BEST DOLMADES Phoenix 2004 - Greektown Restaurant
Now pay attention, biahtch, we're only going to explain this once. We know you just got finished watching Troy, with all that business about Greeks bearing gifts, yadda-yadda-yadda. But there's one Greek present you can enjoy without opening it, and it doesn't look anything like a wooden horse. Stumped, oh ye of little gray matter? We're talking about stuffed grape leaves, or dolmades as they're known to your intellectual superiors. Actually, dolmades comes from an Arabic word meaning "something stuffed," and they're common throughout the Mediterranean region. But the best dolmades we've ever had were served to us by chef/owner George Vassilou at his lovely Greektown Restaurant on North Seventh Street. Vassilou's dolmades are served warm, in a rich avgolemono sauce made from chicken broth, lemon juice and egg yolks. And he prepares each one just like his mom did, filling the grape leaves with a mixture of ground meats, rice and herbs. Everything on Vassilou's menu is first-rate, but his dolmades are practically Olympian, baby. If the Greeks had offered up these to the Trojans back in the day, both sides could have avoided 10 years of fighting and gotten down to some serious peacetime eatin'.