Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, Avlee is a small Greek restaurant that has its charm. Opened in February 2012, this place is the pride of the owner, Andrew Poulos that I had the chance to meet. Yes, it is a small size restaurant, but with a secret garden in the back (Avlee means garden in fact). I like the decor with its open kitchen, but mainly because, like many Greek restaurants, the decor gives the impression your are outside with its shutters.
Food wise, they serve classic dishes, using natural products. We started off our meal with a spread sampler made of (from left to right on the photo below) Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, garlic and dill), Fava Mani (made with chickpeas, lemon, tahini and cumin - equivalent to hummus), and Melitzanosalata (eggplant, bell peppers, jalapeño, parsley and garlic).
My favorite was the taztziki that was refreshing, and then the Fava Mani. I admit that I did not really like the Melitzanosalata that much, the eggplant flavor not being that pronounced. It was served with some pita that was slightly grilled.
Then came the saganaki, my favorite appetizer when I have a Greek meal. I simply like this cheese (called Kefalograviera), from its taste with its slight saltiness to its texture that is slightly chewy. At Avlee, they do not flambé it, but rather pan fry it and it was sublime.
We also tried the Sika or fig rolls that are figs stuffed with feta, wrapped in prosciutto and pan fried. It was good, but I wish there was more feta in it.
The last appetizer was the Spanakopita, a mix of spinach, cheeses and mushrooms wrapped in phyllo. It was ok for me, simply because I am not a huge fan of spinach and dishes with it are either hit or miss. Jodi loved it though...
But then came the entrée: Arni Youvetsi Kokkinisto. This was an amazing dish made with slow braised lamb shank cooked in a tomato sauce and served with orzo. The lamb was very tender, falling off the bone and the sauce very flavorful.
That dish came with a Greek salad that had a bit of a kick because of the pepper in it.
The second entrée we tried was the grilled Haloumi that is a grilled Cypriot goat milk (know that I asked for smaller portions for the dishes as we wanted to try several of their specialties). It was delicious, especially with the nice char from the grill.
We also tried three sides:
Gigantes or large white beans baked in a tomato, onion and dill sauce.
Horta Revithia or sautéed kale, roasted chickpeas, shallots in chicken broth.
Sautéed spinach with orzo.
I liked all of them (even the one with spinach!), but my favorite was definitely the Gigantes.
Last was dessert, with first the Galaktoboureko, a vanilla custard layered with phyllo that was very good and not too sweet, with nice hints of cinnamon.
Their homemade baklava that was quite good.
With the desserts, I got a coffee made in a briki, a small pot to make a traditional Greek Coffee. Quite good and flavorful.
We had a very good lunch at Avlee Greek Kitchen. My perfect meal would be: saganaki, the lamb youvetsi and the baklava. In fact, this is what I recommend if you go there. Anyway, they have plenty of dishes to satisfy any palate, with non-vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes.
Enjoy (I did)!
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