Who says dinner time has to be just about the dishes? A visit to Tasso’s Greek Restaurant at 8411 Wornall Road, in Kansas City, offers a meal and more. We stopped in on a Friday evening to check out their menu. Our goal was to try our hand at testing a variety of their flavors. While we both love gyros, neither of us have a good in-depth grasp of Greek cuisine. We always get a little giddy when thinking about getting a chance to savor some new tastes. The restaurant makes a noticeable impression from the street, so we had no trouble finding it.
Once we stepped inside, I knew we were in for a little bit of a challenge. The interior lighting is heavy on blues, which can make photography a little difficult. On this particular evening I had only brought along our point-and-shoot Nikon camera. While we have a few photography options, this is the camera that I am least familiar with, so I was wanting to get more practice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have nearly as much lighting range as our Canon DSLR, but we have learned to make the most with what we have on hand. The restaurant has ample seating areas that all afford a good view of the main dance floor. They host lots of special events parties, so they can throw together multiple tables to handle a crowd. On our visit there was a large party celebrating a birthday.
Sampling The Sauce
Our visit was around 6:00, so well before the real party started. The server happily walked us through the menu options, and was helpful in suggesting a way to get a good cross section of the flavors. We started by ordering the Taste of Greece appetizer and a couple of shots of Ouzo. The platter has four flavors of dips that are accompanied by their fresh pita bread. Humos, tzatziki, skordalia, and a spicy feta dip are served in a beautiful presentation. We sampled these as we continued looking over the menu. The ouzo is a traditional Greek aperitif that many have seen referenced in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It has a distinctive black licorice flavor with undertones of fennel and cloves. It can be overpowering, but at Tasso’s they will add it to their homemade lemonade for a delicious spritzer.
Before our visit I had reached out to some of our connections at the Kansas City Eats Facebook group. They have been very supportive of us and are always ready and willing to throw out some suggestions for local places we can feature on our website. When we visited Des Moines, we had the chance to dine at Olympic Flame, which is a downtown Greek restaurant. (You can read about that visit here.) Some of the Kansas City Eats members immediately recognized it and offered a Kansas City version that paralleled that destination. Live entertainment is certainly an added bonus, which Tasso’s offers plenty of. About the time our first plate had arrived, Bill Gladden was beginning his evening set. This local musician has been entertaining the crowds at Tasso’s for over 25 years, so he is an expert of getting everyone into a good mood.
Our Main Course
The start of the music drew our attention away from the menus, but soon we realized that we needed to determine our main course. The dips had buffered our appetites quite a bit, but we knew that we should sample more of the restaurant’s flavors. We decided to stick with the appetizer section of the menu and selected Pikilia. This mixed plate comes as a two person or four person serving size. We opted for the two, since we were sure we would be full at the end. A heaping serving of gyro meat is the main portion of the meal and comes with more pita bread. This is accompanied by Tiropita, which is a phyllo pastry filled with an egg and cheese mixture. There is also a serving of Spanakopita, which is a spinach and cheese version. These dainty looking delights were actually very savory.
Break Dancing Greek Style
The manager, John Kalliris, would periodically step out onto the dance floor located in front of the band. A large stack of plates are situated nearby with the purpose of being broken in celebration. Even though it was early in the evening, we would see diners come forward to try their hand at this tradition. John would be handy to offer tips to the newbies and soon the floor would be littered with the remnants of the impromptu celebrations. Afterwards, a staff member would make a quick sweep of the space and it would be ready for the next outbreak. This unique entertainment certainly was something new for us. Just as the time came for us to leave a belly dancer began preparing to continue the evening entertainment. While we were unable to catch her show, it gives us another good reason to plan a return visit. That and sampling more of the menu and Ouzo. Opa!