There is a small group of us at work that started a “dinner club” of sorts just over a year ago. It started off with Chinese Hotpot and since then we have hit various different ethnic restaurants all over Edmonton, from Indian to German. Last Friday we opted for Greek food at Koutouki on 124th street.
Whenever I am reasonably sure that there is going to be a belly dancer at a restaurant I’m going to, I always do my best to be the first to arrive for dinner. Why? Because then I can wedge myself into whatever corner or chair would make it most awkward for the belly dancer to pull me up to dance. Last Friday, I am pleased to report, was a zero belly dancing incident evening! Success!
We all started dinner off with a drink, which may or may not have contributed to the awesome, laughter-filled evening (I am thinking it did). I requested a glass of the “sweetest white on the menu” which was a Schmitt Niersteiner from Germany. I know, not very sophisticated, but it’s what I like sometimes. It wasn’t quite as sweet as I was expecting, but I thought it went quite well with the meal.
After debating the menu for a while, we all agreed to go for the Meze, which allowed us to sample about a dozen different dishes, from dips, salad, pita, meats, and vegetables. For $38 a person, it’s a little bit on the pricy side, although for the amount of food we got, the value can’t be beat.
We started off with a big bowl of gorgeous Greek Salad, full of huge chunks of tomatoes, onions, cucumber, olives and lots of feta cheese (my favourite part). The salad was lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil , and was a good way to get the Greek feast started.
Next, we were given a big basket of warm, pillowy pita and four different delicious dips: hummus, tzatziki, a spicy feta and mint dip and a roasted red pepper and feta dip. All of the dips were wonderful, but I might be a little biased as I can never get enough dip, I love it! My two favourites were probably the hummus and the roasted red pepper dip. The hummus was smooth, creamy and super garlicy, just the way hummus should be! I also really enjoyed the roasted red pepper and feta dip, which was a nice mix of the salty tanginess from the feta and the sweetness from the roasted red peppers. There was more than enough dip for all of us, however I think a little bit more pita would have been nice.
Spanikopita is a mixture of spinach and feta wrapped in phyllo pastry and the spanikopita at Koutouki was amazing. I think you could wrap just about anything in phyllo pastry and it would taste great. We also got two large plates full of calamari, which were also really good… but really, when isn’t calamari good? Oh right, if it’s rubbery, but this was fantastic, deep fried deliciousness.
Next came out the dolmades and meatballs. By this point, I realized I had to start making strategic eating decisions to make sure I made it through the whole meal, so I took one dolmades and skipped the meatballs. Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice and ground beef and were served with tzatziki.
Our final course was chicken souvlaki, lamb, roasted vegetables, rice and lemon potatoes. I opted for a piece of the chicken souvlaki and a lemon potato. Unfortunately, this was probably the most disappointing part of the meal. I thought the chicken was fine, but not as good as the simple souvlaki I make at home. The lemon potato wasn’t as lemony as I wanted it to be and the outside seemed a little dry, but the inside seemed just a little undercooked. However, I did eat the food so fast that I completely forgot to take pictures of the meats… so it couldn’t have been that bad. Although, after looking through my pictures… none of them really turned out that great. Note to self: pay better attention to pictures next time!
I think the Meze is a great value and wonderful experience for a group dinner. It was fun to try all of the different foods and it allowed for a long leisurely meal. There was more than enough food for all of us, in fact, there were leftovers to take home. Koutouki, you are officially on my go-to list for a fun group restaurant!