Eat Greek has arrived on the shores of Biscayne Bay from the azure waters of the Aegean. Owner Vassilios “Billy” Dimotakis was born in Montreal but spent the past decade in his ancestral home of Chania on the north coast of Crete. He ran several Eat cafes there, but with no end in sight to the Greek recession, he relocated to Miami Beach, opening three months ago.
Cretans enjoy the longest life span in the West, so it’s good to know the olive oil, cheeses, pastry dough and dried herbs at Eat Greek are imported from there. So are the chickpea flour rusks known as paximathia that are the foundation for dako (bread salad), drizzled in olive oil and topped with crushed tomatoes and crumbled feta.
Salad dips range from creamy tzatziki to lemony baba ghanoush. Hot meze include grilled octopus tentacles, tyropita (phyllo and cheese pies) and flamed saganaki made with mild vlahotiri sheep’s milk cheese.
Get a gyro made from ground lamb shaved off a vertical spit and wrapped in a pita or as a platter with spinach rice and roasted potatoes. Souvlaki are skewers with a choice of grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, salmon or koto-bacon (pork with a strip of crisp pig belly).
There’s also grilled loukaniko sausage spiced with orange peel and fennel, bifteki (meat patties stuffed with cheese), falafel and mixed grills named for Greek gods such as the Zeus with lamb and pork chops, a gyro and several kebabs.
The symbol of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is the quince, but you can fall for honey-drenched walnut baklava here.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who can be reached at email@example.com.