Kibbee Nayee

Nostos, Excellent Greek in Tysons Corner, from the Owners of Mykonos Grill in Rockville

43 posts in this topic

I had lunch at Nostos today, and it shattered two notions that I thought were inviolable. The first one is that Tysons is where good restaurants go to die amidst the indifference of wall-to-wall chains. The second is that Greek food in the suburbs is unrefined and unsubtle -- Zaytinya, Komi and Kellari Taverna belong downtown, while the suburbs get the mom-n-pop family restaurants that dole out gut-bombs in family-friendly settings. I held these two beliefs firmly....until today....when I ate at Nostos....wow!

Nostos opened in May, in the former deli across from Morton's on 8100 Boone Blvd. in Tysons. It is nicely decorated in mostly grays and whites, with a beautiful stone wall along on one end of the dining room that has about 20 tables. There is another small section with about 7-8 tables for a more private setting, and a long bar area to the right of the entrance.

The food here is really very good. We began with fried disks of zucchini with a tzaziki sauce and roasted beets with a dab of goat cheese on each piece. They were each really good. Then came a seafood sampler of sardines, calamari, octopus and shrimp, and while it was all good, the octopus was outstanding. It was marinated and cold, but it was worth eating over and over again. The waiter told me the grilled version is even better, so that's on the list for the next visit. On to the meats, and first there was the grilled filet, then there was the Greek burgers with tzaziki sauce, and then there was the roast lamb....each morsel was perfection. I remember taking a bite of the filet and looking out the window across the street at Morton's, and thinking that nothing on the menu there compared to the flavor and texture of this little masterpiece. Desserts and coffee followed, and I believe the kataifi was one of the best sweet items I have tasted in a while. Many hours later, I'm still full and will probably skip dinner tonight.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the best Greek restaurant in the state of Virginia. But unless patronage increases, it is not likely to survive for long in Tysons. They will need about 80-100 covers a day, and lunch today looked to be about 20 or so. But this is the kind of restaurant Tysons needs, and I encourage everyone reading this to head over there and give it a try.

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Thanks for the timely post. I'm actually going to be in the Tysons Corner area tonight and was wondering where to eat. I may have to check this place out.

The second is that Greek food in the suburbs is unrefined and unsubtle

This notion would have been shattered earlier if you've ever been to the original Cava in Rockville.

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Kibbee, thank you for the rec on Nostos. Just returned from lunch, a lazy Thursday before the holiday weekend, and the room was packed. Service, ambiance and food were excellent! Whole grilled dorado perfectly done and expertly deboned, a mashed eggplant dip and the fava bean dip, Taverna salad with octupus and calamari, a terrific paper-thin zucchini fried and served with tzatziki. All in all, Nostos is a very nice new spot with a number of dishes to consider next time.

I've read gripes elsewhere about the sound level. Today's filled up small sized room indicate the gripes are correct. The acoustics are less of a concern for me but clearly a concern for those hard of hearing. I would imagine the problem is exacerbated at dinner when louder conversation drifts in from imbibers in the bar area.

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Kibbee, thank you for the rec on Nostos. Just returned from lunch, a lazy Thursday before the holiday weekend, and the room was packed. Service, ambiance and food were excellent! Whole grilled dorado perfectly done and expertly deboned, a mashed eggplant dip and the fava bean dip, Taverna salad with octupus and calamari, a terrific paper-thin zucchini fried and served with tzatziki. All in all, Nostos is a very nice new spot with a number of dishes to consider next time.

I've read gripes elsewhere about the sound level. Today's filled up small sized room indicate the gripes are correct. The acoustics are less of a concern for me but clearly a concern for those hard of hearing. I would imagine the problem is exacerbated at dinner when louder conversation drifts in from imbibers in the bar area.

We have reservations for next Thursday at 7:30. We hate noisy restaurants, but the grilled octopus may be worth the decibels.

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We have reservations for next Thursday at 7:30. We hate noisy restaurants, but the grilled octopus may be worth the decibels.

Ask to sit next to the windows if available. Noise level is greatly reduced compared to the other side of the room. The grilled octupus was highly touted by our server (who was spot on for each recommendation made at lunch).

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Ask to sit next to the windows if available. Noise level is greatly reduced compared to the other side of the room. The grilled octupus was highly touted by our server (who was spot on for each recommendation made at lunch).

Done. Thanks for the suggestion. We have a reservation for a birthday dinner on Saturday night. The people who answer the phone are awesome. Very friendly, very accommodating, very welcoming. We're looking forward to our meal and one of our party is extremely psyched about the sardine appetizer. Does any other place have whole sardines?

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Yeah, this has convinced me to make time for this place as well.

HORRIBLE location, though. =/

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Yeah, this has convinced me to make time for this place as well.

HORRIBLE location, though. =/

We kayaked to Nostos tonight for a fabulous dinner. We began with a combination dip of Tzatziki, Melitzanosalata, and Skordalia. They use pureed bread instaed of potatoes in the Skordalia, and it was creamy and garlicky. Per a few recommedations I had the grilled octopus which was succulent and very tender. A nice size portion too. The grilled salmon with spinach rice and fresh vegetables tasted really, well, fresh. We finished with melt-in-your-mouth baklava. This is a first class restaurant which is hard to find, especially on a rainy night. TS's review is slated to run in the 9/25 WP magazine. I'll be disappointed if he gives it less than 2 1/2 stars.

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Is this forum important? I don't know. But I am going to this place tomorrow based entirely on this thread. I needed a place in Tysons and didn't like anything my dining companions suggested. I thank you all in advance.

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Is this forum important? I don't know. But I am going to this place tomorrow based entirely on this thread. I needed a place in Tysons and didn't like anything my dining companions suggested. I thank you all in advance.

We'll be the 4-top eating near the window eating sardines and making too much noise. Reservations at 6:30. Agreed about the forum. I saw the restaurant weeks ago when I was in the area, but it wasn't open just yet and I had no plans to make a trip to eat here until reading great things about it. I thought, "Huh, a Greek restaurant. Interesting." and that's about it.

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TS has given Nostos a richly deserved 2 1/2 stars. We've been there twice and especialy enjoyed the grilled octopus, the grilled chicken and salmon entrees, and the sides of spinach/rice pilaf and roasted beets.

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A group of 6 of us were there last Saturday night. The room noise wasn't an issue, but we got a table by the window as suggested above. We started with a trio of dips and had the tzatziki, skordalia and the tyrokafteri. They were all fantastic, but the tzatziki and the skordali stand out in my mind. The tzatziki was thick, flavorful with nothing overpowering and the skordalia, which I've never had before, was sharp with raw garlic but well-balanced and delicious. I'd eat a pound of that, but not kiss my wife for a week, probably.

We had several bottle of a moderately priced Retsina. It was great and nothing like the turpentine-flavored white I'd been told to expect. I'd drink that in a non-Greek restaurant!

We shared an order of the grilled octopus (Htopodi) which I would have to say is life-changing. The texture was spot-on perfect and the grill flavor was just right, not overpowering. It's one of two dishes that were discussed several times over the next few days between the group of us. We also had a couple dishes of saganaki (flambeed cheese), which were delicious. We all enjoyed the presentation and I thought the lemon juice was a nice bright note as a counterpoint to the rich cheese and breading. We were disappointed the Fava Santorinis wasn't available the night we went. Our friends said it was a great dish they had while in Greece. We were also disappointed there were no sardines available the night we went. I understand, however a few of us were excited about trying them. Maybe next time, right?

Three of us got the sampler plate of 4 small entrees which consisted of arnaki fournou (boneless leg of lamb), dolma, spanakopita and mousaka. It was enjoyed by all, although there were no raves. The raves of the meal came from my buddy and me, who got the slow roasted lamb shank special over orso. Holy sh*t this is a good dish! Seriously, I'd eat that every frikikin' day. I don't know how often it's a special, but if it's on the menu when you go, get this dish! The spices were delightful and not overdone. The cinnamon was the standout spice, but I'm sure there were others I couldn't ID.

For dessert, we couldn't resist getting a few things so we had the Kantaifi Me Pagoto (shredded phyllo with walnuts, honey and ice cream) and one or two other dishes. Did I mention we had a few bottles of restina? If I remember correctly, the Kantaifi was the fave of the dessert group.

Thankfully, the teenager at the table drove home.

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I would say that this is a pretty spectacular restaurant. Not so spectacular that you have to drop everything that you are doing to go here. Hell, you don't even have to go here if you don't want to. I just find it spectacular because 1) the space is beautiful and completely unexpected, 2) the location is quite crappy and I can't imagine why they picked it, 3) the service was probably the best that I have received this year, and 4) the food blew away any other Greek food since I went to Kokkari.

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Cod fritters look like french fries after a good workout. Crisp and golden, the robust fish fingers come with a garlic paste potent enough to ward off half of the cast of "True Blood."

The "garlic paste" with the cod fritters is the same skordalia that is available as an appetizer dip, so be careful not to over-order it (it also comes with the fried calamari). I haven't been to Mykonos in what must be several years now, but at the time I remember thinking it was the best Greek restaurant in the area - I would now give that honor to Nostos. This is a great restaurant, with several good Greek whites (think: Kir-Yanni Roditis) in the $20s, and even a nice bar for the solo diner.

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tom comes down hard on le zinc:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/restaurants/le-zinc,1216058/critic-review.html

i have only eaten here once, a month or so ago, and didn't encounter these problems. i also didn't order what he compalins about. i started out with a salad special that was good, and if the ingredients were local I really didn't notice the difference. and then i had duck, but unfortunately don't remember much in detail. as for the roar of the dining room, it was early in the evening, before the rush. i haven't been back since, not because i was unhappy with the meal, but because it is on the expensive side, about as expensive as tabard inn, for example, where i had an even better time for about the same price, including lemon agnolotti that beat and were definitely more substantial than those earning all the praise at graffiato. for the value, i didn't see anything at zinc comparable to the three goat tacos at tabard inn that were almost substantial enough to make a meal of, for $10. off the top of my head, zinc costs as much as palena cafe, ripple and firefly, which i can't afford to get to nearly often enough as it is -- warts and all (there was definitely too much tapioca powder on the plates at ripple the last time i was there, for a rather self-conscious tomato festival that ended up doing a half-hearted job of celebrating the tomato on the plate. it was fine infused with bacon fat, but basil crumbs were not successful, clotting the flavor, and there was more of it, again i am short on details. i don't have a big problem with the serving portions on the regular menu, but since when does an amuse count as a course? i had two free ones in the back room at palena.)

my only complaint about zinc is that the menu felt a bit stiff, but the place is still young, so i would expect things to start loosening up.

After going to Nostos tonight, and witnessing it deteriorate from being a really, really good restaurant into a cesspool of mediocrity, I call into question the value of ANY review, by anyone, including me.

Nostos, Graffiato, and America Eats Tavern 2.5 stars, and Bistrot Le Zinc 1 star? Really? Really??

You know what? It's just not worth fighting for anymore. The idiots have won. It's a Rhombus of Idiocy: Supply, Demand, Publicity, and Critique. They're all in bed with each other, grabbing whatever they can, the room is pitch black, everyone is intertwined, and nobody has a clue as to what's going on.

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After going to Nostos tonight, and witnessing it deteriorate from being a really, really good restaurant into a cesspool of mediocrity, I call into question the value of ANY review, by anyone, including me.

Nostos, Graffiato, and America Eats Tavern 2.5 stars, and Bistrot Le Zinc 1 star? Really? Really??

You know what? It's just not worth fighting for anymore. The idiots have won. It's a Rhombus of Idiocy: Supply, Demand, Publicity, and Critique. They're all in bed with each other, grabbing whatever they can, the room is pitch black, everyone is intertwined, and nobody has a clue as to what's going on.

Say it ain't so, Joe! We're going back to Nostos for a third time next week, but for the first time since the 2 1/2 star review. Does everyting now suck?

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Say it ain't so, Joe! We're going back to Nostos for a third time next week, but for the first time since the 2 1/2 star review. Does everyting now suck?

Sigh. Never post something vacuous unless you're prepared to back it up with something substantive.

No, nothing sucked; everything was mediocre.

The last time I went (several weeks ago), every single dish was good, very good, or excellent. Going from memory here:

Appetizer Dips Skordalia, Tzatziki Thalassina Kalamarakia Tiganita me Skordalia, Bakaliarakia me Skordalia (note to self: "Seeing 'Skordalia' three times, means you're going to get Skordalia three times") Kreatika Dolmades Avgolemono (absolutely superb, and maybe the best dolmades I've ever eaten). Desserts Kantaifi me Pagoto. Something tells me I'm not remembering a dish, but we (Matt and I) were blown away by each and every thing we had, and walked out raving about Nostos.

Do not mistake a 14-year-old's palate for anything less than first-rate: there aren't 100 people in this entire city who have been to more area restaurants than he has in his life, and believe me, his is a discerning palate, and I venture to say that at this point, I learn something from him every single time we dine together.

---

Tonight, we got the last table in the bar, ran into a tennis buddy of mine having dinner, and got the following (this is being typed directly from the receipt; not from vague memory):

Vegeterian

Fava Santorinis ($6) - "grown on the volcanic island of santorini, fava beans are pureed and topped with olive oil and onions" - tasted like boring, pureed yellow lentils with diced, raw onion on top, boring and tasteless, Matt said, "this needs lemon and bacon," and he was right (but then I pointed out that it was a vegan dish, so no bacon allowed).

Cheese

Feta Epirou Psitii ($9.5) - "dodonis feta cheese tomatoes and hot peppers baked in a clay pan" - three tiny, thin, rectangles of feta, tasted very much like a bland version of the toppings on the Egyptian pizza during an off night at Astor Mediterranean.

Thalassina (seafood mezedes)

Htapodi ($14) - "grilled octopus" - three thick tentacles, grilled and served with arugula and lemon, not bad, and perhaps the best dish of the night (and should be at $14 for three cleaved tentacle sections)

Entrees

Traditional Sampler ($19) - arnaki fournou, dolma, spanakopita and mousaka - wow, the arnaki fournou tasted like 1/4 of an entree you'd get at Old Europe (yes, German), complete with eye-rolling brown gravy

Sides

Patates Fournou ($4) - oven brown baby potatoes - oven-brown, maybe, but really somewhat boring chunks of potato (and to their credit, tastily salted and oiled)

With Petra Kir-Yanni Roditis (same wine as last time, $29 a bottle), and a Diet Coke ($2.95) for my young dining companion, that was dinner, and $115 later, both of us thought that this restaurant was in total decline, with every single dish on our first visit being, at least, very good; and every single dish on this evening being, at best, mediocre - I'm not called back here in the least, and I think that's pretty sad considering the glories that I experienced on my first visit.

Boy, I was really trying to avoid writing detail tonight, but if you're going to "go negative," you have to back it up with some substance when called upon to do so - hopefully, here it is.

Cheers,

Rocks

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What a shame. A friend is coming into town tomorrow and she loves Greek food and we were going to go here. Now I guess I'll just buy some kalamata olives and shrimp and cook at home instead.

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I call into question the value of ANY review, by anyone, including me.

Say it ain't so, Joe! We're going back to Nostos for a third time next week, but for the first time since the 2 1/2 star review. Does everyting now suck?

What a shame. A friend is coming into town tomorrow and she loves Greek food and we were going to go here. Now I guess I'll just buy some kalamata olives and shrimp and cook at home instead.

It's important to remember what I say in my quote above: "ANY review, by anyone, including me." It's very possible that Nostos was in prime-time, Friday-night, patron-slammed, hunkered-down mode; maybe if you go during a less crowded time in two weeks (WaPo reviews can cause a short-term crowd crush), it will be better. You never know - maybe their chef de cuisine was on vacation or off for some other reason (and yes, this could easily cause an off-night aberration, even one this blatant - I suspect we'll know the answer within two months (and for a point of hope, don't forget this restaurant is run by Mykonos which was (and perhaps is) quite good)).

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It's important to remember what I say in my quote above: "ANY review, by anyone, including me." It's very possible that Nostos was in prime-time, Friday-night, patron-slammed, hunkered-down mode; maybe if you go during a less crowded time in two weeks (WaPo reviews can cause a short-term crowd crush), it will be better. You never know - maybe their chef de cuisine was on vacation or off for some other reason (and yes, this could easily cause an off-night aberration, even one this blatant - I suspect we'll know the answer within two months (and for a point of hope, don't forget this restaurant is run by Mykonos which was (and perhaps is) quite good)).

Well, in my case, my friend is coming to town tomorrow. I've already bought the olives.

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You know what? It's just not worth fighting for anymore. The idiots have won. It's a Rhombus of Idiocy: Supply, Demand, Publicity, and Critique. They're all in bed with each other, grabbing whatever they can, the room is pitch black, everyone is intertwined, and nobody has a clue as to what's going on.

Do you have anything to back this up with, or are you just venting over reviews you don't agree with?

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It's been about two and a half months since my first visit to Nostos, and I returned for lunch today. I can see some of the slippage noted in a few more recent posts....but not a whole lot.

Appetizers included the roasted beets topped with dots of feta cheese and the eggplant dip that approximated a good baba ghanouj. There was not a single flaw in either dish.

Main course was the special of Greek braised chicken, which was served with some of the braising sauce that had a hint of lemon and some vegetables. The chicken was a tad overdone and the rice was a tad undercooked, but the sauce brought things together into some harmony. It had all the creativity of a slow-cooker meal, so I wouldn't necessarily order it again. But I wouldn't toss it aside either.

The waiter brought us each a small dish of vanilla ice cream topped with macerated quinces, which was a nice complimentary touch.

OK, so I noticed a slight slip from the last visit, but not enough to avoid going here. It still ranks in the top five of Tysons restaurants (Shamshiry, Mischel, Equinox....?) and it still might be the best Greek restaurant in northern Virginia.

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Took my secretary to lunch at Nostos because she's fed up with working for another attorney (3 of us share 1 secretary) and she's decided to quit after New Years. The dining room is beautiful! I ordered the "best of": grilled octopus and lamb shank with orzo. The octopus was basically one long tentacle - it was really succulent, slightly charred, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. This dish convinced me that octopusses don't always die in vain. It's definitely one of the best grilled octopus evah. My secretary, who professes not to eat octopus tried it and liked it. The lamb shank was also very good - a massive hunk of meat cooked until the meat was falling off the bone. I will be back soon to use the Nostos certificate I bought that's expiring shortly. I had bought a $50 certificate that can only be used for dinner :(

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Had dinner at Nostos with the family on Saturday night. We thought we'd be dining alone with a 5 p.m. reservation, but the force of expiring coupons is strong as there were several other tables already seated when we got there at 5:05. We ordered (i) the Favas Santorinis - fava beans pureed and topped with olive oil and onions, served with warm pita, (ii) Kolokithakia - fried zucch slices with a yogurt dill sauce, (iii) Garides Saganaki - sauteed shrimp with feta cheese, tomatoes, and onions, (iv) Kalamarakia Tiganita Me Skordalia - pan fried calamari, (v) Bakalarakia Me Skordalia - fried cod bites, and (vi) a sampler plate of biftekakia, chicken skewers, and lamb chop.

The pace was fast - the fava bean puree came out seconds after we placed the order. We did not ask to speed things up but we were appreciative since the baby tends to eat early and can get cranky if there's no food to distract her from her growling tummy. Before we can finish the bean puree, the zucchini slices were out. Shortly thereafter, we got the shrimp and calamari, followed by the cod, and finally we got the sampler plate. Maybe they wanted us out of there ASAP because of a fully booked evening - but it worked for us because we wanted to eat and run.

A few things to point out - the zucchini was a little oily and not very crispy but the yogurt sauce was delicious. I wish we had kept the yogurt sauce for the calamari - which had very lightly seasoned batter and it came with cold garlic mashed potatoes (I believe it's called Skordalia). The cod (with lightly seasoned batter) was also served only with the Skordalia. I have nothing against cold garlicky potatoes - I just wish there's something else that I can dip my fried seafood in.

The meat sampler was terrific. My wife thought the lamb chop was slightly gamy - I thought it was perfectly cooked and I enjoyed the slight gaminess. There's nothing real exciting about the chicken skewer or the meatballs but they were well seasoned and tasty.

I had two glasses of prosecco and my wife had a glass of pinot grigio-like wine. After the $50 coupon, our tab was $38.33. I thought the price is very good for the quality and amount of food.

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