Monday, August 26, 2013

Thasos Greek Taverna - Brunch

One of my all-time favorite movies is my Big Fat Greek Wedding. I still laugh hysterically when Aunt Voula says "He don't eat no meat? Oh that's OK. I make lamb." I can absolutely relate to the passion Greeks feel about food; it's very similar to that of Italians and Cubans. Needless to say, when I heard about the new brunch at Thasos Greek Taverna, located at 3300 E. Oakland Park Blvd in Fort Lauderdale, I couldn't wait to go have me a Big Fat Greek Brunch.

Thasos just recently turned one and it is quickly becoming the trendy place to go. Owned by Gus Leontarakis and Sophia Mylona, both from Northern Greece,  the ambiance  is typical Mediterranean with a splash of contemporary design. The predominant white theme extends throughout the space, coming alive in the white walls, tables and chairs; only to be contrasted by the light ocean blue dishes on the tables. The open kitchen plays center stage, where you can watch the hustle and bustle from just about every angle. There is a larger-than-life mural of Greece that captures the eye from the moment you walk in, and a collection of lights that we were fascinated to hear change colors during the later hours. Just as charming, is the outdoor seating area, featuring yet another sprinkling of hanging lights and an interesting exterior wall with rectangular openings.

One of the things I noticed was that the dishes that tend to be normally heavy in Greek cuisine, were lighter and offered a "cleaner" taste here at Thasos. It turns out that Sophia, the owner, is a nutritionist, and it was important to her to incorporate a healthier take on traditional cuisine, scaling back on some of the olive oil and lemon. Executive Chef Brian Cantrell has taken this concept and seamlessly perfected it, creating Greek dishes the Thasos way.

White Sangria

Bloody Mary Bar
Fresh Fruit and Prosecco
We started the liquid portion of our adventure with a refreshing Prosecco and a White Sangria, while we looked over the menu of goodies in front of us. Thasos offers a Bottomless Brunch Bar for 15 dollars that includes Bloody Marys, Prosecco, Mimosas and Sangria. The make-your-own Bloody Marys portion of the bar is fun; complete with shrimp, fresh fruit, herbs and condiments.

Eggs Benedict

Grape Leaves
You know how popular and tasty Greek spreads are. We figured we'd try all the ones on the menu so we had their Piatela, a sampler of their five spreads: Tzatziki (Greek yogurt, cucumber and garlic), Taramosalata (white fish caviar, olive oil and sweet onion), Eggplant (fire-roasted, red peppers, parsley and olive oil), Whipped Feta (hot chilies, roasted tomato, and olive oil), Organic Green Chick Peas (crushed with olive oil and lemon). Served with pitas, it was a generous portion to say the least. We enjoyed the creaminess and unique flavors in all of the spreads, and after much deliberation, decided our top favorites were the Taramosalata and the Whipped Feta. Grape Leaves are always a must-have for me in Greek restaurants and the ones at Thasos were excellent. We were definitely able to capture the homemade quality of this traditional dish, and the meticulous way the leaves were rolled around the rice and seasoned with mint, dill and lemon. Next up was one of the top contenders of the day, the Eggs Benedict. The menu offers a choice of roasted pork, smoked salmon or jumbo lump crab meat to complete this popular breakfast dish and we chose the smoked salmon. My biggest surprise was that the hollandaise sauce was not only flavorful but had a light unique texture that brought it all together nicely, without that "Oh I'm stuffed" feeling. It was served with Yukon gold potatoes and heirloom tomatoes.

Greek Salad

Fire Grilled Octopus
Keftedes and Fries
Of course you can't go to a Greek restaurant and not have at least one salad so we opted for the signature Greek Salad. This was no ordinary Greek salad. This was an aromatic blend of tomatoes, baby cucumbers, onions and olives, drizzled in organic olive oil and topped with a gigantic wedge of barrel-aged feta. I just couldn't stop eating it. Our waiter suggested we try the Fire Grilled Octopus, selling it as the best octopus he'd ever had. Well you know what? He wasn't just saying that because they pay him. That was one mean octopus! It was tender, practically dissolving in our mouths, and had a smoky taste that lingered in the palate for a while. The grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, sprinkle of lemon and Thasos olive oil bathed the sea critter in a delight of explosive flavors I still haven't forgotten. One more dish, I said to myself, I want to try one more dish - and we did. Challenging ourselves while we unbuttoned the pants, we ordered the Keftedes and Fries. This one took it out of the park. The grilled lamb meatballs were outrageous; served with a slightly spicy whipped yogurt tomato and a side of rosemary fries. As many times as I've had these meatballs in other Greek restaurants, these were by far the best. We came to learn they followed a family recipe that quite honestly, I'd like to learn.

You're probably thinking, that's it - finito - the end - no mas! But you're forgetting whose adventure you're reading. I couldn't leave you guys without a look into their dessert menu. So I did what any respectable foodaholic would have done. I ordered a Baklava, that rich, sweet finale made of layer after layer of phyllo pastry, then filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey. Aaahhh! Now that was one Big, not Fat, Greek Brunch.

For more information, or to experience your own decadent brunch at Thasos, visit their website at or call them at 954-200-6006.

Thasos Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this post! I rarely head up to Fort Lauderdale, but I will for this place. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of my favorite movies also. As a Cuban-American, I totally relate.