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Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

Christos

Pop into the Nicollet Avenue Christos any weekday lunch and the room is bustling with happy customers. They come for things like a daily special of fresh-baked moussaka, an individual casserole of tangy eggplant and beef united by a savory sauce and a salty, piquant lid of grated, melted cheeses. It's not just that the moussaka is a classic homestyle comfort, it's also that for just $7.25 they get the whole casserole and a choice of soup, such as the lemony, silky avgolemono, or a big salad. Add a $1.50 cup of rice pudding to the table and you're eating like a Greek patriarch, at prices that'll allow you to expand the family. It's hard to find fault with any of the homespun, sturdy delights of Christos' table: The koupepia, grape leaves stuffed with lamb, beef, herbs, and rice, has all the weight of sustenance, all the lightness of careful cooking. The melintzanosalata, a lemony eggplant puree, is silky and rich. Octapodi, octopus baked in vinegar and red wine, is as briny and oceanic as a gusty breeze from the Mediterranean. Dinner is equally value-oriented: It's hard to find an entree that tops $12, though there is the $27.95 Iliad feast for two—and if you and your date can finish that groaningly generous sampling of five of their most popular entrees, including the no-man-can-resist-them gyros, you two are truly epic. Greek food culture is one based on doing things plainly, generously, hospitably, and well—and Christos could be the picture in the dictionary.

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