All greek to me
Fresh new Greek restaurant from talented former Pondicheri chef opens in West U
West University Place’s all-new, fast casual Greek restaurant has opened its doors. Kriti Kitchen began service this week.
At Kriti Kitchen, chef-owner Mary Cuclis blends elements of her Greek heritage with the experiences she gained working at Bo Innovation, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong, Houston’s celebrated Indian restaurant Pondicheri, and her own catering company. The menu features dishes made with seasonal ingredients as well as a selection of heat and serve items meant to be enjoyed at home.
“We crafted the menu with the goal of creating quality dishes for individuals and families who are constantly on-the-go,” Cuclis said in a statement. “We want to provide nourishing meals that are made using seasonal ingredients. The aim is for there to be something new and fresh for you to try every time you stop in.”
Meals at Kriti Kitchen are built around shareable mezze boards as well as salads, wraps, and bowls. For example, a meat board offers keftedes (beef meatballs), chicken souvlaki, and dolmades. A vegetarian board consists of souvlaki paired with a seasonal dip, a gluten-free almond-cassava flatbread, and spiced nuts.
Diners may also opt for individual portions of salads — the Cretan is Cuclis's take on the classic Greek salad of cucumber, tomato, and feta — wraps, or bowls. Brunch items include mizithrapita, a cheese-stuffed pancake that’s topped with honey and nuts, and a spanakopita-inspired omelet with spinach, feta, and parsley.
While all of the dishes are rooted in Greek techniques and flavors, Cuclis does put her professional experiences to good use. To make tzatziki, the chef draws upon her time at Pondicheri by heating whole spices on a stove top to flavor that oil that’s used in the sauce.
Heat & Eat options start with pantry staples such as dressings, dips, and breads. Diners may also opt for vegetarian options such as vegan moussaka and briami, a vegetable casserole made with squash, tomatoes, and herbs. Meat and seafood options include chicken souvlaki, pomegranate pork ribs, and a traditional moussaka made with ground beef, eggplant, and béchamel. All heat and serve items come with reheating instructions and a list of ingredients.
“We want to take the stress out of your weeknight meal prep,” Cuclis added. “Instead of worrying about what to serve, folks can instead use that time to enjoy family and delicious food.”
Beverage options include a selection Greek beer and wine as well as mint lemonade, Cretan herbal tea, and more. Diners will also find a dry good section that features Greek olive oil and wines. The chef plans to add baked goods and pastries, too.
All that eating and drinking happens in an intimate, approximately 1,000-square-foot space in the Weslayan Plaza Shopping Center (4010 Bissonnet Street). Cuclis worked with Houston’s Allie Wood Design Studio to include retro-style touches such as bronze globe pendant lighting. A mural by local artist Julie Kesselman pays homage to Crete with images inspired by Minoan fresco paintings.
Kriti Kitchen is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.