Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Best Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops for the Gods at EvviaOne of the meat dishes I really, really enjoy is lamb chops.  During my travels around the world, I have had a chance to sample this dish in its varying forms in several different places. While pork chops are a close second, nothing in my mind, beats a well crafted dish of lamb chops.  Incidentally, the idea of a chop apparently originated from British 17th century chophouses who began cooking individual portions of meat on the bone.  The Indian 'chaap', a lovely rendition of lamb chops in Indian spices slow-cooked on a tandoor grill, may owe its name to the British too.

Evvia in Palo Alto

I remember an elaborate version of lamb chops at the Le Cirque in Las Vegas. The espelette crusted Colorado Lamb Chops was accompanied with an Italian olive panisse and spring vegetables stuffed in tomato. I remember another version of fusion Indian lamb chops from Vineet Bhatia's Ziya in Mumbai. This one was a Smoked Tandoori Lamb Chop with a silken potato mash, lamb samosa, spiced lamb, mint jus and lemon grass foam.

Evvia at Palo Alto

I now think I have found the Holy Grail for all lamb chop lovers. This is version they serve at Evvia, Palo Alto's popular Greek restaurant.  This is their signature dish, so good that when they bring it out to your table, envious glances follow the stack of exquisitely cooked chops as they make their way from the kitchen to to my table. "Don't take your eyes off them," winked the lady from the next table, "they look good enough to steal".

Prawns at Evvia in Palo Alto

For starters, I had ordered the Gaides Tou Fournou, oven baked prawns in a tomato and feta sauce. This one was one of the few starters that didn't completely impress me; however, in other visits I have loved the grilled octopus, which is fantastic with its simple lemon, oregano and olive oil dressing.

Mesquite Grilled Lamb Chops at Evvia in Palo Alto

The lamb chops come in a large portion of four chops, but they will make it smaller if you ask.  This dish, called Arnisia Paidakia, is mesquite grilled to perfection with olive oil and lemon roasted potatoes and never ceases to delight me.  The tastes, textures and flavor can easily turn a bad day into a great one by the time I am done!

Phyllo wrapped deliciousness at Evvia in Palo Alto

The perfect ending to this wonderful dinner is when you select the Galactoboureko, a fairytale dessert of phyllo wrapped vanilla bean semolina custard with a scoop of pistachio ice-cream.  And do remember to follow with a cup of sweetened stone-ground Greek coffee.

Evvia is always busy, right from the time it opens at 5:30 pm.  However, if you don't have a reservation, you can always wait for a space to free up at the bar. This is also a great place to people-watch a microcosm of Silicon Valley that powers much of the innovation in the tech world right from your dining table.  If you can keep your eyes off the delicious food on your plate, that is!


Paige Douglas said...

Dear Shantanu,

I am writing on behalf of Eulogy! India for one of our clients, a luxury liquor brand, we would just be interested to know whether you are based in Bangalore or not?

Kind Regards,

Paige Douglas

Shantanu said...

@Paige: No, I am based in Pune, not Bangalore.