Daughter spruces up Schaumburg's new Kouzina while keeping familiar Greek menu
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kouzina Greek Kitchen & Bar795 E. Golf Road, Schaumburg, (847) 490-9424, kouzina.org/
Cuisine: Greek and Greek-American
Setting: Multilevel dining room designed to resemble a village courtyard
Prices: Appetizers: $6.25 to $9.50; entrees: $18.75 to $39
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
Also: Daily specials