I was lucky to have spent the summer after high school in Athens, where I learned to love all things Greek. Every now and again, I get a craving for Greek food and the only place that scratches my itch is Kostas in Dallas.
When I was in college, there were two Kostas ... the original one on Upper Greenville, which is so small that you might drive right by it. The other was on Bachman Lake, which has been closed for years.
Now, two new places have opened ... almost next door to each other in North Dallas.
On a recent trip to Richardson, we went through McKinney, down Central Expressway and to the Kostas at the intersection of Park and Alma.
I ordered a glass of Restina, a sharp, crisp Greek white wine ($5). They have an extensive wine menu that includes Nemea, a traditional dry peasant red that tastes like the country.
We started our meal with dolmas, grape leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef ($5.95 for an order of four). Kostas has always served their dolmas warm, like they do in Greece, topped with a lovely lemon sauce. They are delicious.
Hummus and tsatsiki (a Greek dip made of sour cream, cumcumber, olive oil and garlic) are available for $5.95. They also offer eggplant dip ($5.95), feta cheese with olives ($5.95) and fried kalamari ($8.95) as appetizers.
Our entrées came with a choice of soup or salad.
I had the salad, which included lettuce, tomatoes, calamata olives, onions, beautiful feta cheese that didn’t come from Kroger’s and a zesty house dressing.
My friend ordered the avgolemono soup, which is a refreshing blend of egg and lemon in a rich chicken broth. Trust me, it tastes a lot better than it sounds. Light, tangy and toally surprising.
My friend, who was new to Greek food, ordered the spanikoptia ($10.95), which is layer upon layer of buttered philo dough filled with fresh spinach and feta cheese.
I’d like to find Kostas source for feta cheese, because I haven’t tasted anything like it since I left Athens.
I ordered the mousaka ($13.85), a Greek-style lasanga, layered with ground beef and eggplant, topped with a rich bechamel sauce.
Both entrées come with signature Greek potatoes (baked with lemon and oregano) and flat green beans.
The potatotes are bright, zingy and memorable. The green beans? Not so much. But one miss out of a whole night is not so bad.
If your dining partners are not fond of Greek fare, Kostas can accomodate their palettes with scampi ($16.95), Canadian broiled scallops ($17.95) or a New York Strip steak ($19.95). They also include lamp chops ($23.95) and fried shrimp ($16.95) on the dinner menu. They offer chicken souvlaki (think Greek tacos) and chicken fingers for the kiddos at $6 each.
Of course, for dessert we shared an order of baklava ($3.50), the traditional Greek ending of almost every meal.
It was the perfect blend of philo pastry, honey and walnuts, cut on the diagonal, served with a cup of rich, black coffee.
Service was unobtrusive, but attentive. We arrived about 6 p.m., so the crowd was light.
Overall, dining at Kostas offers a pleasant evening of good food at reasonable prices. What more can you ask?
The original Kostas is located at 4914 Greenville at Lovers’ Lane. Their phone number is 214-987-3225.
The two North Dallas locations are at 4621 West Park (at Alma) off Central Expressway and 1040 W. Park off the North Dallas tollroad. The Park and Alma location’s phone number is 972-596-8424. The phone for the Park location near the tollroad is 972-424-6320.
Their website, with operating hours, is www.kostascafe.com.
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