Grekolimano, Souvlaki, Baklava,
Agiorgitiko, Nemea, Cephalonia, Melitsanosalata, Youvetsi!
was Greek to us,…
and DP8 was converging on Albany’s Western Avenue, at Athos, whose menu
proved to be a blend of the initially exotic and comfortably familiar.
Driving past Athos would be
forgiveable, for a driver could easily overlook it for one of the typical
offices on that stretch of Rt 20. After reconnoitering a nearly full
parking lot, the rear entry led directly to the maître d’s podium, to
be whisked past a quick glimpse of the twenty-foot dark-stained bar lined
with a dozen stools and several booths on the east wall before ambling
into a white and light pastel room that imitates the classic Santorini
whites and creams of advertising allure.
About the size of the bar area, this 25’ x
50’ space is visually divided into three areas—a front slice with
half-wall partial dividers, a side banquette area, and the remaining main
room. Banquettes lined the long sides, with a host of white-linened tables
arrayed on the dark hardwood flooring.
Sizing up the menu
was a vertiginous exercise, dozens of unfamiliar words making a scramble
of the page. Ameliorating the initial lost-ness were the accompanying
The menu of a few
cold mezethes (appetizers), a dozen hot ones, another dozen classic Greek
entrées, about ten apo ti schara (from the grill), and several sides
necessitated ten minutes to navigate before narrowing to a few.
Even the wine list was full of names
unfamiliar to America’s casual wine tasters.
Finally, we started with a distinctive
combination—salads to feed four, and we
tried both—enough for the eight of us.
==> Traditional Greek Salad -
romaine, tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers, olives, and imported sheep’s
milk feta, with house dressing, and the:
==> Athos Seasonal Salad - arugula,
radicchio, mandarin orange, cranberries, and toasted almonds, with
Both were well-made, enjoyed by all, and, for
three dollars per person, surprisingly economical.
Instead of the usual bread or rolls,
slices of vertically stacked pita filled two
cloth-lined wire baskets, each accompanied by a square ramekin of tapenade.
Not only was the Medley of Warm Greek
Olives appetizer (roasted red peppers,
oregano, and extra-virgin olive oil) a tasty stand-alone as well as a
unique addition to the salads, but its capable preparation proved a
welcome stereotype breaker of the usual “drag those green things from
the refrigerator.” (Good idea, Joyce and Mark.)
After a few scans, and one more major
pondering, choices for entrées evolved. And
borrowing from the website:
Cephalonia—hand-cut veal, spinach, leeks, dill, lemon, artichokes, and
rice, slowly simmered in a traditional earthenware pot (Don: very good,
with good chunks of veal, should have eaten it from the bowl, enough to
take home for another meal, an interesting soup/stew that Deb K and I
tried to figure out)
Grekolimano—jumbo shrimp, tomato sauce, feta cheese, and ouzo, slowly
simmered in a traditional earthenware pot, accompanied by pilaf, lemon
potato, and vegetable (Chay: very good, nice mix of flavors)
Marinato—sautéed citrus-marinated diver scallops and jumbo shrimp, with
olives, caper berries, peppers, and a hint of saffron, accompanied by
pilaf, lemon potato, and vegetable of the day (Deb T: very good; Joyce:
Souvlaki—skewered jumbo shrimp, diver scallops, red onion, and bell
peppers, finished with lemon-herb extra-virgin olive oil (Deb K:
excellent; Mark: very good although the seafood was perhaps a tad
overcooked for his tastes)
Steak—finished with lemon-herb infused extra-virgin olive oil (Kriss:
well-done, and tasty; Ken: good, even if a little tough, an interesting
Impressed by the other choices, we
promised to return soon. Still, other than Don’s bowl that seemed like a
small pail, portion sizes were not considered large but ample enough. Even
after salad and appetizer, the urge for dessert
could not be suppressed.
==> Peach Phyllo Crisp—peaches
and almond crumb enveloped in phyllo, served à la mode with honey drizzle
(Mark & Joyce: a share, and excellent)
Cheese Cake—walnut liqueur-flavored cheese cake accompanied by crumbled
baklava (Ken: very good)
imported goat’s milk yogurt, drizzled with honey and toasted walnuts
(Deb T: excellent, smooth and rich, definitely not sweet)
Chocolate-Filled Loukoumathes - fried pastry puffs drizzled with sweet
syrup, showered with caramel sauce and confectioners’ sugar, filled with
milk chocolate (Deb K: a moan of Oh, God says enough; Don: no moan but a
creeping smile that attested to the sinfulness of fried dough with a touch
of chocolate; and for both, the portion, eight to ten pastry balls filling
a eight inch rectangular plate, was more than ample; Don took about a
==> Vanilla Ice Cream, with
chocolate sauce (Kriss: very good, and a decent sized portion)
may have been a first for some. We selected two of the least expensive
wines from the list, and both were deemed worthy by the six tasters:
==> Kourtaki 2012 Agiorgitiko
==> Skouras 2011 Agiorgitiko Nemea
by Terry was excellent, an effervescent style, forward with suggestions
and answers, pleasant, and available. He and his fellow servers were
dressed in black shirts and black pants, with only a tie to spell a
We were seated two-sides-of four which can make the ends hearing
each other a bit difficult. (I had requested a table with ends but no idea
what happened.) Room noise, for the table ends, started at
straining-to-hear that gradually dissipated to conversationally-audible.
Our initial chill from the over air-conditioned room soon thawed; someone
must have beat us to the request of less AC.
The ceiling consists of the deep and wide insets with recessed
lighting. The side walls held decorations of interior shutters that could
open to the Aegean Sea with some imagination. However, ours were closed,
with a lighting piece between each set of shutters. Five chandeliers
created a pleasing visual vista but seemed to be secondary lighting.
filled as soon as sat down and continued to be re-filled regularly,
Ken’s coffee delivered upon request, and table wear was cleared and
updated for each course.
Our tally-figurer announced $107 per couple, and off we jaunted
southward, having enjoyed the camaraderie and another culinary experience.
Present for the evening were six
regulars – Chay and Deb, Don and Deb, Ken and Kriss, while Mark and
Joyce pleasurably rounded out the eight. The forty-five minute drive to
Athos was in full sunlight, always a pleasant experience after the near
darkness of March.
The evening started at the Teator
house, with Deb’s scrupulously clean gardens and grounds showing the
beginnings of spring – snow drops past peak, crocuses and daffodils full
or past, and the magnolia try to erupt into full rapture.
An Excelsior Cab Sauvignon quickly was depleted to be replaced by a
Trapiche Malbec; Kriss enjoyed her white zin; and Dundee beer filled
Chay’s mug. Plates of vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers, and
Patricia’s enchiladas served as appetizers.
Topics during the pre-session, on the trip to, at dinner, and on
the way back included: the crescendo rat-a-tat-tat excitement of
retirement for Chay and Mark; the C-D retirement dinner; the
end-of-the-year party and the future of such parties with no “school
year” next year; the Adamses’ schedule and their arrival this week
coming; the pleasure of seeing the Monteverds again; the Monteverd winter;
who the Monteverds saw; where the Monteverds went; the Monteverd
grandchild; work for the last real-worlder; winter finally gone;
impatience of Spring not being stronger; three diets converging this
evening; the baseball game yesterday at Cooperstown at Doubleday Field
between Cairo-Durham and Dunkirk (Chay’s home town); risqué birthday
cards; an irreverent engagement notice; the open floor view into the wine
cellar at Athos; RPI goings-on; summer plans for trips; new AC at the
Teator house; deer damage;… there must have been a ribald comment here
and there but the content is lost for eternity.