Greek Cuisine has been around for approximately 4000 years. Although evolving over the years, one would think in that time that most purveyors of this type of food would get it right. Unfortunately, some do and some don’t.
Molon Labe is a defiant phrase historically, it literally means “come and take (them)”. It was attributed to the King of Sparta in 480 BCE, who refused to lay down their weapons. 300 Spartan soldiers fought to the death against 10,000 Persian troops.
Taken literally, I suppose “come and take” souvlaki is not a bad imperative. I’m all for that. I made two visits here. Although I didn’t order souvlaki on either of them, I did have some very good Greek food.
The proprietors are George and Melis Rozakis. George is originally from New Jersey and grew up around the family business which was a diner. At some point, George moved to Greece, where he lived for almost two decades. He met Melis there, his wife, and they moved to Miami and opened a trio of Greek restaurants, two of which were in Brickell and South Beach.
After a few business decisions, the couple relocated to Fort Myers, and MLS has been in its present location for about two and a half years.
On my first visit,my dining companion (DC) was in tow. We tried a couple of the starters. The first was the Pantzaria salad. This was a very good, and traditional Greek dish. Pantzaria salad is a delicious amalgam of boiled beets, olive oil, red wine vinegar and garlic served cold. It’s just the ticket for a beet fan. Keep in mind that as with most things here, the beets are made in house. Trivial, one may say, but much better than that available commercially.
The grilled octopus was next. I am a “sucker” for cephalopods, and the octopus here was some of the best I’ve had. Pre-cooked, before grilling, it was excellent. The typical Greek flavors of olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano really complemented the perfectly cooked portion of octopus served. Onion and caper buttressed the wonderful flavors. I wish our portion could have been larger. But then again, I could eat octopus all night.
DC ordered the lamb gyro platter. Traditionally, the lamb/beef blend of gyro meat does not exist in Greece, but is what most of us in North America know. A gyro in Greece, traditionally pub food, is thinly sliced flat pieces of meat in a piece of pita. It could be pork, lamb or chicken.
Salads in Greece usually do not have lettuce, and the salads served at MLS are very traditional. Cucumber, green pepper. red onion, tomato, and an olive oil red wine vinaigrette are topped with a generous slab of feta cheese. This was very good.
I ordered the same scenario, though picked the loukaniko platter. This was excellent, a double Greek salad served with in house made pork sausage made from belly and shoulder. Tzatziki sealed the deal. Highly recommended.
On a second visit, I felt free to explore some of the more carbohydrate fares.
Spanakopita (spinach pie) was the starter for lunch. It was excellent, almost like biting into a cloud of pastry. Melis makes this, and there are 45 layers of phyllo dough here. To give you an idea…
Get this if you come here. You will at a minimum, be delighted.
Freed from the grips of DCs present dietary constraints, I ordered a lamb gyro.
I ordered this with Greek fries, fries topped with olive oil, feta cheese and oregano. Melis told me the traditional approach was with the fries in the pita, but thought that a bit much. I decided on a half and half, with fries in the pita and out. This was the right choice for me, and the sandwich was excellent.
With me manically taking photos of the food, the jig was up. Yes, I have a food blog. In response, a sample of baklava was served gratis.
I never eat sweets as I feel there is much more culinary capital to be spent on other menu items. This was, and I do not say this lightly, fantastic, and will make a believer out of the most baklava-averse person in the universe. If you go here, order this. You will be blown away. There are even more than 45 layers of phyllo dough, per Melis.
In short, the food at MLS is excellent. Most of it is made in house under the most demanding and perfectionist (in the vision of the chef) view of Greek cuisine. If you come here, do not judge a book by its cover. My grandmother told me this many years ago. Although hackneyed and cliched at times, grandmother was infrequently, if never wrong. The food is what this is all about.