A 4 minute drive from our house and just down “scary” Dawes Hill is My Greek Taverna. [946 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam, (604) 525-5351] It’s a family owned Greek restaurant, that’s continually busy and provides consistently good food and huge portions. I started going there when I began house shopping in Coquitlam in 2008 and have gone there at least 4 times in the past year.
A few nights ago, “Monk” and I were out and about for most of the day and we didn’t feel like cooking at home, so we decided to hop in the hybrid and go get some Greek food. “Nuoc Mom” and “Jazzy” came as well and when we got there at 7:30pm, the place was completely full. The kitchen was rocking and I got quite enthused watching the cooks execute their efficient moves. Fortunately, we were the only group waiting and within 5 minutes, we were seated at our table. Every time I’ve been there for dinner, the restaurant has been very busy and that is always a good sign.
We ordered in a hurry and within minutes I had an ice cold Coors Light in front of me. Yes, you heard me right, Coors Light, the silver bullet, “a taste of the Rockies”. During my university days, I developed a soft spot for silver bullets and every now and again, I feel the desire to have one. Nowadays, I rarely drink beer and if I do, it’s usually a micro-brew or a specialty import, paired with appropriate food or a special occasion. I do love the flavors and nuances of artisan beer and now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’ll look into doing a beer inspired dinner at Tapenade. All the courses will be paired and inspired by a specific beer and I’ll probably work some beer into a braise, a sauce and dessert. I’ll get “Sales Mix” to call R&B Brewing, see if they are interested and if they want to “get in the mix.”
Okay, back to Greek food. First of all, sorry, no pictures. My iPhone has no flash and all the images I took were crappy. I’ve got shaky camera syndrome as well and I hear it worse than a case of the “Boomers.” We ordered a lamb souvlaki dinner, a roast lamb dinner and the calamari dinner. We usually order appetizers to share, but we never finish our food, so this time around, we skipped the appies. The food arrived quickly, was nice and hot and mounded generously on the plate. All of our dinners came with a plentiful portion of rice, potatoes, toasted pita bread, tzatiki and Greek salad. All the sides were OK, but not great in any way. The sides were all very bland on this visit, though in the past I’ve found the potatoes to be exceptional. The lamb souvlaki was delicious, nicely cooked, juicy and perfectly seasoned. The roast lamb was very tender and quite tasty, but a touch under-seasoned and lacked depth of flavor. The calamari was crispy and tasty as well, though it lacked any bright fresh seafood flavor. I’ve been fooling around with local humboldt squid at Tapenade recently, so I might be a touch biased, when it comes to my squid preferences. After all that food, I ordered ek mek for dessert. The portion was again very generous and it tasted alright. I think of it as a Greek tiramisu, with almonds being the key flavor rather than espresso and a custard rather than marscapone. It was definitely a food service version, with fake whipped cream and gelatin used to hold the almond custard. I would like to “get to the bottom” of ek mek; maybe I can get one of my Greek friends to convince their Mom to let me sample some true homemade ek mek.
Issues and concerns; I feel the portions are too big and I feel that they are being wasteful with the food. I’m a big eater and even I can’t or don’t want to finish my plate of rice, salad, potato and pita bread. I watched how much food was going in the bin and I think that could be easily controlled. I realize a lot of people pack their food to go and also by bringing large amounts of food to the table, the servers rarely receive requests for more pita bread. For the kind of volume that this restaurant does and the clientele that it serves, this is probably a huge plus for most, but from my standpoint, I just hate to see food being wasted. The decor is dated and cliché and my table wobbled like “Sales Mix” on roller skates, but otherwise I really am fond of My Greek Taverna. I love Greek flavors. Greek oregano, Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, olives, etc. Though this is very representative of most ethic cuisine, I wish there was more focus put on high quality ingredients and cooking technique. I wish they would cook my lamb souvlaki to medium, I wish they would caramelize the roast lamb, but that’s just not the Greek way. I thing one day next summer, I’ll have the boys over to my house for dinner, we’ll roast a whole baby lamb, drink way too much ouzo and make a Greek feast our way. Overall, My Greek Taverna is a great value, it’s consistently busy and the food is always plentiful and tasty. I’ll be back for sure.
On my chef’s night out scale, My Greek Taverna receives 3/5 SOB(slices of bacon).