Papas' Taverna in Petaluma report?
The food was okay. Great octopus. Excellent cucumber and tomato salad--we weren't the only ones getting fresh tomatoes at the market. Everything on the Papas platter was fresh and tasty if not exceptional. The Greek iced tea was minty and refreshing on such a hot night.
The only disappointment was the special roast leg of lamb, which was also the most expensive item we ordered.
Atmosphere was great; friendly and accommodating to a big party. Great location on the Petaluma river.
The downstairs tavern has a live band Saturday nights that played loudly enough to make us feel we were in another country but not so loud that we couldn't talk. The belly dancer had a giant snake. We brought a lot of bottles of wine especially a 1993 Mourvedre from Joseph Swan, and after a quick lesson from one of the servers, everyone danced around the room. I'd happily return there after a day in Sonoma.
Chow Fun picked up a delectable tres leches cake and somehow smuggled it in without me noticing.
In addition to the regular chow revelers, it was also great to meet Jennie's boyfriend, Kim's sister Alora, and Andy Jacob at his first chowdown.
A few late comments to add -
The pork souvlaki was excellent. Succulent chunks of marinated pork grilled on a skewer - very tasty. These were much better than the chicken version.
The loukaniko (Green sausage) was also good. A little rubbery in texture, but nice seasoning and charry complexity.
The roast lamb, special of the day, was a disappointment, but the accompanying mashed potatoes were excellent with a rich buttery flavor. There was also a dab of this on the assorted platter. I should have kept quiet because soon at my end of the table we were fighting over the last bits of mash.
I'll echo Windy's assessment of the grilled octopus (we got a second order we liked it so much!) and the horiatiki (village salad). The salad, made with dead ripe tomatoes, cucumber, oliver, bell peppers, onions, feta cheese, and the house dressing, is only available in the summer when they can get the right tomatoes for it.
The cold appetizers were just okay. Usually my favorite part of the meal, I think I'd skip them the next time.
We had some interesting wines - a cold and fruity pink cab fran blend, the old mourvedre, an idiosyncratic terlan (?) from eastern Europe that had what the Piemontese call merd di pollo qualities plus unripe green apple acidity, and a Muscat from Samos for dessert, the one Greek wine in the line up that Jim Leff bought for me in Astoria.
Those were the food highlights. The fun started when the belly dancer appeared with a boa in a basket...or perhaps when the snake came out.