Go Greek tonight.
Pelekasis, the modern Greek concept from chef Brendan Pelley, is about to roll out the first dinner service of its six-month residency at the South End's Wink & Nod. Pelley, formerly of Zebra's Bistro and fresh off the last season of Hell's Kitchen, tapped his own Greek heritage — while adding some contemporary spins — when he launched Pelekasis as a pop-up toward the tail end of 2015. (You may know its previous appearances at Commonwealth or La Brasa.) The cocktail lounge Wink & Nod, meanwhile, has established a clever program of rotating semi-permanent culinary residencies. Tonight's launch of Pelekasis follows Akinto, a Southeast Asian outfit from chef Patrick Enage that will soon find a permanent home in a neighboring South End space.
Greek cuisine is definitely having a moment in Boston, and we still have Jody Adams' Saloniki and the South End's Kava Neo-Taverna to look forward to in months ahead. "I realized that my passion and soul truly shines through when cooking with Greek flavors," says Pelley, who was inspired by both childhood memories of his family's Greek cooking and more recent travels through the country. Rounding out his Pelekasis team is Andre Kraft, former chef de cuisine at Bronwyn, and pastry chef Kendall Vanderslice, who also moves over from Zebra's.
Check out the full menu, and some gorgeous Greek food porn, below.
Foie Gras Dolmades ($12). For this entry from the mezethes (small plates) corner of the menu, grape leaves are stuffed with foie gras, rice, pine nuts and golden raisins, seared in brown butter and garnished with a puree of golden raisins and toasted pine nuts.
Torched Scallop Krio ($12). This is a "Greek Play on Italian crudo," says Pelley. The scallop is only lightly blow-torched, then sliced and served on the half shell with Greek olive oil, lemon juice, grapefruit, radish, cilantro and a sweet-salty puree of caper and golden raisin.
Molten Kefalograveira Cheese ($9). Kefalograveira is a hard, salty sheep's milk cheese that is "similar to pecorino romano," says Pelley. It's baked with cream and served in a hot skillet with pickled cranberries, crushed Szechaun peppercorn and a splash of ouzo (an anise-flavored liqueur). Step one: dip in your fresh pita. Step two: devour.
Mountain Tea Smoked Lamb Tar Tare ($16). Moving up to the orektyka (or "medium"-sized plates), here's lamb loin cold smoked with mountain tea, a wild Greek herb. It's tossed with shallot, cornichon, caper, olive oil and dijon mustard, then topped with a raw quail egg yolk and grated black winter truffle. On the side: potato chips. Because yes.
One Hundred Layer Spanakopita ($12). "This is a version of my moms recipe, which was handed down to her from my papou," says Pelley. The pie is layers of spinach, feta, phyllo dough, leeks and scallion; it's cut, and each slab is seared in butter before serving. Oh, mother.
Roasted Beet Horiatiki ($12). Horiatiki is a "traditional Greek village salad that is typically made with cucumber and tomato," says Pelley. (Exhibit A: Michael Schlow's Village Salad at the just-debuted Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar.) Pelley stays in season, making a winter version with roasted beets, citrus, pickled onion, hazelnuts and feta. It's dressed with an oregano and red wine vinaigrette.
Wild Boar Keftedes ($13). Meatballs of spiced boar and soy are toasted with ground cumin and coriander, then plated with yogurt and a chili-spiked honey. Wildly tasty.