Kouzina - New Canaan...good Greek?
My wife and I had a quick lunch there on Saturday. Because we were rushing to meet friends arriving by train, we didn't have a chance to give it a full tryout. Based on our quick lunch, we have every intention of going back soon.
The inside decor is very pleasant, there is ample outdoor seating, the service is efficient, and the food was well-prepared. Admittedly, in the interest of speed, we stuck to souvlaki platters, which are not the best test of their full list of Greek specialties, but that's incentive for a repeat trip. The prices are a little high compared to a luncheonette or diner, but they are not out of line and Kouzina seems to aim higher (plus, I'm used to the New Canaan premium).
I went last week and here is my general take. Service was so-so, but may improve since they just opened. The food quality was very mixed... they were ALMOST good, but just slightly missing on most things. Here is what we had and my thoughts:
1. Grilled octopus has great flavor, but it was rubbery, which ruined the dish.
2. The spreads were good and bad. Melitzanosalata was dark brown and chunky, almost looked like chopped liver. The taramosalata and hummis were good though. Hummis was actually great, in fact.
3. The Saganaki was super tasty, EXCEPT, that it tasted a little petrol or boozy or something. I think the problem was that the waitress did not let the liquor burn off enough or used too much.
4. The Greek Salad was fine, what you would expect but I think they could up the quality on the tomatoes OR stick them in a colander and let them drain, salted, for a while to get rid of some of the wateryness.
5. The pork and chicken souvlaki was very good. They hit those spot on.
Some of the problems above I think can easily be fixed with some time and effort. HOWEVER, the biggest problem I had was that they were not serving any whole grilled fish. This is a staple of good Greek cuisine, so I was very disappointed. I think their only real fish on the menu was salmon. Grilled salmon fillet at a greek restaurant? Really? How about Branzino or snapper or something?
In a nutshell, I plan to wait a month or two and go back. At that point, they either have things working well or they dont and that's the end of it for me.
Went there twice.
The first time they were super busy and had a mixup regarding the order and it took over an
hour to get the food. Once they realized the mixup, the owners came over an apologized profusely and then waited on us hand and foot until the end of the meal. They had only been open 2 or 3 weeks and were ironing out some issues. The food, however, was very tasty and worth the wait. I think once they are up and running for a few months they won't have an issue with service.
I went back a second time a few weeks later and the owner recognized me and my group and apologized again for the mixup the other week and made sure my party and I were happy.
They are really concerned about customer service. No problems with service this time.
As for the food, I loved their gazpacho (it was a special soup one night). Not too acidic and right on the mark. They also had a special of grilled lamb chops, sauteed spinach, and rice. This too, was right on the mark. The plate was $18. For the quality and quantity of the meat, the price is hard to beat.
They have 'lowbrow' food as well -chicken soulvaki and fries - which my fellow diners enjoyed.
I agree with the comment that the saginaki is DELICIOUS but a little boozy. However, I thought that was done intentionally. Different strokes for different folks.
They have a Greek salad and modified version of it called Horitaki (which is the same salad with anchovies). The vegetables were very fresh, the dressing quantity was just right, and the
dressing itself was tasty. It was a fairly large portion as well.
The desserts are very yummy too. I tried the baklava and another one that I can't recall the name of. It is a top and bottom layer of filo with an inner filling of custard. Everyone at my table loved it!
The owners take the time to source some of what they sell from Greece. For example, they have
a lemonade soda (similar to Pelligrino's Limonata) that they sell that you won't find anywhere else around here.
Went to Kouzina on Saturday for an early dinner and thought it was delicous! Casual almost cafe feel to it but the food was full on restaurant caliber. We shared two appetizers, the grilled octopus and kolokithokeftedes, both were very well prepared and flavorful. Then had the chicken souvlaki and grilled lamb chops special for our entrees. Loved how everything had traditional Greek flavors and we couldn't get enough of their tzatziki. Hope to return soon!