By: Taylor Perry
I have always been told to never judge a book by its cover, and as we arrived at Cavos Tavern and Pizzeria in Newington, Connecticut, I kept this advice in mind. From the outside, Cavos seems like a dreary, underwhelming café. However, as we stepped through the entrance, I was surprised by what I saw. Inside, the restaurant was filled with chic and cute décor. The restaurant looked newly renovated with fun, mosaic tiled and bright orange walls mixed with dark woods reminiscent of a Greek isle. The lighting was bright yet created a cozy and intimate environment. We settled in a booth in the side room that was a stylish new interpretation of the traditional, cozy diner environment that I typically associate with Greek food.
Being Greek myself, I was very interested to see how authentic the menu was. I have grown up with the concept that feta cheese reigns supreme over all others, and I can always respect a menu with that in mind. It proved to have a range of Greek favorites including dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), pikilia hot and cold platters (hummus, tzatziki, skordalia with pita and fried zucchini) and gyro platters and pitas. We began with an assortment of appetizers ranging from spanakopita, to saganaki, to a hummus plate. The spanakopita, phyllo dough wrapped with spinach, leeks, feta and dill, was flaky, delicious and perfectly cooked. The spinach and feta combination was delectable at a measly 8 dollars. The saganaki, a traditional Greek pan-fried aged cheese, was flavorful with its crunchy exterior and gooey, salty center. I was very enthusiastic about this dish as it reminded me instantly of family outings as a child. The hummus platter was made all the better by the warm, fresh pita that it was served with. We finished the chickpea and garlic dip rapidly and moved on to our entrees.
We ordered both the chicken and gyro pitas and the chicken souvlaki platter. The gyro, “spit-roasted” carved lamb, was complemented with a yogurt tzatziki sauce and tomatoes and onions. The meat was wrapped in a warm fresh pita. The chicken souvlaki was made with the same yogurt and cucumber tzatziki sauce, making the chicken even more moist and appetizing. The chicken souvlaki platter had the same sauce although was served with a side Greek salad and a choice of French fries or lemon rice. The skewers of souvlaki chicken were hot, tangy and complemented the yogurt sauce very well. The menu also includes a wide range of meats from lamb, shrimp, chicken, pork, and cod, offering authentic, traditional Greek meals. These meals include moussaka, a potato and eggplant meat sauce casserole, lamb chops, a favorite of my fathers, and bakaliaro, a fried cod dish.
For those who are not as enthusiastic about Greek food as I, Cavos offers Italian samplings of calzones, grinders and pizzas with added Greek flare such as the Greek Isles Special, a pizza with shrimp, garlic, capers, onion and feta. The menu also gives a long, authentic wine list straight from Greece and offers traditional desserts such as baklava and galaktoburiko. Baklava, layered phyllo dough baked with honey and toasted almonds, is one of my favorites, yet I was too full from dinner to enjoy it!
The servers were kind and amiable with suggestions on meal selections. The cook also thanked us for our patronage upon exiting. The restaurant gave off a friendly atmosphere, making it seem as though you are dining with family. The meal left us with full bellies and full wallets as we got a lot of food for not very much money. I am excited to return and perhaps bring my Greek family along!