In a word, Ethos Greek Bisto is Fantastikós. Fantastic.
In this city where there’s a Thai restaurant on every third corner, the opening of a Greek restaurant on Wilton Drive is cause for celebration. We’re not talking about breaking plates on the floor and holding hands dancing the Kalamatianós. We’re talking about a celebration of healthy food where the platters arriving from the kitchen are a mosaic of colors and aromas that looks as fresh and healthy as they are.
True to every Greek menu is an assortment of wonderful spreads, served with toasted pita bread. Our favorite is the Zesty Creamy Feta with the roasted red pepper. But then, Ethos serves some of the best Hummus around as well, albeit heavy on the garlic…but oh so delicious. $6.00 a plate and enough to share around the table.
For those who don’t know Greek Dakos, the version served at Ethos is as flavorful as any we’ve ever experienced in Crete from where this dish originates. It’s a Greek-style brochetta that uses a hardened bread called rusk which is topped with tomato puree and feta cheese, plus basil. Ask for some chopped olives to complete the taste and be sure to pass around. $9.
Speaking of sharing, the best way to get an instant sample of all the spreads as well as other popular dishes at Ethos is through its Taste of Ethos Silver or Gold assortment platters. In the Silver Sampler, enjoy the various spreads, a Greek salad (with vine ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, feta, kalamata olives, house greens, red wine vinegar & olive oil), stuffed grape leaves (a Greek classic with rice, herbs and lemon sauce), and the meat platter of gyro, grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, grilled kefte rice, and wedged potatoes. At $21 per person, (with a minimum of two persons), it is the bargain taste treat. The Gold Sampler adds two lamb chops to the mix for an extra $6.00.
For a slighter smaller dish in plate size if not quantity, try the Surf and Turf (pictured), two full-sized lamb chops with shrimp saganaki—a shrimp over rice dish named after the skillet in which it is cooked. Separating the portions is some lovely grilled eggplant. Magnificent. $26.
Every Greek restaurant has at least one version of Calamari, and at Ethos you’ve got your choice of two—Grilled (on a bed of sautéed red cabbage) for $11, and Fried (dusted with seasoned flour and served with red marinara sauce for $10. The Grilled Octopus at $14 is sashimi grade and charred to perfection.
The ambiance of Ethos is sophisticated stonework and well-polished wood with a long, packed bar on the south side of the restaurant and an exposed kitchen to the west. The skilled servers, including our own fresh-faced John, were school in the food and steeped in Greek history. From the look through the kitchen’s glassed front, it is a well-run place with a choreographed display of grilling, slicking and plating that needs only an orchestration to be its own show.
Unfortunately for Ethos, its major downfall is its very design. Planned throughout to allow intimate seating for two or four, and with gentle lighting that says romance in tones of orange and gold, Ethos drops the ball in its music level, which is so high that customers try to overcome the sound my speaking louder. The perfect setting for a lingering feast with a loved one, and the kind of fabulous food we would cherish to consume often is overwhelmed by a noise level that is disturbing in its intensity. A request to manager Jamie Logue to lower the music brought only a temporary respite, for all too soon, it was re-upped with the spirited and glamorous crowd right with it.
Plan to make a stop at Ethos Greek Bistro. Go early before the crowd gets too loud…and be sure to them that the Agenda sent you. Fantastikós. (2055 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 754-999-0034)