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Vaso's Kitchen, Greek in Old Town Alexandria - Chef Vaso Volioti in the Former Dixie Pig Space on Powhatan Street


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I am sorry if this thread is elsewhere. We had dinner at Vaso's last night and I can't say enough good things. It is EXACTLY what a neighborhood restaurant should be.
Appetizer stand outs included the artichoke with garlic; spanakopita and a zesty feta spread. They could have done much better by the bread though.
Dinner show stoppers included a special of veal chop stuffed with ground veal, cheese and ham. Perfectly roasted. My uber fussy brother proclaimed it the best dish he has eaten in months. I had a wonderfully grilled whole branzino. But the heartwarmer was my Mom's dinner. Mom is a vegetarian. We asked Vaso (Vaso is the owner and chef and her kid runs the front of the house) to make a pasta dish for her. She sent out pasta with tons of veggies and a great tomato sauce. Mom was thrilled.

The service was warm and friendly.
Brava to Vaso for her lovely little place.

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We were going to do a birthday dinner there last night but they were closing at 6:00pm for Mother's Day.

 
I believe they are generally closed on Sundays, so it is likely they only opened for brunch/lunch on Mother's Day.

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Had dinner here last night. The patio was open but because of the weather, everyone was indoors. Even at 5:30, the restaurant was busy, and by 6:15 it was packed. Our table ordered the baked artichoke appetizer to split. Extremely large and very tender, although it was cooked in so much olive oil that the taste of the oil obscured most of the artichoke flavor. There was some stuffing in the artichoke as well but it was without any flavor apart from the oil. Four of us, and we didn't come close to finishing it. I took the leftovers home to rescue the artichoke bottom for a cold addition to a salad later on.

Two of the group ordered the eggplant parmigiana, one got the Greek-style shrimp & pasta, and I got the pork souvlaki. Everything tasted nice and fresh, the red sauce on the parmigiana was very good, but nothing was a particular standout overall. The friend who ordered the shrimp & pasta said she couldn't taste anything especially Greek about the dish, it tasted like a basic Italian red-sauce shrimp & pasta.. She said it was good, just too similar to an Italian flavor profile. The pork on my souvlaki would have benefitted from more seasoning during the roasting process, and I found the sandwich skimpy on the feta and tzatziki to my preference, or at least I would like have the feta in larger crumbles even if in the same amount overall, so that when eating it there would be definite pockets of feta flavor.

Price for 4 entrees, 1 app, 1 glass of wine with tax was $88, so very reasonable in cost. I ordered just the souvlaki sandwich, which is I think $7 less than the platter (comes with fries and a salad), so getting the platter would have bumped the bill to $95.

The service was excellent and the decor is warm and cozy. Note, though, if you haven't been before that it's a small place, and the booths and tables are all on the smaller side, and space between is fairly close as well. Beware of women with large purses coming thru! The restaurant also uses a lot of large, square plates, so the tabletop gets very crowded very quickly. We were at a booth, and with 4 dinner plates, a half-dozen glasses, a bread basket, a couple of bread plates, you had to hunt for the spot to put your glass back down without knocking into other things.

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Thanks to Mr. Rockwell, I took my date, an ER nurse who would be in scrubs for it, here for dinner on the patio. It was a huge hit and I owe him for it! (More so if we go out again, and more if she wants to ... uh, I'll stop there.)

What I immediately thought was funny was the environs. My favorite barbecue joint in Memphis is Rendezvous, which is run by a Greek family, while here I'm eating Greek in an old barbecue joint.

Starting from the beginning:

I had two glasses of the house red that started with a K. It was fine. She had a chardonnay and liked it.

We split the special of stuffed mushrooms. For around $10, you got 3 large (not portobello, but not tiny) mushrooms stuffed with crab meat. They were delicious, and I say that as someone who doesn't particularly care for mushrooms. She used the bread (it was meh) to dredge the rest of the oil, etc., out of the plate.

Two house salads, not bad at all, I'm just still a bit hesitant after some possibly salad-related food poisoning.

She got Vaso's Shrimp over pasta, and loved it. I tried it, and I thought it was quite delicious. The sauce was creamier than I expected and the pasta perfectly done. The shrimp were great.

I had the stuffed veal chop special which I knew would be expensive but whew ($30.95). It was FANTASTIC and I never got to my veggies. We had multiple people stop and comment on it.

The service was good, though it was confusing who our waitron actually was - they were training several new staff, but definitely took care of us.

Folks: go here. Try the food. Tell me what to get next time. There's so much that looks good here, and the staff was great. This is the kind of small business that DonRocks lionizes for good reason. We had a fantastic time on the patio, and if it leads to a second date or beyond, I'll have to blame/thank Don for suggesting here. She loved it, as did I.

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5 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Daily lunch specials are a treat - actually found myself in the area today and grabbed a late lunch.  Service is solid as is fresh food and tastes.  Noticed several Greek-speaking patrons at different tables, which makes me think they appeal to the discriminating countrymen as well.  

Speaking of which, I had dinner at Vaso's Kitchen last night - same as it always is, comfort food prepared simply and well (Avgolemono Soup and Crab-Stuffed Flounder in lemon-butter-caper sauce). They were getting the restaurant ready for Valentine's Day, and even on the day before, it was pretty-well full, and we were fortunate to get a table. 

Just look for the neon "Dixie Pig ...Q" sign (the "BAR-B-" (*) was burned out).

vaso-s-dixie-pig-bbq.jpg

(*) Is this the etymology of "Shrimp on the barbie" (an Australian colloquialism?) in those Outback Steakhouse ads?

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