Birthdays are meant to be a celebration. So when mine came about in March, I hemmed and hawed until finally making the plunge. My original plan was to fit everyone into the new hot spot Pampa, but with my procrastination, Pampa was unable to take my reservation. So instead I turned to the classic party favourite, Greek. With more than a few Greek options to think about here in Edmonton, I couldn’t help but think that Koutouki Restaurant, which you might remember from Family Restaurant, was the way to go.
The 124th St location is split into two, and I found myself entering the smaller, more intimate room only to be quickly turned aside. Directed to the south door just 10 feet away, I could see how this larger space offered a better setup for birthdays and other celebrations. The table I had reserved was ready to go and all I needed were the guests. Hoping for something straight forward and simply, I imagined the Meze offerings would be the answer as no one would need to think about there meal. Instead, everyone could sit back, crack a beer and enjoy the company.
For $36 per person you will sample about a dozen different dishes, from dips & salads, vegetables, meat & fish. But beware: don’t be tempted to finish every dish that arrives on your table, or you may feel as if you’ve eaten for a week by the end!! Take your time and enjoy your Meze ‘siga-siga’, or slowly, slow.
I couldn’t help but feel the onslaught of food was quite a bit quicker than originally planned, and didn’t quite live up to the siga-siga. The food was like a machine. Bang bang bang, with plates arriving no more than a few minutes apart. The table was so loaded with food that I wondered where everything could go. It easily added up to more food than we could conquer.
Offering a decent chunk of the menu, I think that most people filled up with the foods available. Sure you might not like lamb, or maybe you don’t like pork, but with that being just one dish of many. I promise you won’t be let down. Heck even if you just want to eat potatoes, there will be plenty of starch for your belly. I was quite happy with the selection, and didn’t find anything daring or poorly cooked for that matter. Besides the pace, this was really and truly a well played out meal.
From start to finish; Pita Bread, Horiatiki (Greek Village Salad), Homous (Chick Pea & Tahini Pate) Santziki (Yogurt, Garlic & Cucumber) Kopanisti (Spicy Feta) Tirosalata (Roasted Pepper & Feta), Dolmades (Stuffed Vine Leaves), Calamari, Lamb & Pork Risotto, Keftedes (Greek Meatballs), Spanakopita (Spinach & Cheese Pie), Roasted Chicken & Rice, Assorted Vegetables (Peas & Carrots), Braised Lamb & Roast Potatoes (a la Greka).
My favourite dish of the night might have been the braised lamb. The meat was succulent and pulled apart with the greatest of ease. Other highlights were the meatballs, which I ended up consuming mass quantities of, and the spanakopita which was the flakiest and most rich version I’ve ever encountered. If there was any downfall, it might have been the dish of peas and carrots which seemed rather mundane and maybe like it had come from the freezer section of a grocery store.
After our marathon meal, I was a bit saddened to learn that there were no sweets provided. And as many people aren’t likely to turn down some baklava, a few orders were placed and enjoyed immensely. The spring-roll like shape surprised me as I’m used to the square shape available at many stores. Regardless of shape, the sugary treats were just as good as I imagined and would surely disappoint your dentist if you indulged in a few too many.
Finally, with the drinks refilled and the night growing, the entertainment played out. From a belly dancer who worked her way around the restaurant getting people to dance (including yours truly) to the group of fire dancing, plate smashing young men who really turned it up to 11, this was a heck of a night. Who knows how the a la carte menu tastes, and who cares when you can have the amount of fun we had on this night. Plenty of food to go around, drinks to drown in, and entertainment like no other. I think Koutouki could easily fit the bill for any group and never disappoint