Originally posted on 7/27/2013
I hear it all the time. Hell, I used to say it all the time. And for the most part is was true; real, authentic, tasty, fresh, Greek food was just about impossible to find in Toronto. Folks, it's more than souvlaki on a bun! But when you find it, be prepared to pay for it.
Estiatorio Volos is the real thing. But don't take my word for it; I'm just a Canadian with Scottish roots who's never been to Greece. No, no, no; I took a Greek gal with me, one who's mother is from Volos, no less!
Volos, once a pretty, little, coastal, fishing village, is now more of a pretty, coastal tourist, small city, but fishing is still important here, so, fish and seafood feature on the menu and in the decor, and although the place is billed as a seafood restaurant, the kitchen does a good job with everything and everything you'd expect to find there. Except flames at lunch. There is no flaming of the cheese at lunch, folks! No Opa! No scorched ceiling.
Lovely, green-glass, fishing buoys, collected from the waves off Volos, hang from the high, arched ceiling. Giant, clay, amphorae dot the room and the practically-licked-clean plates say it all.
Chef Reza has been kind enough to share his recipe for the delicious, cinnamon-spiked, meatballs we couldn't get enough of. Described as "Smyrna-style" this is because the recipe was brought to Greece by the Turkish (from the city of Smyrna), ages ago. And we all couldn't be more pleased!
1 lb ground beef - grass-fed, Ontario is best!
4 Tbsp finely chopped white onion
11/2 Tbsp fine chopped garlic
1 free run egg
1 Tbsp dry oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
2 Tbsp fresh chopped Italian or flat leaf parsley
2 slice white bread, crust removed
4 oz milk
1 jar pre-made, excellent quality tomato sauce or passata
Pre-heat oven to 375F
Combine all the ingredients, except the bread and milk, mix well.
Soak white bread in the milk, then, wring out excess milk from the bread, and crumble into meat mixture.
Roll the mixture into small golf size ball, or small sausage shape and arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through and browned. Transfer to serving dish.
Season tomato sauce with a pinch of cinnamon and cumin and heat through. Pour over meat balls, and serve with a fresh, crusty loaf for dipping.