It’s common to hear shouts of “Opa!” echoing through Astoria Cafe & Market.
After all, the sunny space in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood features a well-stocked market with imported cheese and wine, and a Mediterranean-influenced menu that attracts the city’s Greek population.
The laid-back atmosphere of the casual, family-friendly space is a draw for many. You’re as likely to see diners wearing jeans as suits, all cozied up to the lengthy bar that borders two sides of the dining room or chowing down at a table. The market bustles with activity at the other end.
With the help of head chef Cory Kobrinski, the restaurant’s owners called on their Greek heritage to provide an authentic mix of Mediterranean flavors paired with the simple preparation that Clevelanders love. The combo worked. They love it, and so do we.
Kobrinski focuses on minimalist preparations, which allow the main flavors of each dish to soar, such as the Octopus alla Karvouna ($16). From the inspired small plate menu, this dish features Spanish octopus poached in wine, garlic and lemon, then grilled and topped with a dash of vinegar and olive oil. Each bite tastes of the sea.
“It’s about focusing on the flavor of the actual octopus and not diluting it with a crazy combination of flavors,” says Kobrinski.
The saganaki ($9), a breaded Greek cheese, brings still more bliss, served with a squeeze of lemon and crostini and flambeed right at the table.
Astoria is such a crowd-pleasing oasis thanks to Kobrinski’s expert pairing of traditional dishes with imported ingredients from places such as Greece and Spain. It’s not overwhelming or intimidating if you’re just dipping your toe into Mediterranean cuisine, but also feels right at home if you grew up along the shores of Santorini.
“We really steer the menu to appeal to a Northeast Ohio palate,” says Kobrinski. “So [it’s] a fusion of traditional Mediterranean cuisine and adding a little bit of a Cleveland flair to it.”
5417 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-266-0834, astoriacafemarket.com