Sunday, April 12, 2015

Going Greek in Fullerton

Kentro Greek Kitchen
100 S. Harbor Blvd. 
Fullerton, CA 92832

I promise this will be the last of my wedding preparation posts. I have reread our reviews since the start of this year, and I have mentioned our upcoming wedding so much that it's even driving me crazy. Yes, I know, that's a short drive.

Anyways, the one way Katie can get me involved with these wedding meetings is by enticing me with dinners near where the meetings are taking place. This was the case on this particular night as well. We were going to be meeting with our florist, the very personable Jenny B. I was actually pretty impressed with what she's going to be doing for us, but I'm not much of a flower guy, so I kind of let Katie do all the talking. Luckily, we were only here for about a half hour or so, and then we walked across the street to Kentro Greek Kitchen.

Kentro came across our radar when we visited their sister restaurant, El Amerikano for a media party. With so many restaurants in Fullerton, it's easy to miss a few, but Katie took notice of the menu at Kentro, and made me promise to take her back here to try their take on Greek food.

The restaurant does not really have the feel of an order at the register, and have the food delivered to your table vibe to it, but that's how things are done here. Also, if you are entering from the door off of Commonwealth, make sure to follow the signs that point you in the direction of the registers. We saw a few confused looks while we were here, so be advised of that.

Chef Konstantine Marougas has put together quite the menu. Not your typical Greek style menu. A lot of the items have a modern twist to them, and to be totally honest, I was not in the mood for Greek, but I knew Katie was up for it. See, not even married, and already sacrificing what I want. I guess I have this marriage thing down already. Let's check out the food we had on this night.

We started our night off with two appetizers, the first of which was Katie's selection, the Keftedes ($7). These beefy meatballs were bathed in a red tomato sauce, and sprinkled with kefalotiri cheese, which I learned is made from sheep or goats milk. Not sure which version we had, but these were a good start to our meal. The meatballs were dense, but still with a tenderness to the meat. The sauce had a nice kick to it. Not overly spicy, but it did awaken your taste buds. The bread went well with the extra sauce.

The week we were here at Kentro was the same week that our good friend, Anne Marie profiled Chef Konstantine in her On the Line column for the OC Weekly, (a story that you can see by clicking here). Anyways, in that piece she asked what his choices would be for first timers at his restaurant, so I decided to take his advice and have what he suggested, the first of which was Octopus ($9). This charbroiled octopus came with pickled vegetables and latholemono, a Greek sauce made of lemon and oil. The octopus was done very well. Good, slightly chewy texture to it, without being fishy. Very fresh octopus here. The lemon in the sauce kind of overpowered, but the pickled veggies helped to cut the sourness a bit. The best bites were when you combined all elements together. The bread was not needed for this plate, because the sauce was way too sour on its own.

Katie has really been feeling fish lately, and she kept her maritime mood in full effect by ordering this Psari Sti Skara ($16). Now my Greek is really rusty, but this translates to charbroiled sea bass. Okay, I had to go to Google for that, but still. The fish was very flaky and moist, but Kate felt it could have been seasoned a tad more. It was served alongside quinoa, which is definitely not my favorite thing in the world. Katie thought this version was good, but felt the olives really needed to be toned down a bit in this version. Even with these minor quibbles about her plate, she still would get this again on future visits.

The other item Chef Konstantine suggested newcomers try at his restaurant is the Paithakia ($18). These lamb chops came 5 to an order, and there was plenty of meat on these. The lamb here was some of the best I have had recently. Tender, and seasoned real well, I could not help myself from picking these chops clean. This came with some very good fries, which came out hot and crunchy. My only complaint from this meal was that they only gave you a dollop of their good tzatziki sauce, and I could have used a whole lot more of it. Still a great suggestion for lamb lovers.

For me not really feeling like eating here when we walked in, I really left enjoying my meal. I'd probably not get the octopus again, but everything else was pretty darn good. The food here is prepared simply, with just enough spices to avoid trying to do too much with it. A very delicate balance to achieve. The prices were not too crazy for the amount of food that you get. My plate was the most expensive thing on the menu, and it did not even set us back twenty dollars. In the end, I kind of liked the ordering system here. It probably keeps costs down, and the food runners were definitely quick with refills and making sure everything was good with us. It was well worth sitting through that 30 minute flower meeting to get the chance to eat here.

Out of five doctors, (because the country of Greece ranks number one in the world with the most doctors per capita), five being best to zero being worst, Kentro Greek Kitchen gets 3.5 doctors.

For more information about Kentro  Greek Kitchen, go to their website here:

Kentro Greek Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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