Authentic Greek cuisine is hard to find and rarely done right, but the folks down at Nostos on Boone Boulevard in Tysons Corner Virginia have managed to be accessible, authentic, and unforgettable. One charming detail that stands out is the fact that they begin every year by featuring a culinary talent from Greece. This year the regulars were stunned with the creations of Athinagoras Kostakos, the winner of Greek "Top Chef" in 2011, and now the host of his own cooking show, "Cook Smart". His specials were featured for only one week in January, and included a two day wine pairing event and Full Tasting menu. The rest of the year they offer the workings of their own chef Eugenia Markesini Hobson which is consistently delicious fare of unbeatable traditional dishes with slight twists. Everything on their menu is easily paired with wines from their list of fifty varieties, all sourced from various regions of Greece.
The name Nostos is the root of the word Nostalgia and means a return to ones origins and a longing for things past. They truly manage to do precisely this with such endearing details as their fish sourced directly from the Mediterranean sea including branzino, dorado, and sardines, and what would Greek food be without the crucial omnipresent ingredient of extra virgin greek olive oil. Such dishes as the Tzatziki yogurt sauce, the Spanakopita with its phyllo dough full of spinach feta and scallions, and the traditional mousaka with eggplant zucchini potatoes and ground beef topped off with bechamel, the list of delectable dishes continues with even more such irresistible choices as grilled octopus and lamb shank. Nostos menu undoubtedly brings the diner back to a time and place far from Tysons Corner on the distant shores of the Aegean Sea. This effect is heightened by the way that the grey on white color scheme hearkens back to visions of an old world fishing village. It all started in 2011 when the owners of Mykonos Grill in Rockville decided to expand their operation with a spin off location in the city of Tysons Corner. Mykonos Grill had been a successful venture for 13 years when owner Peter Pagonis decided it was time to launch this latest venture. Only 12 miles from Washington and located in an otherwise indistinct office building, the interior of Nostos offers a series of smaller rooms to enhance the experience of intimacy and partial privacy, and traditional decor that charms and disarms. If you're more in the mood for a lively gathering and don't wish to be cut off from the crowd, their bar area is known for its energetic welcoming ambiance. What carries this experience to its fullness is the way in which the management and staff recognize and greet their regulars.
The lunch crowd is endearingly made up of business men who tap away at their phones disinclined to look up so very much, and retired folks who seem to know their servers by name and their food as intimately as their own grand children. There's something infinitely comforting about the type of food in which you can taste the emotions of those who contributed to its creation. These people love and miss Greece, and their food acts as their photo album.