Greco Roaming

Myconos

1420 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls.,
870-1114

          OUR STOMACHS HAVE become brick walls and our feet fall heavily on the carpet as we leave Myconos, but we still have the gumption to reach out to the glass bowl overflowing with jumbo pastel-colored Jordan almonds. We leave with the same cozy and confused feeling that one gets after a big holiday meal; why did we eat so much? Was the food that compelling, or were we diverted by the mood, set in this case by the jumbled, amiable decor and our magnificent waitress?

          If you are a quibbler, there is certainly a thing or two to carp over at Myconos. Almost everything arrived from the kitchen lukewarm, disappointing only because you feel that this kind of food--stalwart soups, baked casseroles, fish, and meatballs--needs to be served piping hot. Despite such easily remedied imperfections, there is still plenty to relish here.

          A glass of wine should take the peck right out of your beak. The wine list is a well-composed roster of Greek wines that even Homer "the flame of wit is slit deep in a bottle" himself would have enjoyed, ranging from a $17.95 bottle of Retsina, Achaia Clauss to the Grand Reserve Naoussa, Boutari at $29.95.

          If you see no need to stuff yourself, ordering from the salad menu is the wisest course to take. I dare say Myconos has some of the freshest, loveliest salads in town, crisp and simple with a dousing of red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. The taramosalada ($6.95) is big enough for two--a plump tomato stuffed with whitefish roe seasoned with lemon and olive oil in a nest of lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, scallions, and radishes, and boasting a generous amount of fat capers and lusty Greek olives. The elliniki salad ($6.95) is much the same crisp story with the added benefit of a crumble of creamy feta, a light shower of oregano, a few pickled peppers, a couple of stuffed grape leaves, and without the stuffed tomato. Soup ($1.75/$2.95) makes a nice addition to this sort of meal, and the choices vary daily. We happened upon some excellent mushroom-barley soup made with lots of celery and carrots, just the thing you want to be slurping on a chilly evening.

          The menu breaks down into a dizzying selection of warm appetizers, cold appetizers, seafood, specialties, traditional favorites, and items "from the chef." You can leave it up to the kitchen to prepare you an array of orektika tis imeras, or "appetizers of the day," a feast of ten small portions of entrées and appetizers as selected by the chef (ten items for $19.90 or $16.95 for 10 vegetarian items). If you hate something, our waitress cheerfully informed us, the chef will be happy to replace it, but who wants to be sulky enough to send things back? Like good cub scouts, we tried and enjoyed everything sent to us, with plenty left over to take home.

          We relished (no pun intended) a chilly plate of pickled beets with onions and dill. We also had the psari gemisto--filet of sole stuffed with a crabmeat and a shrimp bread stuffing, wrapped in puff pastry, baked, sauced over with an egg- lemon sauce, and served over spinach sautéed in garlic butter. I thought I had gotten over my dislike for beef liver, but found it to be quite intact, despite Myconos's kind treatment of it with white wine, mushrooms, and onions. The pureed dips tasted incredible, especially the roasted garlic potato puree and the roasted eggplant, each shining brightly with lots of olive oil. We left no traces of the chicken lemonata on our plates, a chicken breast sautéed to tender perfection with a sharp lemon sauce and rosemary. We ate and ate with vigor while our waitress supplied a never-ending litany of slightly baked pita bread.

          Yes, we did each have dessert, waiting just long enough for the stupid voice of reason to go away before ordering it. This portion of the menu brimmed with honeyed confections. We shared an order of karidopita ($1.95), a honeyed knot of shredded wheat filled with chopped walnuts, and a bougatsa ($2.25), a spongy pillow of phyllo dough filled with warm custard and topped with a few cherries in syrup. Both were polished off in record time. If we stay away from Myconos for long, it will only because we stuffed ourselves so royally the first time.

 
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