Location: 2065 Hempstead Tpke. East Meadow, NY 11554
Description: Located in East Meadow, Yevma Authentic Greek Cuisine serves up just that-- authentic, delicious Greek ... More »
First, there's that word "authentic" in the restaurant's name. Then, there are the imported Greek groceries showcased in an attractive dining space with whitewashed wood. It's a break from the Aegean-blue Greek restaurant cliche. And, if you needed more proof this newcomer has ambition, there's chef Peter Mesaris' menu, printed to look like a newsletter, which begins with a list of the restaurant types found in Greece. No, there won't be a test tomorrow, so skip ahead to the food.
It is, overall, very good at Yevma Authentic Greek Cuisine. You find that out at the moment you sink your teeth into the grilled octopus. Bathed in extra-virgin olive oil, it's exceptionally meaty and tender, subtly smoky. An assortment of fine dips is headlined by the fresh and briny taramasalata, or whipped roe. Listed as an appetizer but large enough to serve two as a main course is a dish called kotosouvli, or slow-roasted pork, offered only Thursday to Sunday. Although the meat has lots of flavor, it's surprisingly dry. Much juicier -- and available all the time -- are skewers of grilled pork, or kalamakia.
A salad called dako features barley wheat rusks tossed with tomatoes, feta, olives and capers and olive oil. It's reminiscent of panzanella, the Italian tomato-bread salad, but with a pungent-fruity olive kick.
To get an overview of the menu, try the pikilia Kreaton, a mixed grill for two. Most notable are panseta, or thick grilled bacon dipped in lemon- thyme-honey sauce, as well as rotisserie chicken, with sweet burnished skin. Only one component, bifteki, a Greek hamburger of sorts, comes up dry and overcooked. Accompanying hand-cut fries are first-rate, tasting of very good potatoes.
House-made beef and lamb gyro, as well as chicken gyro, both rate pretty highly. They come with lemon potatoes that are hard to stop eating. But it's a case of starch overload when both lemon potatoes and rice accompany grilled calamari, some of which are rubbery. For vegetarians, the laxanika platter showcases exemplary falafel, but roasted vegetables are dark, carbonized.
While there's house-made baklava, assorted pastries and a fine rice pudding, you'll want to ask for a finale called kormo, a moist, brandy-spiked chocolate cake. It's something you'd expect to find only at the more ambitious Greek restaurants.