The Mediterranean reaches three continents and more than 20 nations and states.
That may explain why Krinti's saganaki, the popular cheese appetizer made with kasseri in Greece, materializes with mozzarella. After all, those waves hit Italy, too.
Krinti, which in full is Krinti Mediterranean Grill, is a stylish, contemporary spot tucked into a corner of the Woodbury Commons shopping center. The lively restaurant emphasizes Turkish and Greek fare, with a few side trips. And the generally good fare is all served by a friendly, though sometimes inattentive and forgetful staff.
One of the memorable openers: a quartet of spreads, which you'll slather on puffy pita bread. Try the baba ghanoush, a lightly seasoned puree of eggplant; piyaz, a combination of white beans, tomatoes, onions and parsley; haydari, strained yogurt flecked with mint and dill, plus a little garlic; and taramasalata, the Greek dip made with roe.
Skip the mislabeled spicy eggplant and the spicy tomatoes; and the hummus, which materializes bland and dull. The house's spinach pie arrives drier than desert sand. And that saganaki will remind you more of a watery pizza topping than anything resembling the real thing.
Mucver, or zucchini pancakes with yogurt sauce, are almost blackened. Instead, sample the cigar borek, feta-and-parsley stuffed, pan-fried, cylindrical phyllo rolls.
Understandably, seafood is a popular choice. During recent visits, the best catch easily was a special of deftly cross-hatched, moist, grilled swordfish, paired with a tropical salsa generous with pineapple. An alternative: marinated cubes of swordfish, grilled with onions and peppers. The whole branzino, however, is mercilessly overcooked.
Grilled Portuguese octopus, slightly smoky and flavorful, compensates for the charred finfish. You'll enjoy it as a salad appetizer and unadorned as a main course. The Greek salad, with iceberg and romaine, benefits from feta and the curious addition of red cabbage. The salty, crumbly cheese also boosts the shepherd's salad, which takes in cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, pepper and parsley.
Krinti's moussaka with ground meat shows up overdone and underseasoned. Devotees may want to consider the vegetarian version. The braised lamb shank, tender and paired with carrots and potatoes, tastes fine. Likewise, two-thirds of the ample "sultan kebab," a three-way production starring a juicy, charbroiled lamb and skirt steak, but finished with an arid chicken kebab. The filet mignon kebab, with the company of onions, peppers, and mushrooms, leads Krinti's skewerings.
Pistachio and walnut baklavas are satisfactory; limp galaktoboureko, and a chocolate pudding to make you nostalgic about My T Fine, aren't. You'll long for other Mediterranean shores.