A friend and I recently had a casual lunch at EVOO Greek Kitchen. Working in a cubicle close by, I enjoy coming here for lunch because it satisfies both my extensive appetite and by student budget. EVOO, pronounced [EV-OH], is run by a family trio: Elias, Dean, and Jimmy Theodossiou who have taken their restaurant-running experience and applied it to their passion for good food and, of course, a love for traditional and authentic Greek cuisine.
At 438 Preston Street, steps from Carling and Dow’s Lake, EVOO invites you for brunch, lunch, dinner, or drinks. It has an inherent subtle simplicity that flows seamlessly between casual lunches at noon, to dimly-lit date night dinner, to end with a hushed bustle for drinks and laughs. In each setting they maintain their claim to “traditional Greek cuisine with a modern flare” with unobstructed goodness.
Each of EVOO’s dishes is designed to highlight two to three simple pieces, without clutter or exaggeration. On the lunch menu they have a selection of gyros, flatbreads, and lunch plates, that come in chicken, lamb, or pork. Even coming across ‘wild card’ pieces such as Fig and Manouri, or Avocado and Halloumi, they continue to present without unnecessary fluff. The brunch menu combines both your classic brunch hallmarks such as crepes and french toast with Greek influence in feta omelettes or eggs with Greek cheese and veg. As the self-proclaimed King of Brunch, I must remind myself to come try the eggs benedict in Smoked Duck and Chive, among three choices.
For dinner, EVOO starts with a long list of ‘for the table’ pieces as they present their take on many classic Greek pieces like Grilled Halloumi, Spanakopita, Keftedes, and more, for sharing. The restaurant also has a list of specialty meat dishes, from Washington State Lamb Chops to Pancetta to Greek Sausage for those who wish to adventure solo. Finally there are some familiar entrees such as Souvlaki or Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes to appease those faithful to the classics.
I’m having my usual: the Grilled Chopped Chicken lunch plate. Each plate comes with true Greek salad (not a fleck of lettuce in sight) and EVOO fries, completely frill-free. Everything is topped delicately with a light olive oil that connects it all together. The chicken is wonderfully moist on the inside and topped simply with olive oil and oregano, a perfect light lunch. The salad and fries balance each other well, with the added benefit of being seemingly healthy. They are roasted, lightly oiled, and topped only with some oregano and Kosher salt. The meal is simple, yet intriguing, and I applaud the folks at EVOO for achieving this balance.
To wash it down they provide a long list of drinks, starting with Greek-inspired cocktails (all made with Skinos, a liqueur made from a Greek tree that is flowery and sweet) that contain only a few extra ingredients to continue the EVOO simplicity. There is a wide selection of Greek wine and beer, including Volkan and Alfa Hellenic. If your day at work was particularly troublesome, an ouzo finale should ease the pain.
One of the most important aspects to me in a resto is the atmosphere. EVOO’s very clean and simple appearance ties nicely with the food on the table. Three bulbs hang over our table and scattered pot lights provide the rest of the light around us. As well, some neighbouring diners enjoy a World Cup match EVOO is displaying, which adds a level of casual-ness that compliments our meal well.
Our server is courteous and attentive, yet not intrusive or detracting. The atmosphere feels welcoming and familiar even to newcomers, and even still as the restaurant is divided into small pockets of diverse spaces. From high tables and stools, to classic tables and chairs or benches, to the bar at the back and the patio out front, EVOO Greek Kitchen is ready for whomever and however they come. In fact, you need not even sit to enjoy EVOO; you can call ahead or order online and pick up for some great Greek eats at home.