Monday, March 12, 2012

Christakis, Going for the Gold!

Christakis Greek Cuisine
13011 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780

Mexican restaurants dot our county in almost every strip mall. You could almost throw a rock in any direction and hit a restaurant specializing in sushi. Italian restaurants? Sure we have plenty. What we do not have is a plethora of Greek joints. I always forget how much I enjoy Greek food, until I actually have it. Does that even make sense? Greek food for me is one of my favorite forgotten food genres.

Luckily, I had been told about Christakis Greek Cuisine about a year ago, from a lady at my work. I was happy that I remembered to write it down. I was not so happy that it had taken me a year to get over there. Christakis is located in the odd shaped shopping center at the corner of Irvine Boulevard and Newport Avenue. When I have come to this retail center before, no matter the time, I have noticed the lack of decent parking. The lot almost always is filled. Of course Nieuport 17 and the Tustin Brewing Company share the same lot, so that might explain the lack of spaces.

Christakis has an elegant, without being pretentious feel to it. Of course the colors blue and white dominate the restaurant, subtly reminding the patrons of the national colors of Greece. On the Thursday night we arrive they have a guitar player adding to the bistro ambiance.  After perusing the not overly large menu, we ordered, and this was they way the food was brought out.

Humus is to a Greek restaurant, as chips and salsa is to a Mexican eatery. If this analogy was on the SAT I would have aced the test. Unfortunately it wasn't, and I do not want to let you know what I actually got on the test, but I digress. The humus here is a blend of garbanzo beans, Greek olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. The result is a smooth tasting humus that is better than anything you can get in the grocery store. Katie called this one of the better humus's she has ever had. I would have to agree.

I was the only one at the table to order an entree, and the entrees come with a choice of soup or salad. As you can see from the picture above I went with the Greek Lemon Soup. This soup was not my favorite. I am not to big a fan of lemon in the first place, but this soup was way too sour. The sourness overwhelmed the taste for me. I would have liked this better if it was a little more creamy and had something to cut the sour taste.

They say the house specialty at Christakis is the Rack of Lamb, and after tasting this I would say they are correct in this statement. I went with the half rack of lamb, because the price listed was market priced. Glad I did because this half rack was $32. Even though this was a little pricey it was well worth the money. This could be one of the tastiest pieces of lamb I have had. Very tender, spiced well, and not gamy in the least. After eating these I wish I had taken out a loan at the bank, and ordered a full rack. The side items of oven baked lemon potatoes, rice, and green beans were present on the plate, but were totally over shadowed by the lamb. This is a must get when dining here.

Katie and Kathleen were not in a big dinner mood when we were eating here, so they went with the Spartan Salad, which is basically a Greek salad with grilled chicken breast placed on top of it. The salad included mixed greens, onions, feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and a pink house dressing. They both remarked that the salad portions of this were made with fresh items, but they were not too excited by the heavy use of the pink hued dressing, which overtook the flavor of everything. The chicken was tender and cooked well here.

Tradition states that at least one of us has to try the most Greek of all desserts, the Baklava. This baklava was okay, not great. The outer portion of this was very hard to break off to get a good forkful. The inside was passable, but not overly sweet. This was not as rich as some other baklava's we have had.

The other dessert we had was not even close to being traditional Greek, the Brownie and Ice Cream Plate. This dessert started with a moist brownie as its base, then was surrounded by two small scoops of ice cream and whipped cream. The chocolate sauce drizzled on top of this was a nice touch as well. We would definitely get this again on future visits.

Christakis definitely quenched my Greek food yearnings. My dinner was very good, but maybe a little pricey for the amount of food you get. Other dinners here run in the $15 to $24 range. The girls liked their meals as well, but not as much as I liked mine. The service when we were here was competent, and not in your face, like some smaller places can be. Christakis is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 2:30, and then open seven days a week for dinner at 5 pm. If you have a yearning for a good lamb chop this is your place.

Out of five frat parties, (because the fraternities of most colleges are named after Greek letters), five being best to zero being worst, Christakis Greek Cuisine gets 3 frat parties.

For more information on Christakis Greek Cuisine, click here:

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  1. Wow that lamb looks really good, I can't wait to try it. It also looks like they have saganaki so now I have to go.

  2. Taylor - You will not be disappointed by this lamb. Great taste and flavor. I have never had the saganaki, but fried cheese can never be a bad thing! Thanks for the comment.