Advertisement

Greek food pros open new Costa Mesa eatery

January 13, 2006|By By Greer Wylder

Just when you thought sushi restaurants were the "it" dining spots in Eastside Costa Mesa, a Greek cafe opens on East 17th Street to dazzle locals. It's only been a few months since the casual Greek Town Grill served its first customer, and already its rich and irresistible moussaka, gyros filled with layers of thinly sliced marinated lamb, and hearty salads with charbroiled meats are the talk of the town.

Owner Jim Marutsos, 35, is the son of Greek immigrants and no stranger to running Greek culinary hotspots. With his mother, Penny, he also owns the festive and Aegean Cafe on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. Aegean is a popular special-occasion restaurant, where you can get a taste the good life of a Greek, complete with traditional cuisine, live music, dancing waiters and even belly dancers.

When it came time to open a second restaurant, Marutsos stripped away the bells and whistles that make Aegean a lively destination spot and focused instead on the delicious foods of Greece, served in an attractive and accessible strip mall.

Advertisement

Greek Town Grill is a family affair. Jim's wife, Sheila, helped design the contemporary and inviting decor. She chose modern and clean accents -- blue and sea-foam green glass tiles, faux finishes, custom dark-stained tables, and flattering lighting. An iPod sound system shuffles Greek music, flat screen TVs add visual hipness, and a charming display of Marutsos family photos fill the back wall. There's also an enclosed patio area for outdoor dining.

As long as you eat at Greek Town, you're making healthy choices. Most of the foods are organic, free-range meats; and family recipes are made from scratch. Behind the counter, you can watch vertical circulating gyro rotisseries, where marinated meats are slowly charbroiled using an old Greek technique to seal the juices in.

In no time, the meats will be transported into favorite dishes -- pork or chicken souvlakia (Greek for kebab), skewers of pork or chicken breast marinated in herbs and spices served with rice pilaf and salad ($8.75 or $8.95); and classic gyro of seasoned beef, topped with tangy yogurt based tzatziki, tomato, red onion, on warm pita ($5.45).

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|