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Monday, September 5, 2011

Pontos Taverna (Norwalk, CT)

(I'm not doing the rating system anymore, I've decided its meaningless) 

What do you get when you combine a desperately unsuccessful job search with a general apathy for everything? If you take a look to your left at the dates between posts you'll get your answer. Well I've managed to drag my lazy hands out of an early retirement thanks to Pontos Taverna.

Being of Greek heritage, I suppose I'm somewhat qualified to comment on Greek food, although my spoken Greek is the linguistic equivalent of a car wreck about to be plowed into by a train. If you're from Norwalk, the best way I can describe the location is that its in the shopping center next to that movie theater that nobody goes to (you know the one). It used to be a club run by the Pontios Society that served food to only member and guests of members as I understood it. The food was similar to the current menu, but was cooked by a different chef and there are currently more menu items.

I've been to a few Greek restaurants before. Most people from this area have probably been to or at least heard of "Ambrosia" which is no longer in business. I never planned on writing a review for Ambrosia for a few reasons. For one I never really like the food, which was a mixture of Greek and other Mediterranean dishes, and two, the last few times I went the service was terrible, although the one bright spot I remember was that the seafood appetizer was some of the best seafood I've ever had. Other than that the main courses were always kind of "meh". Pontos Taverna serves ONLY Greek food, simple Greek food, but not simple to a fault. The menu is small when compared to what you might consider a high end restaurant, but I'd rather a place do a few things excellently than have fifty dishes of mediocrity.

So what's on the menu? For people who eat all that green stuff, there's a selection of different salads, including a Greek salad which can easily feed 2-3 people as a first course. There's also the "Xorta salad" which is a traditional boiled greens salad with red onions and lemons and a number of other choices. Appetizers are divided into two categories, dips and cheese (the best category a menu can have). The dips include the classic tzatziki sauce, an eggplant garlic spread, garlic potato puree, and one of my recently tasted favorites, the taramosalata. Its a creamy spready made with caviar that most places will serve out of a jar, but here its home made! All of these are of course served with fresh homemade bread or pita. The cheese menu contains four items all of which I've tried and all of which I recommend. However, I'm going to have to push Xtipiti the most. Its a salty, spicy mixture of mashed feta cheese with hot peppers and tomato. My mouth is watering right now, no joke.

For the main course there's a selection of seafood like grilled octopus along with a selection of various meat platters. These include souvlaki, gyro, lamb chops, and keftes (Greek meatballs). The one thing I will always order in some shape or form here is the gyro. This isn't that processed mystery meat crap you get at your average diner or food truck. You can tell this is cut from a slab of meat on a spit, since there is fat (flavor) interwoven between the strips of meat. Once you try this gyro you will stick your nose up snobbishly at the so called "gyro" you've had before. The souvlaki is always tender and the lamb chops are always well seasoned and cooked perfectly. My one small gripe is that the keftes are a bit over seasoned for my taste, but to each his/her own. You can also order a platter containing all four meats which is supposed to feed wto people. It can more accurately feed 3-4 people, especially since you will likely order appetizers. Every time I come here we always over-order so I expect the same from most people. Side dishes include fries which are seasoned (always nice), stuffed grape leaves, and an orzo with dill which is excellent.

If your fancy has been tickled, CLICK FOR THE MENU

Prices as you can see from the menu are pretty good, especially considering the volume of good quality food you're getting. If you leave hungry, you probably should get your blood sugar checked. Service is fast and attentive, top notch even. The food never took more than 15 minutes in between courses. To-go service is also ready in about 20 minutes which makes it a great option for lunch. If you haven't tried Greek food yet or are desperately seeking out a new Greek restaurant, then go to Pontos Taverna. If you just don't like Greek, well, go to hell :)

Website + Address:
Pontos Tavern, 7 Isaac Street, Norwalk, CT • 203-354-7024

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