Finding good Greek food can sometimes be a challenge over here on the west coast. That is not the case at The Great Greek in Sherman Oaks on Ventura Boulevard. It is the premiere Greek restaurant in Los Angeles. From the moment you step inside you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a traditional Greek taverna and all that is missing is a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea. You must also take special notice of the wall décor as you’ll notice many political posters that display the recent battles of the Greeks through the 20th century. They are a rare collection from the original restaurant founder Ernie Criezis.
But the posters are not the only authentic thing in this restaurant. Let’s start with the first course, tzatziki. It’s probably the most popular Greek dip and it definitely does not disappoint. Another great and familiar dish is the eggplant Melitzanosalata. You can’t go wrong with either of those, but for the more daring you must try the Tarama. This pink yogurt looking dish is made from carp roe caviar and blended together with onion, olive oil and lemon juice. It is truly a Greek delight.
Another fabulous dish that everyone should try is the grilled octopus. This is not your typical calamari! The traditional way to prepare it is to hang it in the sun and then the Greeks beat the octopus with a meat hammer against the concrete for about 15 minutes to soften it up. Any easier way now is to put it in a machine and soften it with golf balls. After they marinate the octopus in traditional flavors of garlic, olive oil and oregano, they grill the octopus, giving a very soft texture to a usually rubbery meat.
If Lamb is not your favorite meat, I understand. But don’t make a judgment on it until you’ve had it at a Greek restaurant. One thing they do well is cook Lamb. To complete your perfect Greek meal you must try a glass of the Retsina. With the aroma of resin this unusual glass of wine may taste odd on it’s own but compliments the flavors of Greek cooking perfectly. Plus you get to enjoy this delicious meal to the tunes of traditional Greek music. Just be ready to get up and dance!