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updated: 9/28/2016 12:37 PM

Daughter spruces up Schaumburg's new Kouzina while keeping familiar Greek menu

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  • Owner Heide Revelis serves a familiar menu of classic Greek and Greek-American dishes at Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.

      Owner Heide Revelis serves a familiar menu of classic Greek and Greek-American dishes at Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Start with an appetizer like galaktoboureko, or grilled octopus served with a balsamic herb vinaigrette, at Schaumburg's Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar.

      Start with an appetizer like galaktoboureko, or grilled octopus served with a balsamic herb vinaigrette, at Schaumburg's Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • For a light starter, try the Greek cheese and Kalamata olive platter at Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.

      For a light starter, try the Greek cheese and Kalamata olive platter at Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Oven-roasted potatoes top the Colorado lamb paidakia (braised lamb loins) bathed in latholemono sauce at Schaumburg's Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar.

      Oven-roasted potatoes top the Colorado lamb paidakia (braised lamb loins) bathed in latholemono sauce at Schaumburg's Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Grilled salmon can be added to the Greek salad at Schaumburg's Kouzina Greek Kitchen.

      Grilled salmon can be added to the Greek salad at Schaumburg's Kouzina Greek Kitchen.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Owner Heide Revelis updated Greek Village Taverna's former dining room before opening Kouzina's Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.

      Owner Heide Revelis updated Greek Village Taverna's former dining room before opening Kouzina's Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • The bar area at Kouzina has been expanded.

      The bar area at Kouzina has been expanded.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By Thomas Witom
Daily Herald Correspondent

For nearly four decades, restaurateur Nick Revelis operated Greek Village Taverna at the southwest corner of Golf and Plum Grove roads in Schaumburg. Its closure last November created a void in the town's dining-out scene that caught many fans by surprise.

As it turns out, the Revelis family retained control of the property with Nick's daughter Heide Revelis assuming ownership of the newly christened Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar. Diners will be happy to find a familiar menu of classic Greek and Greek-American dishes.

With its Greek courtyard setting, Kouzina, which opened in mid-July with a spruced-up interior, provides an inviting space for diners, from families with children to business travelers to couples enjoying a night out. A few booths, added as part of the renovation, were in demand the night of our visit.

The spacious venue has a capacity of 225, which includes seating in two private-party rooms and at a large expanded bar, where diners will find specialty cocktails, craft beers and a modest, but more than adequate, selection of wines by the glass or the bottle, including many Greek imports.

Happy hour, featuring half-price appetizers, runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and applies to dine-in service at the bar. After 5 p.m. Wednesday, wine by the bottle is discounted 50 percent.

On to our meal: Traditional hot and cold appetizers abound including grilled octopus, spanakopita (spinach pie), souvlakia (skewered pork or chicken), hummus and skordalia (a whipped potato-garlic spread). Avgolemono soup (egg lemon cream soup with chicken and rice), saganaki (imported Greek cheese fired with Brandy) and a few Greek salads also grace the menu.

Taramosalata -- salted and cured fish roe mixed with olive oil, lemon juice and mashed potatoes -- is one of many starters at Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg.
  Taramosalata -- salted and cured fish roe mixed with olive oil, lemon juice and mashed potatoes -- is one of many starters at Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar in Schaumburg. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Dinner started with a shared order of taramosalata -- salted and cured fish roe mixed with olive oil, lemon juice and mashed potatoes. Its uncharacteristic bright pink color raised questions about how much actual roe went into the creation of this spread. Diners also should be aware that there's a $1 tariff per grilled pita.

But the red-sauce braised lamb shank entree -- one of a handful of preparations from chops to kebabs -- didn't disappoint. The flavorful meat really did fall off the bone, and the portion was so ample that we took home half of it for lunch the following day. The lamb was plated with thick wedges of lemony potatoes (rice pilaf was offered as an alternative) and a side of roasted vegetables.

Kouzina's tender kokkinsto, or braised Colorado lamb shank, fell off the bone easily, according to our reviewer.
  Kouzina's tender kokkinsto, or braised Colorado lamb shank, fell off the bone easily, according to our reviewer. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

A dining companion remarked favorably on the special of the day: baked salmon topped with spinach, feta and onion and wrapped in phyllo. But she offered a word of caution to anyone ordering this dish: Be alert for bones.

Athenian chicken, a gyros plate, fresh cod bacalao, pastitsio (bucatini pasta layered with seasoned ground beef and lamb and baked in a creamy bechamel sauce), moussaka (ground beef and lamb with roasted eggplant and potatoes in a creamy bechamel sauce) and dolmades (ground beef and lamb wrapped in grape vine leaves) were among the other main-course options. Those will have to wait for another visit.

End your meal on a sweet note with Kouzina's baklava.
  End your meal on a sweet note with Kouzina's baklava. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

For dessert, Kouzina offers baklava and other traditional Greek treats. Especially noteworthy, and sizable enough to share, is the galaktoboureko: a semolina custard layered on top and underneath with phyllo pastry and coated in a honey syrup.

Another plus was that service during our visit -- congenial and attentive -- didn't miss a beat.

Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

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