As chef at ‘El Griego Loco’ (The Crazy Greek) Thomas Economou puts it: “We eat as though we are going to die tomorrow, we build houses as though we are going to live forever.” Economou was raised in Cyprus and moved to the US in his teenage years to attend college, staying on to work and nurture his culinary skills in Greek restaurant ‘The Olympia Kebab House’ for 14 years.
He and his wife moved to Argentina two years ago and, after receiving continual praise from friends and family over his kitchen talents, Economou had an idea to open his own kitchen, and let other people in on authentic homemade Greek food. “I love cooking,” he says. “I try to incorporate new things, but staying good and faithful [to traditions] too”.
Greek food is somewhat rare in Buenos Aires, making this new closed-door restaurant both refreshing and delicious. Guests can receive a little bit of insight into greek culture – food being at the epicenter of any family reunion – and enjoy a combination of authentic dishes, with a selection of wines rarely seen in any high street restaurant chain.
Economou uses a space known by wine enthusiasts to host his sought-after dinner parties one to two times a week. He adds a bit of rustic flare and greek flavour-nothing overwhelming- to the sleek modern room where a centre table is set beautifully; greek music plays in the background and a sole painting of grapes sits near the head of the table.
We are all greeted as we come in, with host Lauren chatting to us and making sure we were never out of houmous or tzatsiki – a personal favourite of the chef – with our pitta bread. Needless to say all, everything was homemade.
Through the sliding doors stands the traditional parrilla-a must have on any terrace in Buenos Aires- where Economou has been standing devotedly slow-cooking an entire lamb for 3 hours. We then meet sous-chef Gigi in the kitchen, cutting, stirring, perfecting a variety of dishes all at once.
The wine list spoke for itself, each glass accompanying each dish allowing the evening to flow ever so harmoniously. After having devoured the appetisers with a Mairena Malbec, and having witnessed the delight of Economou’s “flaming cheese” act, the main course of “grilled lamb with lemon roasted potatoes and spinach pitta with a village-style Greek salad” was accompanied by a San Gimignano Cabernet Sauvignon. Then came the desert: few words can describe the feeling of warm custard phyllo pie-“Galatoboureko”- as it hit my tongue and I slowly melted into my seat.
Able to feed between 20-24 people, word of mouth is key to enter this closed door restaurant- adding a certain mystic about the address being given out the day of the event. I highly recommend any food enthusiasts interested in exploring the rich culinary traditions of Greece to sample dishes here, which, whether simple or elaborate, were always impeccable. Coupled with the great atmosphere and people, it made for an extremely pleasant evening- a unique experience not to be missed. Make your reservation fast!
El Griego Loco, somewhere in Palermo (address disclosed upon reservation), to reserve e-mail email@example.com or call 11-3691-5733. Fixed price of $300 per head.