Eating Greek: Finding special menus in the Berkshires
If you want to eat Greek food in the Berkshires at times other than Greek Fest, your best bet will be George Cami's Aegean Breeze Greek Restau rant in Great Barrington (327 Stockbridge Road/Route 7, (413) 528-4001; www.aegean-breeze.com). Aegean Breeze has been serving a traditional Greek menu since 2001 -- and not as a sideline to an American menu.
They have avgolemono, a chicken-rice soup made creamy with beaten egg and lemon. There are hot and cold Greek appetizers like dolmades (stuffed grape leaves); spanikopita (spinach-feta cheese pie); taramasalata (carp roe spread); and tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt-dill).
Main dishes feature moussaka, pastitsio, souvlaki/kebabs, and fish and meats grilled simply with olive oil and fresh lemon.
They offer wines including ouzo, Greek coffee and Greek desserts made by Cami's mother, Kalithea Cami.
Other Berkshire restaurants which serve Greek food are owned by Greek Americans, but they serve predominantly American and Italian-Amer ican cuisines with only a handful of Greek dishes.
Chris Constantoupolos, who owned and cooked at Pana yiotis, the Constan toupolos family restaurant in Lee, opened Mykonos Grill (284 Main St., Great Barr ington, (413) 528-1131) in March. In addition to the usual Greek specialties he makes ktipiti (feta and hot pepper dip); avgolemono; eggplant rolled with spinach, garlic and feta; and Greek baked cod plaki in a butter, white wine, lemon sauce. His mother, Sophia Con stan toupolos, makes the desserts.
Paul's Restaurant (157 Sey mour St., Pittsfield, (413) 445-4965, http://paulsrestaurantma.com/index.htm) is owned and run by Helen Parasta tides, wife of the late Paul Parastatides. Their daughter, Maria Parastatides, works with her mother.
Jim Alimones' Cozy Corner Restaurant (850 Simonds Road/Route 7, Williamstown, (413) 458-3854, www.cozycornerrestaurantma.com/) has been in the family for generations.
Alimones has added three Greek-style dishes to his seafood menu: scrod Spartan-style (first pan-seared in extra virgin olive oil, then broiled with tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta); a platter of fish, clams, scallops and shrimp sautéed and simmered in white wine, tomatoes and garlic; and an ancient recipe of shrimp Santorini.
Last Friday, Electra's Café (439 Pittsfield Road/Routes 7 and 20 directly across from Holmes Road, Lenox, (413) 442-1000) opened. It is owned by Peter Lepotakis, former owner (for 25 years) of Patrick's Pub.
Contractors are still working in the kitchen. The menu is not yet final and the state-of-the art coffee machine has yet to arrive at this breakfast and lunch café with some Greek dishes.
Lepotakis'' sister, Corinne Keegan, who owned Co rinne's Place on Fenn Street in Pittsfield, is pastry chef as she had been at Patrick's and the counter cases already display a variety of Greek pastries. Keegan's son Jared is chef.
Lepotakis' and Keegan's mother had been terrific baker, Keegan and Lepotakis agreed. Their grandparents, Electra and Peter Zarvas, owned and ran Union Lunch on Pittsfield's North Street.
Electra's is a family affair named for "Yia Yia" (Gran dma in Greek) Electra.
Everything at Electra's is, made from scratch. Their Greek specialties, called "Yia Yia's menu," include a freshly roasted lamb gyro.
Lepotakis said he would gradually expand the Greek repertoire if and as it becomes popular.