Stella’s serves rustic and modern Greek cuisine. Stella was born in 1942 and emigrated to the U.S. as part of an arranged marriage. Her husband opened an American classic cafe in 1956 and she joined him working there in the 1960s bringing in Greek dishes. In 1983 she opened a restaurant bearing her name a few doors down. Expanding on its success she opened a second place in 1998 offering eclectic cuisine. The current location opened in 2011 and Stella still comes by and the kitchen prepares her old family recipes. The medium-sized place is on a corner and parking is on the street. Windows make up two walls and the large L-shaped bar is opposite, set with stools with backs. A large table is midway to the back and that and the bar are for walk-in seating. Otherwise, it is a bunch of small bare wood tables with some bench seating or larger tables for 4 with chairs. The ceiling is tin, Greek music is in the background and it’s very busy. However, the service didn’t rush you and was glad to bring things out individually so we could split them. The server warned us we ordered too much as the portions were large but agreed to give the kitchen our apologies that we were going to waste some food in order to be able to try lots. If you like Greek food try and get a reservation and otherwise get there early and snag an open seat.
While waiting to get started the server brought a bag of sliced bread and olive oil was on the table. It was fine fresh bread with lovely texture and flavor and their house olive oil was very nice.
Saganaki was flaming Kefalograviera cheese served with grilled pita. They light it in the kitchen and by the time it gets to your table the flames have about gone and you’re ready to dig into the melted cheese. A wedge of lemon comes with it which needs to be squeezed on the top as it sets off the flavor of the cheese nicely. It was well-crisped on the edge and gooey in the middle. Some pita wedges come with it. It was a great version and I saw many flaming plates come out that lunch.
The Village salad contained tomato, yellow pepper, onion, cucumber, Kalamata olives, olive oil croutons, feta and vinaigrette. The thick slices of feta were in 2 pieces, seasoned, and then laid on top of the salad. The fresh vegetables were tasty, even the tomatoes but our server said in the summer they are to die for. The yellow pepper was particularly tasty as was the cucumber. I imagine the croutons were made from the aforementioned bread and they were tasty and crunchy with a soft center. They soaked up the vinaigrette nicely with all the herbs and juices. It was wonderful.
Souvlaki was pork (or chicken) grilled with onions and peppers and served with fried potatoes. The well-seasoned pork was still slightly pink and moist. The onions and peppers were nicely grilled to tenderness. The tzatziki sauce was thicker than I’m used to but still had the traditional yogurt and cucumber flavor. It was good on the meat and the fries. The thick-cut fries were also seasoned and nice but not especially crispy.
Pastichio contained spiced aromatic ground beef and fat noodles, baked with bechamel and topped with grated cheese. This is comfort food if there ever was. The creamy custard filling mixed perfectly with the well-seasoned meat, showcasing the cinnamon flavor. It came out straight from the oven and so was quite hot but it was absolutely delicious.
Dessert choices were brought to the table on a small chalkboard. Galaktoboureko used to be a favorite so we jumped on that. It is made with crispy filo dough and semolina custard then drizzled with scented syrup and butter and is served warm. This one had great custard and sticky sweet syrup but the filo was not at all crisp. Not sure if it was drizzled too long before it came out. Flavor was still good but texture was off and the soft dough made it hard to cut with just a fork.