Earlier today I met friends for lunch at John the Greek, located at 281 and Thousand Oaks. The food and the dining experience were both very good. We arrived just as the restaurant was opening for lunch, and were quickly seated, given menus, and asked what we wanted to drink.
I had been wanting spanakopita for a while, so we ordered it from the hot appetizer portion of the menu. It came in a single loaf, warm and aromatic.
The phyllo crust was crisp and the spinach, feta cheese and herb filling was wonderful.
From the cold appetizer menu, we ordered the tzakziki, a dip of grated cucumber and garlic in sour cream. Served with pita slices, it was cool and refreshing.
The entrees came with a side salad of romaine and tomato with cucumbers, feta cheese and a good house dressing, light and with chopped fresh herbs.
Two of us ordered the dolmathes — grape leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice and various seasonings. The domathes were excellent – very fresh — and the egg-lemon sauce that covered them was a nice complement. One order came with spanakorizo — spinach and rice — as a side, and it was a winner.
Even better as a side was the slice of eggplant with garlic and onions. It was so good that a plate could be a meal on its own.
One of our party opted for the avgolemono soup as her meal. This Greek take on chicken and rice soup has the usual onions and celery, but also carrots, with eggs and lemon sauce also added in. The consistency of the broth was somewhat akin to an egg drop soup. While it was good, it could have used a bit more seasoning.
A basket of warm, fresh pita slices appeared with the meals.
We tried three of the desserts. The baklava won raves; this honey-soaked treat was rich and wonderful.
The galaktombourico — vanilla custard in phyllo, baked in syrup — was good; the custard was light, and it was perfect for a hot day treat.
The pasta flora came in both strawberry and apricot. The strawberry ones were good, but with the apricot one, the apricot topping was good but the cookie part was a bit dry.
Four of the kourambiedes — almond cookies covered in powdered sugar — found their way home with me. These were terrific!
Even when the lunch crowd began picking up, our waitress was very attentive, and our drinks were constantly refilled. If there was a down side to the visit, it was that the restaurant was out of several dishes including the moussaka and the pastitsio, as well as the grape pie on the dessert menu. Guess we’ll have to go back to try those!!