I’ve often fantasized about what it would be like to live in a little European city. I’d wake up from my mid-day nap, hide my bed-head with my beret, pick out my least-wrinkled black-and-white striped shirt, and hit the shops. I’d go to the bakery for fresh bread, swing by the cheese shop for a little bit of the stinky stuff, make a stop at the butcher’s for some protein, and spend the rest of my life cooking and learning the accordion. While I might never follow through with that fantasy (there never seems to be a job in my daydream), there are a couple of places around town that kind of give off the Euro-market-bistro vibe, places where I put on my mental beret each time I enter.
You could walk into the comfortably small dining room of George’s Imported Foods (4424 White Settlement Rd.), close your eyes, and easily convince yourself that you’re lunching in a small Greek city. The tiny, off-the-beaten-path imported-foods market and bistro reopened its hallowed doors last December. The place has the same ragtag charisma and homey charm that it’s always had. There’s a pastry case in the center of the room full of baklava, cheesecake, and other tasty pastries, imported all the way from the Artisan Baking Co. a couple of blocks away (4900 White Settlement Rd.). The walls are lined with shelves stocked with imported oils, spreads, olives, and more. The only real change in décor is a mural that primed my palate for some classic Greek fare — George’s menu offers plenty of the classics and a few traditional deli options.
There aren’t many places in town that serve great dolmas, so I had to order a couple ($1.90 each) of the tender little morsels. They’re served warm with a beautifully garlicky tzatziki sauce, green olives, a slice of lemon, and red bell pepper chunks on top. The grape leaves are stuffed with a flavorful mixture of ground beef, rice, and parsley, but it was the tzatziki sauce that elevated the dish to something downright decadent. Just as successful was the spanakopita ($3.49), lush with spinach, strong feta cheese, and parsley, stuffed in a buttery, elegant phyllo dough.