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Restaurants & Bars 3

Kokkari Greek in SF--long

Fine | Jun 7, 200205:46 AM

All the talk about O'Mythos (sp?) put me in the mood for Greek, but I wasn't equally in the mood to see if the place had gotten its act together after Melanie's horrible (and horrifying) lunch.

Onward to Kokkari, where, after just now checking notes on previous meals, I apparently lose any desire for adventure and order more or less the same items every time.

The meal's highs were sufficient to compensate for its less successful dishes: my better half loved a special of oxtail "baklava" served on dressed bitter salad greens--11.50. A very generous pile of fried smelts struck me as ersatz, though I'm not knowledgeable enough to bet the farm that they don't encase delicate little whole fish in heavy batter in the Greek isles. I thought they would have been far more enjoyable lightly floured and fried or sauteed. They cost about $11. Kalamata Pita, also ca. 11, pleased neither of us--far more rich than flavorful,it too seemed inauthentic. I've always enjoyed the octopus salad here, but on this occasion, instead of the fresh-tasting, charcoal-grilled, wonderful-textured seafood of yore, the mollusk was dense and dreary.

"Pikilia," now a hefty 16.95 "for two," could not have been better: creamy tzatziki (lightly garlicked cucumber-yogurt) and taramasalata (a roe-flavored dip) and a chunky, perfectly though assertively flavored eggplant/garlic mix, served with better pita than I recall on past occasions and garnished with the best dolmas I think I've ever tasted--chock-full of fresh-tasting minty, crunchy grains.

Because I usually adhere to a diet low in saturated fat--with the occasional exception when I dine out--I rarely order dessert, feeling I've shot my fat wad before that point. So if I say I think Kokkari's yogurt sorbet surrounded by a citrus concoction--on this occasion minted tangerine granita--is the best dessert in town, you will of course take it with a grain or two of sugar. But boy is it fabulous. The accompanying cookie was not as good as those served on past visits though--reminded me of fried dough.

We brought along a tenth of white and a bottle of red; when I asked our server what the corkage was, I had the distinct feeling she made up the answer. Since she charged "only one"--$20--for both bottles, I'm not complaining.

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