Q & A with Chef Nikos Maheras of Mezes SF

Mezes translated means “small plates meant to be shared”, the Greek equivalent to Spanish “tapas”.   Greece has a renowned delectable cuisine, but at Mezes you are guaranteed a dining experience akin to authentic local fair elevated notches up with Chef/Owner Nikos signature style.  A good number of the dishes are grilled and only the freshest ingredients are used – olive oil, lemon, garlic, tomatoes, seafood, Feta cheese, vegetables, herbs and lean meats all rich in healthful benefits.  Aside from the tasty small plates, Mezes also offers a wide selection of fun and easy to drink boutique wines in a casual and friendly atmosphere.  It is also a good venue for parties with a special party sharing menu and a casual catering menu for Greek Mezes at home.

Go on a sublime sensory trip and submit to an other-worldly experience with the flavors of authentic Greek cuisine “with a twist” while you discover select hard to find boutique wines (from Greece and California) such as Sans Liege when you visit Mezes.

What is your cuisine style in 5 words?

Traditional Greek with a modern twist

Where do you normally go for food inspiration?

My family and friends are my biggest food inspiration…..  why?  Because it’s during the times that we are all together that I have the most creative food ideas..

Describe your signature dish and what’s the story behind it?

One of our signature dishes is our flaming lamb chops.  We light the flame with a special piece of rosemary that I grow in a friend’s yard.  This rosemary first burst into flames but then suddenly acts like incense giving a wonderful smell that compliments the lamb flavors.  This is a Greek tradition that always brings me back the wonderful memories of Greece and the islands.   

How do you see Greek food evolving in California?

As California becomes more and more in tune with their local farms and wine production, I believe they will even further appreciate the true technique of the Greek Kitchen. The Greek Kitchen is pretty much made up of two things: fresh local ingredients and simple preparation.  This is a defining element of the Greek kitchen and what makes it unique.  As the ancient Greek philosophers might say, these are the first and fundamental element of all Greek cooking.     

Tell us about a day outside the kitchen/restaurant. Where will we normally see you?

If I am not at the local markets finding my next ingredients, tasting wines or running in the local park, I am with my family and friends. 

Who are your greatest influences in the culinary world?

Growing up in Athens Greece and spending much of my time on my mother’s island of Mytilini really helped create the culinary environment you will find at Mezes Greek Kitchen.  Athens being the largest city in Greece and known since Ancient Greece as a place for modern thinking and creativity. Mytilini, known throughout Greece as an island with people of incredible culinary skills and well-developed palates.  Mytilini also produces some of the best anise in the world.  This makes it the center of Greece’s ouzo production.  When Greeks have wine or ouzo, they always serve it with Mezes (small plates) which is why these small plates have always been so prevalent in my life.  While my mother and grandmother were great influences in my cooking…… but my real culinary influence came from  Greece herself…. In the countless hours spent with family and friends boating in the Aegean sea, eating in our homes and corralling together in Greek taverns…   

Describe MEZES GREEK KITCHEN in 5 words.

Family, Friends, Greek Food, Boutique Wines

Visit them!

Mezes Greek Kitchen
2373 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(925) 989-4747 cell