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What's the word on Kouzina Estiatorio in Dedham?

m
mwk Sep 4, 2008 11:53 AM

Hi all,

Greek food is one of my favorites, and I'm usually disappointed when I look for a Greek restaurant locally, because they mostly seem to be pizzerias or diners that serve some Greek dishes...not what I'm really interested in. I did look at the LONG thread about Greek cuisine, that's about a year old or so, and one of these days I'll make the trek to Ipswich to try Ithaki.

However, I saw in yesterday's Boston Globe, a review for a place I hadn't heard of yet, Kouzina Estiatorio, in Dedham Square. I did a search here first, but came up empty on any mention of it.

It's not terribly far from me, but not exactly on my usual path either, so it's a "special trip" type of place. Has anyone eaten there? Is it an actual restaurant, or the usual take out with a few tables kind of place? Is the food worth a special trip for?

Thanks.

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

  1. Allstonian Sep 4, 2008 12:05 PM

    Well, the item you saw in the Globe says it has 20 seats total, which certainly sounds like "the usual take out with a few tables kind of place."

    1. Bob Dobalina Sep 4, 2008 12:08 PM

      No news, but wanted to confirm that there appears to be no connection to the lovely Greek restaurant in Waban (Newton) also named Kouzina - which could not be more different. We love Kouzina and its take on classic Greek as well as its Greek-influenced Mediterranean dishes. Very consistently pleasing, just doing its thing quietly over there near the T station. No hard tomatoes and styrofoam containers (except for doggie bag purposes perhaps).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Dobalina
        TheTrout Feb 19, 2009 05:12 AM

        Another huge fan of Kouzina in Waban. It's everything a perfect "neighborhood" restaurant should be - interesting & well prepared food, good service & reasonable prices. The one good thing that might come out of our current economic downturn - places like Kouzina will prosper & thrive because they're delivering value for your dining dollars.

      2. t
        Taralli Sep 4, 2008 12:33 PM

        And they're, apparently, byob with a nearby liquor store.

        1. p
          pemma Sep 4, 2008 01:16 PM

          It's a small place -- more like the usual take out with a few tables instead of a real sit-down table service restaraunt. But, it is nicely decorated and does not sell pizza. It is not the usual Greek pizza/sub shop.

          I have only been in there for lunch -- a Greek salad, which was good, but I'm sure not authentic Greek.

          The people who run/own it seem nice and seem to be Greek.

          It does not have a liquor license.

          1. Luther Sep 4, 2008 01:18 PM

            The photo says a lot, given that it features a plastic take-out container with a typical take-out Greek salad (hard tomatoes, iceberg, pickled peppers from a jar).

            1. b
              BeverlyCY Sep 5, 2008 08:30 AM

              I've eaten there a few times and while I'm certainly no expert on Greek food, I found the place pretty good. The salads are pretty prefunctory but I really liked the mousaka, the tsatziki, and the pasticho. Their bechamel sauce is rich and satisfying. I would avoid anything with fresh tomatoes as they seem to use the supermarket kind with no flavor. The place itself is sort of a mixture of takeout and restaurant, the room is small and decorated with the archetypal posters and photos of Greece.
              The people are Greek and they're pretty friendly, a real improvement over the Greek restaurant they replaced.

              10 Replies
              1. re: BeverlyCY
                m
                mwk Sep 5, 2008 03:12 PM

                Hi,

                Thanks for the heads up on the place. To be honest, one of my big pet peeves is a restaurant that will serve those pinkish square supermarket tomatoes, in the middle of fresh tomato season. Especially if it's a small family-run establishment which doesn't have to adhere to the rule of some distant corporate chain HQ for food purchases.

                To me, that just denotes a lack of passion for the quality of the food they serve. There is just no reason for it. So I don't think I'll bother with trying it.

                1. re: mwk
                  l
                  lergnom Sep 5, 2008 05:36 PM

                  Except it's also the case that Greek Salad isn't real Greek food. If you get a salad in Greece, it will be horiatiko, a mix of vegetables with some light and simple dressing of olive oil and lemon or the like. (Basically the same thing called a village salad or, heaven forbid, a Turkish salad.) Nothing creamy. No iceberg lettuce and usually no tomatoes. In other words, a place can have passion about some things but not others. As an example, if a Greek place cares about their bechamel, then that's a good thing. Most of the dressing you'll get on a salad, if it's not oil, vinegar, lemon and spices, is likely a Sysco product anyway.

                  Further, for some reason, the current "look" for Greek places is upscale counter service. My guess is that it keeps labor costs down, especially since many are almost all family employees. You get a nice counter, nice tables and decor and they bring the food to you. The busiest place - Farm Grill - which is decidedly mediocre in every way, gives you a number but then they're also very busy at lunch (why?). I also think this look grew out of the upscale middle-eastern counters - mostly Syrian and Lebanese - that popped up a decade ago in NY, CT, etc.

                  The best local to Boston Greek food, without getting in a car, is Estoria in Brighton Center. They used to be a pizza place but converted some years back - same owners. The food is hand made - though the "Greek Salad" is the same product you get nearly everywhere. The soup is fantastic, especially the egg lemon and lobster bisque (though one time she forgot to thicken it). I wish they did seafood but the mom - name is Georgia - has told me that Greek food is best only when it's made carefully in small batches. Well, maybe so.

                  1. re: lergnom
                    Luther Sep 6, 2008 12:47 PM

                    I don't think it's relevant what nationality any business owner is, or what their menu is supposed to be- if you're serving pink tomatoes and Aramark dressing, there's significance in that.

                    1. re: Luther
                      b
                      BeverlyCY Sep 6, 2008 02:11 PM

                      No, I would have to go with Lergnom on what's culturally significant. WHen I go to Kouzina Estiatorio I order the mousaka or pasticho and enjoy the richness and taste of the food . I don't expect the salad to be the focus and half the time I don't even look at it, never mind eat it.
                      My favorite chinese place has some great food but they still send bread rolls home in my takeout bag.
                      When I was young ( long time ago) my best friend's Italian born mother used to make unbelievable Italian food but she still made those miserable 60's salads with iceberg, fake tomatoes and Kraft dressings for her American husband. Go figure!

                      1. re: Luther
                        l
                        lergnom Sep 6, 2008 03:30 PM

                        And yet in another thread about Fuloon, which I like, it was pointed out to a reviewer who didn't enjoy it that he / she ordered a bunch of stuff the restaurant doesn't specialize in. If you go to a Sichuan restaurant and order Cantonese food, you might not get the same quality. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

                        1. re: lergnom
                          Luther Sep 6, 2008 03:46 PM

                          I'll agree with you on that... I often criticize people for talking smack about "ethnic" restaurants based on their opinion of the token American food on the menu. It's just that something as basic as "salad" seems like it should transcend the nationality of a restaurant, and doubly so when it's in regards to the ingredient quality (as opposed to the method of preparation).

                          1. re: Luther
                            l
                            lergnom Sep 7, 2008 06:54 AM

                            Wanted to note the restaurant in Brighton is Esperia, not Estoria. I get confused easily.

                      2. re: lergnom
                        l
                        leeflang May 15, 2009 09:18 AM

                        Lobster bisque is no Greek cuisine. It seems that many expect American food instead of true Greek stuff. Wrong place for that.

                      3. re: mwk
                        l
                        leeflang May 15, 2009 09:15 AM

                        Lack of passion? Eleni, one of the owners, talks and walks every day with full passion on the food she makes herself and everything is fresh. Considering how little they charge, it is a gourmet place AND in season the tomatoes are best, although that is totally trivial compared with the truly important flavors

                        1. re: leeflang
                          Allstonian May 15, 2009 03:25 PM

                          Why does Eleni walk on the food she makes herself?

                          Also, many of us consider fresh tomatoes to have a truly important flavor, and according to BeverlyCY above, in season the tomatoes are NOT the best. That's shameful.

                    2. l
                      leeflang Feb 18, 2009 07:20 PM

                      Kouzina Estiatorio is a very small original Greek restaurant in Dedham dowtown that was until recently run by a different owner under a different name.

                      The new Kouzina Estiatorio restaurant owner (replaced All Things Greek owner), makes some of the best and freshest Greek food in the Boston Metro area! Actually, for a transfer from Europe, I would even have this one compete with many Greeks over there.

                      I recommend especially the freshly made (and NOT microwaved!) light perfectly flaky cheese dish Tiropita and the equally amazing flaky spinach dish Spanakopita. Their versions are second to none. The other Greek restaurants in the area should use Kouzina as a supplier!

                      Although Kouzina Estiatorio has ample tables to sit down and it has a nice atmosphere from recent renovations (and thanks to the always friendly and talkative Eleni, Xeno and Nick), if you are a local,, take away is also easy and fast. And Kouzina also delivers.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: leeflang
                        b
                        Bostonbob3 Feb 19, 2009 05:21 AM

                        I really like this place and have done a couple of posts about it. Very authentic for the Greek dishes, very tasty for almost everything. Lamb is a highlight.

                      2. v
                        vinoduo Aug 8, 2009 06:37 PM

                        My parents just moved to Dedham and we discovered Kouzina by accident after leaving them for the night. The food was outstanding. I had the tsatziki (forgive spelling,) which was outstanding; filled with garlic and cucumber and fabulous greek yogurt. My husband had the chicken wrap. All food cooked to order, plentiful, and reasonably priced.

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