cooked perfectly and the sauce was flavorful and well- balanced. The restaurant has a full bar and a decent selection of Greek wines by the glass – others, of course, too.
I went back today with a friend who had spent time on Cyprus and we both enjoyed the food again. He had the hummus to start and the pastitsio – both were very good renditions. I had the spinach pies as an appetizer and they were very good- flaky phyllo and just the right amount of filling. The star was the lamb fricassee – a kind of family dish that I have never encountered in a Greek restaurant before. A goodly amount of lamb on the bone in an avgolemono sauce with what they said was lettuce, but I am pretty sure was escarole. Oh my, was that good. It came with two large pieces of toasted bread and when the waiter saw me trying to get the last bits of sauce he offered me a spoon! He seemed genuinely delighted that I was so clearly enjoying myself.
Apparently they have two chefs, one who focuses on the traditional dishes and a younger chef who is a bit more creative. It’s a nice combination. I hope it’s a winning won for them, because it definitely works for me!