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Taverna Kefi, Wheaton - Closed.

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According to the Gazette the former owner of Barnaby's recently opened this place. Not quite sure I'd classify it as "formal dining" based on the description, but if comparing to Barnaby's, yeah, I guess I'd say it sounds much more formal than that. I'm sure it'll be on my family's rotation, so I'll post when we get a chance to go out for our next celebration. (Currently Cristinas and Ferdinands are the top choices for family get-togethers :lol: )

The former owner of Barnaby's Restaurant and Sports Pub in Wheaton opened a new restaurant in town last week, one with a much different atmosphere than his former establishment.

Leo Mathios' new restaurant, Taverna Kefi, embraces the owner's Greek heritage, with ethnic cuisine and family-friendly formal dining. The restaurant is located at 11301 Fern St. in Wheaton, the former site of the Sir Walter Raleigh Inn, a longtime mainstay of Wheaton.

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I work down the street from Taverna Kefi and I tried it last night. I went with a few coworkers and we split just a couple of the appetizers because it was recommended to us order entrees too. We had a tsatsiki and we agreed that it was the best we've had! Not too garlicky but still quite flavorful. We also got the Greek chicken wings as were curious and they were really good! Just the right amounts of thyme and lemon. So good! For entrees, we all ordered something different. I ordered the lamb shank (can't pronounce what it was called on the menu!) and it melted off the bone! Amazing. Someone else ordered the moussaka and they were very pleased. I don't like eggplant so I didn't try it. The others ordered the lamb chops and the stuffed cabbage. Everyone raved about their food experience and we're all planning on going back. And the place looks great too! You can tell the owners put a lot of effort into giving it a rustic feel. The only thing that it's missing right now are bar stools. I spoke to the owner and he said they haven't arrived yet but he's hoping they'll be here next month. There is plenty of seating, nonetheless. Plus…the owner gave us a tour and they have a really nice banquet room in the back. We're even thinking of having our holiday party there.

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My wife, son, and I went there last night. We were favorable impressed. We started with appetizers, Imam Baildi (baked and sauteed baby eggblant stuffed with garlic, onions, pine nuts and tomatos) for my wife. She thought it was very good, with whole cloves of mild and flavorful garlic in it. My son had the Horta (seamed dandelion greens with fried onions, lemon and olive oil.) It was also good, not too bitter and not over dressed with olive oil. I had the Htapodi Xidato (poached octopus marinated in vinegar, olive oio, capers, red and green onion, and green olives) I wasn't sure how poached octopus would be, but I love it grilled so I thought I'd try it. My son and I both agreed it was excellent, well seasoned and not overly chewy. (My wife wouldn't even try it, but she did like the the bite of the olive, caper, etc. mixture I gave her without the octopus)

For entrees my wife had the salmon that was the catch of the day. Very moist, mildly flavored, and served with mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked whole baby green beans. I ordered the gyro platter. The meat was excellent, not overcooked and dry, but rather well spiced and very moist. A huge mound of it was served on top a very good pita with diced tomatoes, red onions and feta. (No lettuce) It came with suprisingly good french fries. My son had the Yaprakia (braised lamb shank) It was huge, very tender, and served with orzo in a light tomato sauce. He really enjoyed it, especially when he figured out how to get to the marrow in the bone.

Dessert was Kataifi Akmek for my wife and son, espresso for me.

They also have a fairly large wine list of Greek wines, some of which are offered by the glass. I'm not an expert on Greek wine, but what few American wines there were on the list were inexpensive and very ordinary.

All in all, we found it to be a very good meal and will definitely return. Service was friendly, efficient, and non rushed. The restaurant is large, allowing for plenty of space between tables.

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There used to be a Greek restaurant that my wife and I enjoyed in this same location a few years ago. Or am I wrong?

There have been many restaurants in that location over the years, but I seem to remember that one of them was Greek. This place has been open for only 3 weeks. Right now they are only open for dinner, but they said they will be opening for lunch soon.

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There have been many restaurants in that location over the years, but I seem to remember that one of them was Greek. This place has been open for only 3 weeks. Right now they are only open for dinner, but they said they will be opening for lunch soon.

Tried it today for lunch. I had a new waitress on her first day, and she got one of my dishes wrong and was just so devastated by her mistake. At least 5 apologies. I kept on telling her it was no big deal because it wasn't! She was so sweet about it, I hope she doesn't quit over it! All in all I will be back. Very nice addition to Wheaton.

The sublime:

Taramosalata was perfection. I myself would have put in a little more tarama but the texture was light, fluffy and smooth. Three balls of tarama made for a large serving but I finished all of it.

The very good:

The Greek sausage on a bed of lentils. The lentils were flavored with dill and lemon and perfectly cooked. The star of the dish. The sausage was split in two and grilled, not as juicy as some I have had but quite good. I wound up eating the two components separately and so got two dishes in one.

The Pita was warm from the grill and quite good.

The bad:

Horitaki salad made with what tasted like store bought tomatoes. Hard crunchy red things with no flavor. The regular bread tasted like it was bought from the same supermarket. So the answer is to not order anything with fresh tomatoes and only eat the pita.

The in-between:

The wine was served too cold in a too small glass. Next time I will ask for an empty larger glass and just pour my wine in there. It was an OK Moschofilero from a winery I neither recognized nor remembered the name of. Curse you Montgomery alcohol board! They are not taking a big markup on their wines and because of the county's finger in the pie (or more appropriately wine thief in the barrel), it was $7 a glass. Lunch was a not cheap, not expensive $27. If only the tomatoes had been ripe!

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