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Kokkari Estiatorio


docsconz
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I will be heading to S.F. on business this fall and one place on my potential hit list is ˙Kokkari Estiatorio, however, a search of the California Forum resulted in very little information and none in over a year. Has anyone been recently and what are your thoughts?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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It has been over a year since I have been, but I adore this place. I used to eat here all the time when I lived in SF. It is a very large and warm space with good Greek food. I especially like the small plates and normally make a meal out of those instead of getting main courses. Never had a bad meal there.

Edited by The Blissful Glutton (log)
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Thanks for bringing this to light - all the big places get discussed and mentioned over and over but this one will be on my list now for a visit soon. Doc, if I get there before your visit, I'll post...

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I haven't been in awhile but enjoyed it very much up for several years. I think I was last there about 2 years ago though for a full dinner... In the last year I've popped in a few times for drinks at the bar.

The restaurant has a nice vibe and the lamb chops were indeed excellent. It was difficult for me to order much else but others have also had good experiences with their fish dishes. They had a dessert I really enjoyed as well--a parfait type dish with tangerine granita and yogurt sorbet. i've been wanting to recreate that at home.

I'd be interested to hear any more recent reports including docsconz if he ends up trying it out.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Cool. Unless I hear any resoundingly negative reports I will check it out on my next visit.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife and I had dinner at Kokkari in early July. It is, indeed, a beautiful room with tremendous warmth--although on this Friday night, it was quite busy. The waitstaff is excellent, patient, and helpful.

I had fantastic appetizers, including some Greek spreads, grilled vegetables, and artichokes. My wife and I each ordered fish, and it was fresh, perfectly prepared, with lemon, olive oil & Greek oregano.

The sides of roasted potatoes with lemon and olive oil, and braised greens, were perfect.

The yogurt and dates with honey was as good as it gets at the end of this kind of meal.

I loved Kokkari. Judging from the spirit in the restaurant, I think they had a very happy and satisfied crowd that evening.

Enjoy

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  • 1 month later...

Since meeting at the 2006 Starchefs International Chefs Congress and again this year at the Fancy Foods Show in NYC I have developed a friendly acquaintance with the wife of Erik Cosselmon, the Executive Che of Kokkari. Not having previously been aware of the restaurant I researched it here and elsewhere and determined that it would be a fun place to visit when in San Francisco as well as a cuisine that I am not overly familiar with.

gallery_8158_5310_85604.jpg Having made arrangements for dinner through my friend, my wife and I as well as one of my work associates and his wife arrived for dinner at Kokkari this past Monday evening. I was surprised at the size of the restaurant as well as how busy it was for a Monday night. Unfortunately, Chef Cosselmon was in NYC on a research trip the week we were in San Francisco, so I did not get a chance to meet him. We were well taken care of nevertheless and given a table between the two main rooms. We perused the menus, but knowing that they were expecting us, we decided to let the chef cook for us and send out what the kitchen thought was best. needless to say, we received a great sampling of a variety of wonderful food.

We were started with a variety of meze and appetizers.

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Taramosalata, Tzattziki and Melitzanosalata with housemade grilled pita.

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Dolmathes - grape leaves stuffed with rice, currants and pine nuts.

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Persimmon with Greek cheese, almonds and purslane - this tasty dish was not on the menu.

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Oktapodaki tou Yiorgou - grilled octopus with lemon, oregano and olive oil was melt-in your mouth tender. I would have been quite happy with just this.

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Aginares Souvlaki - grilled artichokes & eggplant skewer with house-made Greek yogurt - I have had grilled eggplant before, but never grilled artichokes -delicious. The yogurt was a wonderful accompaniment.

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Katsikaki Yuvetsi - stewed napa valley goat with orzo, tomato, spices, artichoke and feta was a consensus favorite of the table with its heady aromatics and satisfying meatiness. Our timing was good as this was the last serving of this dish of the season. It will next be on the menu with goat in the spring.

The food (and wine) kept coming. We opted to go Greek with the wines as well as the food and not being particularly knowledgeable about Greek wines, we left the choices to the sommelier. We were glad we did as the wines that were selected worked very nicely with the food. We started with a white, Gerovassiliou, Malagousia 2006, from Thessalonoki that was crisp and light and followed with a red also from Geravassilliou, Avaton 2004 from Epanomi. This was highly tannic, but mellowed nicely with the first bites of the red meats we were served.

On to the mains:

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Kokoretsi - spring lamb organ meats that included heart, liver, kidneys and shoulder with a lemon-oregano vinaigrette was not universally adored around the table as one of my dining companions has an aversion to liver (other than from duck). He did enjoy the heart though. I had no such qualms with any of it.

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Thalasina Scharas Yia Dio - Seafood grill with whole bronzino, Hawaiian prawns and PEI mussels - the piéce de resistance.

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The prawns were farm-raised in Hawaii were particularly sweet and succulent. The sweetness was supposedly due to feeding of papaya in the ponds in which the prawns were raised. I have no idea if the prawns eat the papaya directly or if they feed on other organisms that feed on the papaya. I do know that they were sweet, expertly grilled and delicious.

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The mussels were large and perfectly cooked. Alas, I did not get even a half-way decent close-up photo of the bronzino.

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Arnisia Paidakia - grilled lamb chops with lemon-oregano vinaigrette & Kokkari potatoes. The potatoes, finished in the fryer were crisp outside and soft and fluffy within. By this time (actually well before) we were totally stuffed much like the dolmas that we ate earlier in the meal.

...still, we had to find some room for dessert...

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Yiaourti Granita - yogurt sorbet with strawberry granita and mint syrup - the perfect refresher after this large and delicious meal.

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Baklava- Can a Greek meal be finished without baklava? This was one of the better renditions I've had as it was not overly sweet.

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Galaktoboureko - traditional semolina custard in filo with quince and pistachio ice cream - yum

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Greek coffee - my wife had a serving. I tasted it. I loved the flavor though it was a bit too sweet for my taste.

A few photos of the kitchen and the restaurant:

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A few comments about the restaurant and our experience: We clearly had a special experience - in fact when we asked for our check there was none. We were fully comped for this meal despite our protestations. I would have happily paid for this wonderful experience. Our principle server, Maxwell, has been with the restaurant since just after its inception. His knowledge of the food and his enthusiasm showed it. He was superb. The sommelier, Dimitri, was also outstanding and very helpful. Mario, the chef on duty and his crew did great work. Though our treatment was no doubt special, it did not appear that anyone else in the restaurant was suffering. The service around us also appeared to be involved and attentive and the food as appetizing as what we were served. We almost literally rolled out of the restaurant, but given that it was a beautiful night and we desperately needed exercise, we walked back to our hotel, the Clift, near Union Square.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Doc, your posts are what I live for. :)

Seriously, they're like a slab of toro for me. I await them with drool pooling at the sides of my mouth, and never a let-down. No such thing as bad toro as far as I'm concerned, and no such thing as a bad post from doc. (this includes all your recent SF postings!) Thanks as always for an intelligent and visually stunning account of a meal.

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Thanks, Bueno. The pleasure is mine as it helps me keep a sense of my meals in my feeble memory. That some people read and enjoy these posts make it all the more worthwhile and satisfying. I hope to be able to continue to keep you well fed. :biggrin:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 1 month later...
Here is a nice pictorial from 7x7 San Francisco on Chef Cosselman preparing "pikti" a Greek head cheese from a Berkshire pig while utilizing the whole hog. Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Here is a nice pictorial from 7x7 San Francisco on Chef Cosselman preparing "pikti" a Greek head cheese from a Berkshire pig while utilizing the whole hog.

Ummmm... that's a link to your Cabo trip. This is where I think you meant to send folks....

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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Here is a nice pictorial from 7x7 San Francisco on Chef Cosselman preparing "pikti" a Greek head cheese from a Berkshire pig while utilizing the whole hog.

Ummmm... that's a link to your Cabo trip. This is where I think you meant to send folks....

Oops :shock: Thanks, Carolyn. I fixed the link within my own post.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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