When you drive up to Kristos Amerigreek in Madison, don’t be misled by the Victorian-style building complete with gingerbread trim and a wide front porch. This isn’t your grandmother’s tearoom. The food is exactly what you would expect from a bustling Greek restaurant offering a celebration of the palate with a charming combination of Greek and, as the name suggests, American cuisine.
And by the way, don’t worry if you haven’t mastered the pronunciation of words on the menu like tzatziki and gyro. Just remember these two words: “Meatballs, please.” I promise, you won’t regret it.
In my opinion, the measure of a good Greek restaurant is the freshness of the offerings and the balance of seasonings in dishes that recapture the best of a cuisine known for hearty, flavorful dishes. Kristos offers all that and more, along with a varied menu that contains traditional Greek items along with American specialties with a Greek touch, including the famed meatballs.
To get your Greek food odyssey going, start with the appetizers. As you can tell, I’m going to first recommend a serving of Greek meatballs ($7), billed as “Kristos famous.”
Each meatball is hand-rolled and packed with flavorful meat and spices, then cooked to a crispy perfection. Enhanced even further with a side of feta sauce, they’re a can’t-miss appetizer. I’m getting hungry now just envisioning a plate of them.
Other appetizers include homemade hummus ($7), falafel ($6), loaded fries ($8), feta cheese plate ($7), dolmas ($6), and Greek quesadilla ($9), to name a few. To get a taste of your favorites, try to Greek sampler ($13). It comes loaded with dolmas, hummus, pita bread, and yes, Greek meatballs.
Salads start at $5 for the house version and extend to $10 for the gyro; $12 for a cranchicken salad and $13 and $18 respectively for shrimp and redfish salads.
When I’m watching my weight but craving a Greek meatball, I order Kristo’s salad ($11). My favorite Greek meatballs are served on lettuce, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, purple onions, and topped with feta cheese. Topped with Kristos’ creamy feta cheese, Greek or raspberry vinaigrette or other homemade variety, Kristos’ salads are a complete meal that are sure to satisfy.
Pita is a word that’s often associated with Greek food, which may explain its prevalence on the Kristos menu. A long list of pita wraps filled with everything from Philly cheese ($7.50) to chicken, roast beef, ham and cheese, or turkey (also $7.50 each) are tender, delicious, and topped with homemade dressing or sauce.
Favorites include the traditional gyro ($7.50) filled with thinly sliced lamb and beef and topped with lettuce, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Another good bet is The Kristos ($7.50), composed of the restaurant’s famous meatballs and topped with lettuce, onion, and feta cheese sauce.
An extra $3 to $5 buys a side of Kristos curly fries, sweet potato fries, potato salad, or house salad.
If you’re in the mood for a juicy burger or sandwich, you’re in the right place. You can’t go wrong with the Kristos burger ($11). The house burger is loaded with melted mozzarella cheese and feta cheese sauce and dressed with lettuce, tomato, and red onion. All of the burger and po’boys come with a side of curly fries.
Other items from which to choose are the bacon cheeseburger ($11), shrimp or catfish po’boy ($12 each), and if you’re really hungry, The Big Joe ($11). It’s filled with a double portion of roast beef, sautéed onions, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, horseradish sauce, and dipped in au jus.
Entrees include catfish tacos ($10), catfish basket ($11), and pan-grilled redfish seasoned with Greek seasonings and served with a house salad and fresh asparagus ($18).
Kristos is open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The restaurant is located at 971 Madison Avenue in Madison. Call 601.605.2266 for more information.