Opa for Business

A good way to avoid being overwhelmed by Greekfest's extensive, complicated menu is to opt for what the menu calls "antipasto," which is not, as at an Italian restaurant, a salad. At Greekfest, it's a bountiful sampler of several of the eatery's exotic appetizers, including taramosalata, tasty Greek-style caviar; melintzanosalata, a fine pasty "salad" of ground eggplant; revithosalata homous, a coarse bean salad; and dolmathes, refreshing grape leaves stuffed with rice and other goodies. Also included is fasolia, along with feta cheese, kalamata olives, a delicious tzatziki (cucumber-and-yogurt dip), and plenty of pita bread to put in it. Everything on the platter is terrific; it's well worth the $10 investment.

Some of the entrees, however, show the limitations of Greekfest's more reserved approach. The casseroles, served in small caldrons with pot-pie crusts on top, are examples. They're perfectly edible, but their ingredients are so thoroughly jumbled together that they lose individual character. In the moussakas, the flavors of the eggplant and the lamb sauce blend together instead of contrasting each other, and my companion said that though she liked her pastitsio -- a casserole made with pasta -- she had no idea what was in it. The casseroles are closer to comfort food than to fine dining. They're like leftovers from a church social -- great for a midnight refrigerator raid, not so good for a big night out.

My favorite entree at Greekfest is the lagos, a fall-off-the-bone leg of rabbit in a zingy, orangey-red baby-onion sauce with a side of rice. It's not to be missed.

Dessert is another must at Greekfest. The fine baklava is harder and drier than Greektown's version, but no less rich and nutty and satisfying. The real ambrosia on the dessert menu, though, is the galaktoboureko, a honeyed phyllo pastry filled with an exquisite custard.

Eat your heart out, Tantalus. Oh, sorry, forgot -- you've got nothing to wash it down with.

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