When you hear Greece, you probably think of whitewashed buildings stacked up the sides of a cliff, with shimmering turquoise water and white sand below. You also probably think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that movie about her crazy Greek family interfering with her wedding planning. But do you think of Tassos, a tiny Greek restaurant with big attitude located at 84th and Wornall?
Tassos was originally owned by Tasso and Katina Kalliris and now owned by their son John. It began in 1976 and has evolved into the present location filled with belly dancers, live music and lots of people. It’s open for lunch, but the last time I was there, it was very quiet and service was slow – even though we were the only people there. I recommend going for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night after 8 or 9pm: you get to interact with Zarina, the belly dancer. If you’re a guy, she’ll try to teach you to belly dance, and if you’re a girl, she’ll get you up to show off for your friends and family (never mind that you probably have never belly danced before).
Greek food is now seen all over the world and shares similarities with Italian, Turkish, Balkan and Levant cuisine. Greek food also influences many other cultural foods, since it spread via the Roman Empire to Continental Europe and beyond. Contemporary Greek food is influenced by Arabic, Turkish, Byzantine and Persian foods, and makes use of olive oil, vegetables, herbs, grains, wine, fish, olives, cheese and yogurt.
Begin your meal at Tassos with a small selection of appetizers. If you read reviews before you go, you’ll notice a common theme: the food is expensive. True, but keep in mind that you’re paying for dinner and a show. That said, if you are on a budget, maybe stick to a few appetizers and a drink or two. The portion sizes are generous and you’ll leave full anyway. Popular appetizers at Tassos are the Saganaki (flaming cheese), Dolomathes (grape leaes stuffed with rice and ground beef), and Spanikopita (filo dough with feta cheese and spinach).
If you opt for an entree as well, choose the Mousaka or a Gyro. Mousaka is a traditional dish with eggplant, ground beef, and cheese that’s baked. The Gyros at Tassos are popular because the meat is tender, juicy and seasoned to perfection. The kabobs are also fantastic – choose either the Souvlaki (though it’s not served the traditional way) or the Chicken kabob.
If you’re there on a busy night, chances are you’ll be taking shots of Ouzo and yelling “Opa!” every few minutes, but if that’s not your thing, just enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine with your meal. End your meal with a traditional Greek dessert: Baklava is by far the most traditional thing on their menu.
Be sure to enjoy a little belly dancing, a little plate breaking and a little Ouzo while you’re there!!