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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Restaurant Review: Pontos Taverna, Norwalk CT

Valentine's Day was a bust, what with my working at the hospital all day and then having (cough) getting to go to the Winter Concert at Brien McMahon High School, where Ian performed in both the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.  Actually, the concert was really quite good, even if I am left wondering what kind of person schedules a school concert for Valentine's Night.

Sweethearts out for a romantic
post-Valentine's Day lunch.
Wednesday, though, was a Different Story.  Kimberly declared that, in celebration of Valentine's Week, we would go and have lunch at Pontos Taverna, the relatively new Greek restaurant that had caught her attention a while back.  She had made a reconnaissance of the place a couple weeks prior and came away with the notion that it would be well worth a repeat visit, with me in tow.  Since the car was in the shop, we walked down to 7 Isaac Street for lunch, arriving just a smidge after the lunch rush was past.

After being seated and given menus, it quickly became obvious that Kimberly knew just what she was going to order: a pork souvlaki sandwich.  For the sake of having different things to taste, I settled on the gyro (please pronounce that "gyeer-oh", with a very soft G, not "jie-roe") sandwich, which I ordered with french fries and xtipiti, a spicy feta cheese spread for a dollar extra.  Our server went out of her way to be informative and helpful, explaining that the french fries were served inside the sandwich and recommended that Kimberly and I also get a separate order of fries to share. Of course, we also had to get an order of dolmades (stuffed grape leaves).

Kimberly's souvlaki sandwich.
My gyro sandwich.
French fries to share.
The dolmades, made with meat and rice and served cold, were a great beginning to the meal.  Kimberly was very pleased with her souvlaki sandwich and she allowed me a bite of it, it being Valentine's Week.  As good as it was, I was much more impressed with the gyro.  While I generally like gyros (or doner, if eating Turkish instead of Greek), this one was particularly good.  Instead of the usual ground-meat version, this  gyro was made of sliced meat, stacked on a vertical, rotating spit, with the resulting product being a bits of lovely, browned meat, rather than strips of homogenized beef and lamb.  The xtipiti, which was new to me, was wonderful, adding nice bite to the sandwich, instead of the typical tzatziki sauce, with its yogurt and cucumber flavor.  As to the french fries in the sandwich, they lost their structural integrity and mostly just gave a carbohydrate boost, which definitely wasn't necessary.  The fries that were served on the side were fabulous, though, fresh-cut and served nice and hot with salt and oregano.  The only thing that would have made them better would be a squeeze of lemon juice.

Since it was our Valentine's Day-ish date, Kimberly and I decided to get coffee and dessert.  She got an order of baklava, which looked to be enough to feed a small army, and an American coffee.  I had the tiramisu, similarly large, and a Greek coffee, which was served in a cute, but decidedly right-handed demitasse set.  Somehow, I didn't manage to take any dessert photos; I'll let you guess why.

Other than the strangeness of the right-hand-only coffee, Pontos was fantastic and I expect that Kimberly and I may well make this one of our regular stops when we're looking for somewhere tasty and close to home.

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