Petros is different in California Mediterranean sophistication sort of way.
There are no belly dancers.
There is a patio area laden with white table clothed tables and tiny sparkling lights. Just like Greece, but with a Housewives of Manhattan Beach sort of flair (or maybe it was just the middle aged cougs getting hammered off martinis next to us).
Nonetheless, the Greek Aussie, the Cretan mathematician Mathlete, my friend Kat (who at this point is honorary Greek), and my Greek Cali self were seated in the patio on a busy Saturday night without much wait thanks to Peter's super cool Aussie accent and not thanks to me forgetting to make ressies. We started off with complimentary dips of skordalia (an ultra potent garlicky dip) and kopanisti (roasted red pepper dip).
Duo Dips: Garlic and Red Pepper flavas
Alongside our dips came fresh, warm pitas and bread
Peter eagerly ordered a Mythos - the smooth, crisp national beer of Greece.
Mythos: the real Greek beer
Noticing the lahanodolmathes as one of the daily specials, we selected this nostalgic dish of spiced rice and minced meat rolled up in cabbage leaves topped with a tangy lemony avgolemeno sauce. Although the lahanodolmathes were a respectable nod to Greek comfort food, nothing compares to this dish made at home :) i.e. the ones my Aunt Mary makes.
Cheating on Aunt Mary
Grilled Octopus is one of my favorite foods and coincidentally a popular Greek mezze. I enjoyed the tenderness of the octopus flesh contrasted by the char marks all in a pool of olive oil topped with a sprinkling of oregano. I love how Petros's version comes with roasted beets, which also soak up some of those delicious octo-olive oil juices.
Octo-Pus n Beets
Nikos Saganaki is one of the main reasons I keep coming back to Petros with their twist on a traditional fried cheese dish: mild feta encrusted in sesame seeds, flash fried, then drizzled with warm honey and plump golden raisins. It's magic.
The new saganaki: Nikos Saganaki
Another reason is their calamari. My favorite calamari in the world is here - it's tender and the batter is light and not overly greasy. Olives, almonds, and lemons slices are battered and fried with the calamari to make every bite interesting. The lemon garlic sauce may look suspect, but it is essential and adds a cooling tang to the dish.
Best Calamari in the world. The end.
Your favorite Kefthethes or meatballs must always be your mother's (or in my case, my Aunt Mary's) and maybe that's why Petros uses his mom's recipe, which of course is a secret, but I guess his mom spikes hers with a few shots of Ouzo and a dash of Opa! Bottom line is the kefthedes were super moist with a pleasant crust. Ridiculously smooth mashed potatoes and a good dose of horta go great.
Don't tell your mom you ate these, and liked them. Baaaad!
When my dad goes to Greece he always brings bags of protein bars which he offers to everyone as "Californian candy bars." His cousins make fun of him, telling him to drop that pre-fabricated brouhaha and just eat paidakia or lamb. Which is exactly what we did. It was tender and flavorful.
Being with two other Greeks and a willing-and-eager Greek food eater, it was destined that we order a serving of moussaka, the national dish of Greece. Petros's version requires big spoons as they use a hefty hand with the sauce. The eggplant, spiced minced meat and bechamel bubbling out of its dish was a lovely version, but nothing compares to the best moussaka ever.
You make me wanna Moussaka
I don't think any of us wanted this dinner to end so we ordered a dessert to buy time. We all basically agreed bougatsa was our favorite. Petros makes theirs with a vanilla bean semolina custard inside phyllo with cinnamon ice cream.
And shots of espresso for all, except for the mathlete who isn't quite the coffee drinker he will eventually become :)
Espresso with lemon rind
Oh, and the dress code is supposedly enforced after 5pm and a lot of the Lakers hang out here (Go Blazers!).
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266