Dorio on NW 23rd
My friend Daniela invited me to try Dorio with her recently and specifically suggested that I bring my camera along in order to write a little review. I can’t call myself an expert in Greek Cuisine, although I’ll try practically anything once. While it’s no secret I’m hooked on fried calamari, my everyday food tastes aren’t tending to the exotic. Perhaps Greek food doesn’t fall into the category of highly exotic to most people, but to me it is. My experiences with Greek food in Portland have been limited to places featuring belly dancers and ouzo shots during my college days, or outdoors during the Greek Festival.
Taki is the owner of Dorio and one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. Despite being extremely busy preparing for the night and coordinating his plans for the following New Year’s Eve event he was hosting, he stopped by frequently to chat and say hello and make sure we were enjoying ourselves. The bartender even made us a special coffee drink concoction, something similar to a Bailey’s but much better. Taki’s mother Mary stopped by later in the night, the originator of the delicious greek meatballs they serve and the maker of cookies that sometimes appear on the dessert menu, but that, alas, were not present that evening.
We began our exotic adventure with some tyropites – delicate, cheesy little triangles of filo pastry and an order of spanakopita – one of my other favorite and familiar Greek dishes, because I always feel so good that I’m eating my spinach!
I don’t find Greek food in general to be as spicy or laden with sauces or creams as the other foods I tend to like, so I’m not entirely certain how to gauge this. Even the spanakopita seemed to be almost a dessert because it was covered in the pastry dough. It’s just in it’s own unique category, not a salad, not a vegetable, not really a pastry. But very tasty and enjoyable, I compare it to an empanada. The tyropites reminded me a little bit of quesadillas, and I realize Mexican is not generally the standard by which to judge other foods, it’s just the closest comparison I can make, although I suspect somewhat healthier.
The salad was wonderful – Greek salad has to be one of my favorites. And it almost seems the salad has more intense flavor than the other Greek-style foods, which I find a little odd, but it’s a good balance.
They called it a horiatiki salata – romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta and olives … all simple ingredients but when put together just a perfect combo of crunchiness, mixed with the cucumber’s and tomatoes that seem to absorb the flavor of the seasonings.
Daniela recommended the keftethes – Greek spiced meatballs (they recommend an Ouzo accompaniment but we passed on that … if you try it that way you’ll have to let me know how it goes.)
These were pretty good, although it was a little different how they were served separately from a plate of pasta, I think that may be the first time I’ve had meatballs ala carte. They weren’t hot spicy, just flavorful and a nice addition to the other selections we sampled.
Our final dish was dessert, the baklava – we had to get two although we were so full by then we probably could have gotten away with sharing just one … this is definitely something you want to have with coffee, it’s not overly sweet, but just tends to be fairly dense. I appreciated that it wasn’t too sweet as I’ve had some store bought versions of this dessert that are somewhat overwhelming, and there definitely was a difference to this – more of a subtle taste.
If you enjoy Greek food in a sophisticated and cozy atmosphere, you’ll appreciate Dorio – the family-like environment and great food, plus reasonable prices are a definite hit!