November 9, 2006


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The new classic
Giorgio’s offers meze, upscale Greek eats
By Susan Reilly

Two years in the making, the new Giorgio’s in Milford is all-around gorgeous, from the grounds outside to the interior to the menu that takes classical Greek and Mediterranean dishes and puts a modern spin on them.

“I am very, very happy with the new restaurant. It is everything I had hoped for,” said owner George Sklavounos.

Eleven years ago, Sklavounos opened the original Giorgio’s a couple of miles from the new location. Almost six years ago he opened a second location in Merrimack. Now that the new spacious location is open at the site of the former White Horse Tavern, the original Giorgio’s has closed.

In this new space on Nashua Street, walk through the front doors and a stone-cut waterfall greets you, filling the dining room with the soothing sounds of falling water.

Mahogany wood, granite, slate and charcoal grey upholstery give the room a sophisticated feel. Light fixtures made of Murano glass with organic shapes and earthy tones lend a bit of funkiness.

The dining room is on the right, and on the left, an expansive bar area. There is an extensive martini menu and the meze chef prepares small plates of tasty treats barside and becomes part of the show.

And speaking of meze, this is new to Giorgio’s. “Meze” is a term meaning small plates meant to be nibbled on while drinking, a bite or two to hold you over until your meal comes.

“Meze is perfect for small groups of people who meet for cocktails but don’t want to share one appetizer. With meze, you order four or five different ones and mix it up,” said manager Brendan Kelley.

Items on Giorgio’s meze menu are priced from $3 to $8 each and include twin bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp with a roasted red pepper and feta dipping sauce ($6), lamb souvlaki ($7) served with a balsamic black mission fig jam and roasted tomato gratin and a seafood martini ($7), which is shrimp, scallops and calamari in a lemon-cilantro vinaigrette.

If you’re sitting at the bar, order the saganaki, a large piece of pan-fried Greek Kefalograviera cheese that is flambéed with brandy on the barside grill and served over a slice of grilled bread.

The balance of the menu is extensive, but with flavors and prices for everyone, including a traditional Greek symposium meal ($34 per person).

The symposium menu is a chefs menu served family-style. Everyone at the table orders the symposium menu, then begins a stream of chef’s choice dishes, starting with meze, soup and a salad prepared tableside, before entrées served family style and an assortment of desserts.

On the other end of the spectrum, Giorgio’s popular grilled pizzas (available in a half as an appetizer) are available for lunch and dinner. The dough is fresh, as Sklavounos’s father Alex comes in every day to make it. For toppings, try the roasted mushroom blue ($9.99) which is a garlic and blue cheese crust topped with herb-roasted wild mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella or the shrimp and bacon fra diavolo ($10.99).

Salads at Giorgio’s are not a simple, side garden salad but a meal including the steak tip salad ($9.99) made of marinated steak tips, grilled portabello mushrooms crispy onions and crumbled blue cheese and the fried goat cheese, apple and candied pecan salad ($6.99).

Entrees range from the classics including parmagianas, marsalas, piccattas, alfredos and homemade lasagna to what the menu calls “chef’s creations.”

Here you will find Giorgio’s spin on moussaka ($15.99), the national dish of Greece, short ribs Klarinos ($16.99) which is braised ribs, wild mushrooms and carmelized onions wrapped in flaky pastry, a sausage stuffed calamari puttanesca ($16.50) and seafood stew ($18.99) made with shrimp, mussels, littleneck clams, scallops and swordfish.

“George really wanted a menu that had a lot of traditional Greek food, but with a modern twist. I think he achieved that,” Kelley said.

As for his favorite dish, Sklavounos says that he is very proud of the red wine braised lamb shank ($17.99). Slow cooked for   five hours it is served with a mushroom-parmesan risotto and crispy fried baby arugula and a lemon gremolata.

“I take great pride in the lamb shank. My chefs really know how to cook it right so that it falls of the bone,” he said.

Overall, Sklavounos takes pains to pay attention to details, and it shows in the menu and in the new space.

When asked if there was a third Giorgio’s in the works, Sklavounos laughed, saying that he would not answer that now because he is working on making this new one perfect. He then said to check back with him in a couple of years.

Giorgio’s Ristorante & Meze Bar
524 Nashua St., Milford, 673-3939,
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 11a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11a.m. to 9 p.m

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All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
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The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
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