2014-09-10 / Restaurant of the Week

KALAMAKI

For authentic Greek street food and other Hellenic delicacies, visit the newly opened Kalamaki just off Francis Lewis Boulevard in Bayside. You won’t find oversized, heavy, American style gyros and souvlaki sandwiches here. Instead you’ll find the real deal; delicious Greek food made with only the freshest ingredients incorporated into all their recipes. Virtually everything is made from scratch each day by Chef Niko, also imported from Greece for extra authenticity. The friendly and hospitable owner, Aris Konstantinidis, has an impressive background in the restaurant business, including some major chain restaurants. Kalamaki is his latest venture, opened in late July, and already a favorite among the locals. With free delivery, you can even sample this excellent Greek food at home.


This cool, Mediterranean eatery is so beautifully decorated with sleek wood floors, stacked stone walls, bar height tables for casual dining and a lovely outdoor terrace in the back of the restaurant. Go and enjoy it while the weather is so agreeable. This is a great place for a family meal, business lunch or dinner, or a “date night”. For now you can BYOB, until the beer and wine license comes through. The open kitchen displays all the culinary magic, something I appreciate.


We started with a selection of Kalamaki’s house made dips that include light and creamy tirokafteri, (Greek cheese and pepper spread), taramosalata, (caviar dip) and the unforgettable eggplant dip called melitzanosalata. Accompanied by warm triangles of pita, we could have made a meal of these ‘meze’ alone. Their house made hummus is lighter than air and comes in six varieties, so you can actually make a meal of them. Choose one, two, three, or all six varieties that include plain, sun-dried tomato, avocado, Kalamata olive, garlic and caramelized onion, and red pepper feta. Aris wanted us to try their signature “Dakos” salad which is a wonderful blend of traditional whole wheat rusks from Crete tossed with chopped tomatoes, mild Manouri cheese, and plump capers, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil from Greece ($8.95).  The blend of flavors and crunchy texture from the croutons was perfect and the generous portion is ideal for sharing. Just when we thought it couldn’t get better, Mamma’s spanakopita and tiropita arrived. These are flaky Phyllo pies filled with spinach or cheese and are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. At just $4.50 each, you’ll want to take some home for lunch tomorrow.


Kalamaki means “skewer” in Greek and from the skewers, you’ll find the most tender, succulent meats served here, just as they are on the streets of Athens.  These “kalamaki” skewers can be ordered individually, at just $2.25 each, or as a sampling, made to your order. There are pork skewers, chicken skewers, and beef skewers, so order as many as you like to please everyone at the table. Kalamaki does an incredible job of rotisserie chicken too,  marinated in a perfect blend of garlic, herbs, and spices that seal in the succulent juices. Order this outrageously good chicken in whole or half portions and choose sides such as lemon potatoes, French fries, rice, or salad. This is a great way to serve a healthy, family style dinner without cooking it yourself.  Just pick up the phone and order for fast, complimentary delivery.


The star of the show is the “Giaourtlou Politico”.  Forget about how to pronounce it, just point and order it! This chef’s special demonstrates how it’s done on the streets of Athens. Are you ready? Start with warm, fluffy pita bread slathered with freshly made, strained Greek style yogurt. Pour on an aromatic tomato based sauce flecked with green peppers and mild herbs and spices. Top it with grilled, spiced beef sausage links, eat and enjoy! The layers of flavors come through in every bite, especially when accompanied by the dill yogurt dipping sauce. If you can’t finish it, don’t worry, it tastes even better the next day. I encourage you to try this delectable dish, though the beef, chicken, pork, and veggie platters are equally as good, served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and your choice of French fries, rice, or lemon potatoes, starting at just $9.50.


Cool off with a light, healthy dessert of yogurt served in a number of inventive ways such as chocolate and pistachio nuts, pineapple, apple, cinnamon and brown sugar, peanut butter and jelly, and my personal favorite: mandarin orange and roasted almonds, sprinkled with coconut.


Kalamaki is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with delivery to your home or office. Visit now while you can still enjoy “al fresco” dining on their lovely patio. Even if you eat at home, you owe it to yourself to let Kalamaki do the cooking for you. Great food, friendly service, family-friendly, and affordable prices make the authentic Greek cuisine at Kalamaki a must for you and your family.

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