Kokkari Estiatorio San Francisco Reviews
Food of the Gods Apr 01, 2008
If the family from My Big Fat Greek Wedding started a high-end Greek restaurant, it would be Kokkari. The website is quick to remind us of all the great contributions the Greeks made to civilization. Thanks Greece, I appreciate it. Now pass the drink menu. Warning: I went to this place with a group on an expense account. So if you order what we ordered, you'll be broke by the time you leave (unless you're on an expense account too).
I passed by the kitchen at Kokkari on my way back to our private room. There, roasting on spits, were two whole lambs. Right then, I knew what I was ordering. Kokkari is named for a fishing village on the island of Samos. They specialize in fish and lamb. If you don't order one of the two, don't bother going. We had a big group though, so we started with cocktails and appetizers. They brought a sampler of octopus, tzatziki, zucchini and eggplant skewers, lamb riblets, and sweetbreads. The skewers were outstanding, as were the sweetbreads. The octopus and riblets I would rank as good, and the tzatziki was just your standard tzatziki.
The specials included a sea bass and dorado flown in from Greece. They were also serving a sampler from the whole roasted lamb. That's what I ordered and I wasn't disappointed. The chef cut me off a piece of shoulder, a rib, some leg, and a little bit of skin. They served it with yukon gold potatoes lightly seasoned with garlic, oregano, and lemon zest. The lamb was tender, and the sampler gave me a taste of several different cuts. I preferred the rib, but could've easily eaten a full portion of any of them. The chops looked outstanding as well, as did the halibut and sea bass.
The service was also excellent, though the size and respective tab of our group probably helped out a little. The waiter was knowledgeable, a virtual encyclopedia of the menu and wine list. He was quick to describe to me the difference between all the desserts. I opted for the Galaktoboureko which the waiter described as a eggroll with custard filling, a little bit like a cannoli. As expected, it was quite good. We finished off the meal with a glass of 40 year-old port and toasted to continued success.
This restaurant is on Jackson Square in the Financial District. It makes a great place for a special occasion or business dinner. The decor is rustic, lots of heavy wooden furniture and fires in the fireplace. It also quite loud so come with a big group and try to be louder than the table next to you. The final tab came to....ah who cares, I didn't pay. Another port will ya barkeep.
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