In ancient Greece, Grecians fought many battles and wars, competing to see who would come out the most victorious. In Plano this weekend, a Greek tasting challenge was born, and a victor was decided. Visits were made to the two top local Grecian champions.
In the West corner of Plano we have Ziziki’s, with a Zagat rating of 24, and in the East corner of Plano, we have Kostas Cafe with a Zagat rating of 22 (as of Jan. 27, 2012).
In the past these two have been battling for the top spot of Grecian Food God(dess), and for top dog bragging rights. This past weekend both spots were visited within 24 hours of each other, and they were judged on three different categories: Appearance, Food, and Service.
When it comes to appearance, these two places are exact opposites. Ziziki’s is brand new, and located in a new shopping center off of Preston and Spring Creek Parkway. This place has very hip décor, and is a hot spot to be seen.
The kitchen has an open atmosphere, and can be seen from select tables. The kids menus have a little color to them, so the kids might see this and be confused at first. They give out crayons, and encourage coloring the placemats, which both kids and adults love to do. The word find in the kids menu was illegible this time, and could not be solved which could bum out a word find fanatic kid, but maybe this was a fluke.
Kostas however has a more home-place type of feel to it. Comfortable, and family style, this Greek restaurant makes a person feel like they are dining in a Grecian home. They don’t have kids menus, but the kids can surely eat something off of their regular menu.
Just a tip, on Sundays you might just be greeted and seated by the owner, Dimitri Ioannides. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, this man knows his Greek food.
Speaking of food, here is the dish! Ziziki’s prides itself on using “Farm to Fork” method. They try to use all local ingredients to make their food. They have a wine selection and a full bar. At Ziziki’s the appetizer Ziziki Bread was ordered and served. This was a pizza style bread with a Ziziki Sauce, which is like a homemade ranch with yogurt instead of sour cream.
The next items were the main meal. One of us had the kid’s pizza, which looked similar, but not the exact same as the Ziziki Bread. Instead of feta cheese, there was a nice mozzarella, and it comes with a small bowl of Parmesan cheese.
The other person got the Rack of Lamb. The rack of lamb was served cooked to order with a basic mushroom brown gravy on top of the lamb chops. The lamb chops were nice and full. Underneath the lamb was a basic half mashed potato, and on the side there were a few pitted olives, some slivers of onion, and an almost raw pair of asparagus shoots.
For dessert, the dessert master ordered the chocolate cake. The chocolate cake was a basic chocolate cake with chocolate icing served on top of a drizzled chocolate sauce. A family at a neighboring table was asked about their food, to which Daniel said, “It’s good.”
His wife Elise and baby Mina were also dining with him, and when asked they said that they come to the restaurant often. The meal total price $89 for two people.
There’s more! We have the challenger, Kostas entering the picture. At Kostas, the appetizer was hummus, something that strangely wasn’t on the menu at Ziziki’s. For drinks there is the choice of either Pepsi or Coke products, which is nice. The adult beverages include an extensive Greek Wine selection, along with beer and cocktails.
The main course consisted of one chicken gyro, and one Athenian Combo. The Athenian Combo consisted of lemon glazed Wild Shrimp, Lamb Chops, and Souvlaki. It didn’t have a sauce that we could visually see, as it was obviously pan-seared and was quite deliciously healthy.
It was served with a side of Greek Potatoes and Green Beans. The potatoes were awesome, and are a must try. The combo also came with a fresh Greek Salad, topped with a nice feta which was also delicious. The chicken gyro was also served with the Greek Potatoes, and was made to order.
For dessert, they had Homemade Layered Baklava. This honey sweet nutty dessert was perfect, and irresistible. When asked about his food being so healthy, the owner replied “We don’t use a lot of oil in the dishes. We are very healthy.” The total meal price $45 for two people.
The last portion of comparison is the service. At Ziziki’s on the weekend there is a hostess named Megan waiting at the door to take you to your table. All of the servers are in black, and are at quick attention when needed.
They respond well to issues, and are ready to fix any problem. Our glasses were always full, and we were waited on by hand and foot like royalty. One of the owners did stop by the table to make sure everything went well that evening.
At Kostas we were greeted by the owner who showed us to our table. Drink orders were placed immediately upon arrival, and waters were provided before we could blink. The server had our orders placed within minutes, and all of our food came out timely, in the appropriate order, hot and fresh. The owner even stopped by the table to make sure all was well, and chatted for a minute or so.
As far as to who is on top for this food review, the running was close but clear. It is clairvoyant that Kostas is the Greek Challenge winner. Their home-style Greek food tastes authentically, unmistakeably Greek.
While we loved the ambiance and upscale contemporary class at Ziziki’s, at Kostas, the ambiance of home-style authentically Greek cooking is a sure fire winner, and it has been predicted that this restaurant has been around for nine years, and will probably be around for nine more. Enjoy your bragging rights, Kostas, you deserve them!