While my Favorite Daughter was here visiting, one of her requests was having dinner in Greektown. It surprised me that she wanted to eat there, but it was alright, as we scheduled dinner after our trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Now I have been going to Greektown since I was a kid, and I have watched it go from one city block of pure “Greek” to a homogenized American Greektown. I have written four other articles about Greektown, including at least one memorable moment from the old days that you can look up by typing in Greektown in the “search” box. It is much more of a maze to get there, since the old days with all of the one way streets, and I think the last time I was in Greektown was because it was around the corner from the time I had the honor of doing my civic duty of jury duty.
It was decided that we would all meet at Santorini Estiatorio or as it is more commonly called Santorini’s. Our one son that lives in the area and his wife came down to join all of us, so we were able to take almost a total group picture of all the grandchildren, suffice it to say that we had quite a large table, in fact we even had to request that they add one more table to the lineup, as we did need some more breathing room. In the old days, people used to laugh and suggest that there was only one central kitchen that was located under Monroe Street that fed all the diners at all the different Greek restaurants that used to line Greektown, as it seemed that they all had the same menu. While I know that it was an urban legend, it used to amuse people when it was mentioned. There was plenty of food being ordered, and the grandchildren I think were entertained by the sudden extreme heat and the flash of fire, when the flaming cheese appetizers were being served, not only at our table, but at most of the other tables along with the customary cry of “opa.” There were quite a few Greek dinners being ordered, even by the children, which were good to see, that they willing to try something different.
I looked at the wine carte for a choice, and I was hoping to find something new and interesting, instead of the old standby wines of Greektown from years ago, and I was not disappointed. Since it had been a hot day, I was looking for a chilled white wine and I ordered a bottle of Boutari Kretikos Vilana 2013. Since it was all Greek to me, I shall try to explain the wine. Boutari is the name of the winery, and Kretikos is the name of the wine, as well as proclaiming that it is a Cretan wine, or a wine from the island of Crete. Vilana is the name of the varietal and it was 95% of the grapes used in this wine. Vilana is the work-horse grape used in white wine making on the island of Crete, and earlier in the last century it had almost become extinct and then was rediscovered. The other five percent of the wine was a probable mix of Thrapsathiri (also known as Athiri) one of Greece’s most widely planted grapes, Plyto (also known as Pluto) another varietal that almost disappeared as well, and Dafni (almost certainly related to the Portuguese varietal Loureiro as both mean Laurel). While this wine was certainly an enjoyable dry crisp wine, it is made for quick consumption and not for aging, as it is fermented for fifteen to twenty days and then has a quick two to three month trip to stainless steel tanks before bottling. I was pleasantly surprised at the wine and at the restaurant, and decided that perhaps there is still hope for some Greek cuisine in Greektown.