On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 Thasos Taverna opened its lovely doors to host local news reporters & bloggers for a tasting of the Island Gems of Greece luncheon and presentation, which I had the distinct pleasure of attending. Special guest Chef Athinagoras Kostakos was flown in for the occasion all the way from the island of Mykonos, Greece where he has worked for the past eight years as the executive chef of Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge.
Before we were formally invited to take a seat for our lunch and presentation on the Island Gems of Greece, guests were treated to some signature cocktails made with Greek FOS Mastiha Liqueur. The Mastiha tree is a small evergreen shrub, also known as “lentisk”, with a lifespan of more than 100 years. Apparently this tree can only be found on the Island of Chios Greece, which controls 100% of the world’s production of Mastiha. FOS Mastiha liqueur is a clear spirit with a sweet taste – a full range of herbal tones and tree essences, which are really enhanced when served in a chilled glass over ice. I had the pleasure of trying “The Detox” cocktail made with cucumber puree, thyme, lime and ginger ale. This tasty cocktail was created by Lef Kraounakis, head bartender at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami.
During the four course lunch, guests were able to get a real taste for Chef Kostakos’s passion and flare for authentic Greek food with a twist. Our first course was a delightful cup of Chilean sea bass soup with mussels and rice. I love Chilean sea bass and never had it served in such a way before. My tastebuds were jumping up and down in joy!
Next, Kostakos served what appeared to be a Greek twist on a traditional Italian Caprese salad made with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, capers, thyme and olive oil. This dish was packed with flavor; one of my favorite courses of the afternoon for sure!
The main course consisted of an herb crusted lamb chop with lamb baklava cooked slowly and presented inside a flaky pastry with yogurt cumin sauce.
For dessert, the chef presented the guests with a strawberry and mastiha soup topped with almond meringue. Having soup for dessert was a definite first for me and I have to give kudos to the Chef for enlightening me to this concept through this perfectly executed dish.
The unique combination of flavors in each course as well as the attention to detail conveyed through each item was impressive. Kostakos’s dishes represent a new breed of Greek cooking that is influenced by old world styles, which has evolved into a hybrid that merges tradition and ingenuity. His culinary creations make food look like an art form. Kostakos prides himself on using only the best ingredients, “The most important thing are the ingredients. They come together to create pleasure in your mouth.”
Although Chef Kostakos has since left Thasos and returned to his home in Greece, co-owner and Executive Chef Sophia Mylona ensures guests will have a special dining experience at Thasos that embodies Greece’s customs of using top quality fresh ingredients, with a menu that emphasizes herbs and spices complemented by simple preparation that lets the flavors stand out.
In addition to their made to order craft cocktails, Thasos offers more than 250 labels of wine from Greece and the rest of the world. The restaurant is a two-time recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.
Thasos is located at 3330 E. Oakland Park Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant and bar are open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 11pm and Friday and Saturday from 5 to midnight. There’s live music nightly. Complimentary valet parking and self parking are available. For reservations or more info, call (954) 200-6006 or visit: http://www.ThasosTaverna.com.