Return of the real to the highfalutin South End
Anna Barounis grew up in the old South End, where her father was a Greek butcher and grocer whose shop is still recalled in reverent tones by long-time locals. Now she and her husband, Greek ex-pat George Tsaousidis, have opened a handsome grocery/convenience store in the very location that Dad owned years ago. Giorgiana’s (a conflation of the couple’s first names) also features a delicatessen with a variety of hot and cold prepared foods for takeout, or for eating on the premises at the three tables in the window overlooking Tremont Street.
In addition to deli meats and gourmet salads, there’s a fresh and homemade-tasting array of traditional Greek favorites and Italian-American specialties. Standouts include pastichio ($6.95), a lasagna-like casserole of ground beef layered with ziti and a heavenly bechamel; a light, flavorful eggplant parmesan ($5.95); a lovely chicken cacciatore ($5.95) marred only by the use of dryish boneless breast; and brick-size spinach pie ($2.95). Dinner plates, such as keftedes ($10.95), are a bargain: five oversize, ovoid beef meatballs in chunky marinara with two big sides, such as fasolakia ladera (green beans stewed with tomatoes and onions) and rice with tomatoes and spinach. With the included hunk of French bread, that’s a lot of hearty food for the price.
Honey-dripping Greek pastries, such as kataife ($4.99/two) — think baklava made with shredded wheat — are piled near the register, while the cooler stocks Greek beverages, including Amita sour-cherry juice drink ($3.79/liter). Giorgiana’s wine/beer cellar is worth visiting for its interesting selection of rarely seen Greek bottles, including the plummy, peppery 2004 Domaine Porfyros Spiropoulos ($18.99) from Peloponnese, an oak-aged blend of the ancient Agiorghitiko grape with cabernet franc and merlot. South Enders chagrined to see the neighborhood’s diversity melting away can be thankful that Anna and George are on the block again. With its affordable, delicious fare, Giorgiana’s is bringing back a bit of the old authenticity.
Giorgiana’s, located at 532 Tremont Street, in Boston, is open Monday through Saturday, from 7 am to 10 pm, and on Sunday, from 7 am to 9 pm. Call 617.542.0101.
: On The Cheap
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