Best Greek restaurant (2000)

South Central II

Although the sign out front promises "Aegean Dining in the Venus Room," there's nothing about this dark, divey eatery that indicates the dining inside is going to be anything but mediocre. But get ready to take the plunge, because South Central II serves the best gyros, the best avgolemono soup, the best souvlaki and the best moussaka in town. Before you get to eat those treats, though, you'll have to make your way through the smoky bar, with its blaring TV and Bud-downing regulars, to the Venus Room, a dimly lit, foliage-filled space that holds about a half-dozen tables and about as many little Greek statues and tattered-edged posters of the Mediterranean. But one bite of the gyros, with its greasy juice and moist meat, and those sides of fat French fries and a thicker-than-usual tsatsiki sauce, should convince you that you've gone authentically Greek. A few slurps of the avgolemono should seal the deal: This chicken-based, lemon and egg soup with rice is Venus in liquid form, a beautiful yellow elixir that will have you using a piece of pita to sop up the last drops. Every entree comes with that soup and a salad, a Greek assemblage that includes lettuce, tomatoes, olives and feta, all drizzled with a yogurt-based, black-pepper-laced dressing. Finish off your meal with a triangle of honey-drenched baklava, and thank the Greek gods for the Venus Room.


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