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June 30, 2005


OPA! Restaurant
2550 S. Rainbow Blvd. Suite W-1
LV NV 89146

It's blue. It's white. It's OPA!

In case you've missed it, Opa is our town's newest Greek restaurant. It's also the purveyor of the best Aegean fare in town since my uncle Anthony Dalacas closed his place at the corner of Sahara and the Strip over ten years ago. And I've been remiss in mentioning it for months caught up have I been in the wave after wave of top shelf hotel eateries that have been sprouting like mushrooms atop a green felf forest floor.

But before I get to how good the food is.....I've got one thing to say to all Greeks everywhere: Enough with the color scheme already. I mean it appears that we know only one color combination and we've been beating it to death since 1821--when the ubiquitous blue and white Greek Flag of Independence came into being. I'm all for the symbolism-which we'll get to in a moment-but just once I'd like to see a little subtlety in design and color in a Greek/American restaurant .

Another gripe I've had with Greek restaurants over the years has been the generic nature of that food. Whether it was a souvlaki or a salad, it all tasted alike and none of it ever tasted better than what my Yia Yia and Popou (that's grandmother and grandfather to you Turks out there), raised me on. And for years I've said that, in Vegas at least, the best Greek food was made at the houses of my numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Well not to take anything away from the Georges and Dalacas clans, but Opa! Is giving them a run for my money. From the lemon-spiked whole roasted fish, to a lamb shank that you can cut with a credit card, to taramosalata that Rick Moonen would be proud to serve, everything coming from this kitchen has been a cut or three above anything you've ever tasted in Greek cuisine. Of the appetizers, the tender charcoal roasted octopus is addictive, and the dolmades taste like the best you'll ever find in a Greek household. I wish the avgolemeno sauce and soup came with a bit more lemeno kick, but there's no denying that there's a real cook in the kitchen. They also make a textbook perfect moussaka and flaming saganaki, and I can't fault any of the beef or chicken dishes either.

All of the portions are exceedingly generous giving Opa one of the biggest doggy bag (or Styrofoam box) concessions in town, and There's lot's of good Greek wines by the bottle and glass. I wish the service was a bit crisper, but a couple of bites of the galataboureko custard dessert and all is forgiven.

In fact, so happy have I been after each of my meals, that I can even forgive the blue and white décor---which by the way-symbolizes the blueness of the Aegean Sea and the white caps of its waves. But for the first time in a long time, it does NOT symbolize the mediocrity of the food.

See discussion rules.


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