Preview: Tzatziki Greek Grill
At a cursory glance, Tzatziki Greek Grill’s menu looks like that of most any other family-run taverna. However, Chef Billy Kokoronis adds a few fun twists like gluten-free spanakopita bites and Greek macaroni and cheese.
The grilled octopus is solidly executed and served simply with an olive oil, red wine vinegar, and herb dressing.
Family and food are constant themes in the lives of cousins Fay Nanakos and Billy Kokoronis. “We grew up eating dinner with extended family — cousins, uncles, grandparents,” says Nanakos, in addition to working with them. The family owned a diner and a steakhouse in Liberty, NY, plus Nanakos’ father had a continental restaurant in Manhattan. “I’ve always loved the action of restaurants,” says Kokoronis. “It’s a great natural high.”
So it’s no surprise that Kokoronis, who is a chef, and Nanakos, plus her husband, George, and cousin Dimitri Toumaras opened 45-seat, traditional Greek restaurant Tzatziki in May in the space that formerly housed Spice Indian Bistro.
The sampler platter includes numerous house-made items like the dips.
Expect classic Greek offerings, such as toasted pita with various house-made dips (the beet hummus and htipiti, or red pepper, feta, and jalapeno, are standouts), addictive hand-cut fries with oregano and feta; lentil salad, lamb souvlaki, falafel in various presentations; and excellent moussaka.
Chef Kokoronis, who is a CIA grad and worked in the kitchen at Nobu Fifty Seven in Manhattan, adds that while the bulk of the menu is traditional, they do “put a twist on some items.” Thus look for spanakopita bites (fried spinach and feta balls), a burger topped with gyro meat, feta, french fries, and tzatziki; and saganaki sticks (hand-breaded saganaki cheese with garlic-potato dip). “No mozzarella sticks here,” quips Nanakos. “We’re Greek; we don’t eat mozzarella.”
The family also has a 25-seat sister restaurant in New Paltz that George runs, open since September 2015.
“Food is always on our minds,” adds Nanakos. “We’ll be seated around the Christmas dinner table and asking, ‘So what are we going to make for Easter?’”
Tzatziki Greek Grill
1 Huguenot St, New Rochelle