Laterna in Wilmington, NC
Thanks to some other recs on the Wilmington threads, we tried Laterna tonight and were really pleased. The location used to be a Perkins restaurant, but they've done a really nice job of remodeling so that it doesn't look like a restaurant made out of a Perkins. The wait staff was friendly and helpful, the wine list was pretty good, for the price range of the restaurant and the bar offers a good variety of mixed drinks and decent liquors.
We ordered Sarmadakia for a starter because we were both starving. (We don't ordinarily order apps.) They were delicious - the phyllo was crispy and not greasy, and the filling was perfectly seasoned and the accompanying tzatziki sauce was refreshing and not too garlicky.
The entrees came with soup or salad, so one of us got a cup of the avgolemono soup and the other got the greek salad. The soup was excellent - perfect thickness and texture with just enough, but not too much lemon. The salad was also good - lots of chunks of good feta - my only complaint about it was that it was a little too dressed, but I like my salads pretty dry. My husband liked it fine, though.
My husband had the special Osso Bucco lamb with risotto, which was just falling off the bone tender and very flavorful. The risotto ranks up there with some of the best I've had. I had the Chicken Piccata - in my experience one of those dishes either done well or tough and terrible. This was great. The chicken was very tender and flavorful, the sauce was perfectly balanced, the thin pasta wasn't soggy, and the capers were delicious and not overpowering.
No way could we do dessert - we were too full, and also (to our dismay) someone had come in who had bathed in cologne and had been seated behind us, so there wasn't much enjoying food after that. Thank God we'd already eaten. Ugh. But the desserts looked very good, and maybe we'll try them sometime when we haven't already been complete pigs at dinner.
All in all, we were both really impressed. It's a very good medium price-range dinner experience with excellent food and service. Authentic? Heck if I know - I've never been to the Med. But it's good, regardless.
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Had lunch at Laterna on Saturday and we were really impressed. We had incredibly fresh Greek salad and flavorful dolmades (grape leaves). The falafel pita and kefte (ground lamb and pork) pita plates were also excellent. The pitas are grilled to perfection and the tziki sauce is very fresh and tangy.