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There are two things you have to get at Orea Taverna: the saganaki and the pyato souvlaki. Both are table spectacles of the kind that make you turn your head when the next table orders it, so you might as well ask for it yourself. The souvlaki, near fist-sized cubes of charred meat threaded on a long sword with wooden fork stuck perpendicularly at the middle, will be brought out to your table held aloft at a forty-five degree angle by your server like a Spartan soldier on the war path. The saganaki is doused with a shot of ouzo, set ablaze so that the flames lick the ceiling and then quenched by lemon juice squeezed out of the fruit with an equal amount of flourish. The table-side pyrotechnics may be an American improvement for a dish simply named after the pan it’s served in, but to get it without the show would be, well, strangely unpatriotic. The dishes are the over-the-top apotheosis of cheese and meat and thus also the antithesis of the restaurant’s location in this particularly placid corner of placid Placentia, next to a residential lot where the loudest thing is the barking of a neighborhood dog heard behind the rustling trees and crickets.
There are two things you must get at Orea Taverna: the saganaki and the pyato souvlaki. Both are table spectacles of the kind that make you turn your head when another table orders it: over-the-top apotheoses of cheese and meat and thus also the... More »
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