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BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Helen Klein
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Helen Klein
Clockwise from bottom, Saganaki, Greek Salad, Calamari and pita bread triangles.

BY HELEN KLEIN & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK

hklein@brooklynreporter.com

The flavors of Greece come to life at a Third Avenue eatery, Mama’s Greek Kitchen, which boasts reasonable prices, copious portions and a relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere, right in the heart of Bay Ridge.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Tina Karabiberis, who opened her doors to diners in October, 2016, wooing them with a menu based on her mother’s cherished recipes from her northern Greek homeland, plus her own love of the cuisine, especially the signature gyros (available in pork, chicken and beef/lamb; all $6.50 for a sandwich with French fries).

“I’m the Queen of Gyros,” Karabiberis announced, as she described her restaurant’s offerings — “everything homemade,” and ranging from classics such as Pastitsio and Moussaka (each $13, with Greek salad and lemon potatoes) to American favorites such as hamburgers, cheeseburgers and chicken fingers, as well as an array of breakfasts including eggs, pancakes and French toast.

“I always wanted to open up a restaurant,” confided Karabiberis, who debuted her dream when she opened Mama’s. “I just wanted a gyro place, but you can’t just have a gyro place, so I put everything on the menu.”

We sampled a selection of Mama’s appetizers and main dishes, and were delighted with all we tasted, from the crunchy, batter-fried Calamari ($11) to the rich and satisfying Spanakopita ($4.25), the filo dough encasing a dense filling in which the flavor of the spinach dominated.

A particular favorite was the Saganaki ($8.75), a scrumptious square of fried melted kefalogavgera cheese, speckled with chopped parsley and tangy with the special savor that comes from sheep’s milk.

The Greek Salad ($5, small; $9, large) was refreshing, light and flavorful, sprinkled with piquant Feta cheese, fragrant dill and studded with Kalamata olives, and the Lemon Potatoes, which come with many of the main dishes, were delectably tart, fork tender on the inside, but with a crisp exterior.

Mama’s Htapodi, or grilled octopus, was seared to perfection. Flavorful and quite meaty (though, surprisingly, not fishy), the appetizer – $15 for a plate of two tentacles – is an easy contender for the eatery’s most exhilarating dish.

As for Mama’s main courses, we tried bits of the staff’s favorites, such as the Loukaniko, or grilled sausage – seasoned with traditional Greek spices – available on a pita topped with tzatziki sauce, tomato, red onions and French fries for just $6.50.

We also tasted the eatery’s fan-favorite pork souvlaki — marinated and grilled cube-size pork tenderloins served on three sticks with accompanying Greek salad, French fries and pita bread for just $12.99. Each bite – from one end of the stick to the other – was packed with flavor, making us want to come back for seconds (and thirds).

Finally, what Greek restaurant review would be complete without a little lamb? We closed our meal with tastings of Mama’s famous lamb (available in both gyro and platter form for $6.50 and $11.50, respectively). Each bite tasted better than the last, and, truth be told, out-flavored any local lamb we’ve ever had.

Somehow, the Queen of Gyro packs a whole dish’s worth of flavor and spices into its tiny slivers of lamb – all of which, however easy to plow through, kept us full and very, very happy.

 

MAMA’S GREEK KITCHEN

7026 Third Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11209

718-748-3777

Daily, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Free delivery

 

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