Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't Go Greek in Malibu

We went with a group of friends Saturday night to the Greek restaurant Taverna Tony in Malibu. We'd heard great reviews of this restaurant so we finally decided to do the drive and try it out.

They bring out complimentary bread and dip which we originally thought was their version of a hummus. Turns out it was as dish with avocado, olive oil, puree of garlic and lemon juice. There is a common saying that the best things in life are free...this is one of them. That said, the dip marked the peak of the evening.

We ordered a few different dips to start including hummus, tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, fresh mint, garlic) and melintzanosalata (baked eggplant, sesame oil, garlic, lemon)...all served with grilled pita. The tzatziki was probably the best of the group as the other two were just average. The only app that really stood out was the Flaming Saganaki Cheese (sauteed Kafelograyere flamed with Cognac) which literally came out on fire. While you could taste the alcohol, it wasn't overbearing and was quite delicious. It is also worth mentioning that we ordered the grilled octopus with olive oil and lemon, but it never showed.

For the entrees, we ordered a number of traditional Greek dishes on the menu as well as a few specials. A few of us decided to go with the "fish special" which was the grilled halibut in a tomato garlic sauce. It was rather poor and slightly overcooked. My husband ordered the lamb shank special, braised with sauteed tomatoes and served with grilled vegetables. Unfortunately, the entree came out with a tomato tang similar to brisket. It did not exactly go well with the lamb and was in fact never mentioned in the description of the special, so my husband sent it back. The replacement, a lamb tenderloin slow roasted with herbs, garlic, onions and oregano was well cooked but rather average.

Now get ready for the surprise. The total bill came out to $120 for the two of us, a pretty hefty sum considering we barely drank any alcohol (Greek wine not exactly our style) and suffered through a disappointing expression of high end Greek cuisine. We would have preferred the local $6 gyro to almost anything on the menu here. Overall, the highlight of the night was probably seeing Jeremy Piven on a date with Sophie Monk or the belly dancer that made her way across the restaurant accepting dollar bills as if she was at a gentleman's club.

Rating: 82

Taverna Tony
23410 Civic Center Way
Malibu 90265

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