On my two visits to Plaka Estiatorio for this week's review, it was clear that the restaurant was a multigenerational, family-owned business. In fact, it seemed like everyone was related.
When our first waiter, a burly guy with a goatee who was in his 30s, came over to clear plates, he led off the dessert pitch to us by proposing the rice pudding in the glass case across from us. "My grandmother just made it this morning," he said by way of advertisement.
Next visit, different waiter, this one a tall, curly-headed guy -- about the same age as the first -- who could have a career as a telenovela leading man if he picked up some Spanish. He ran down the dessert list, and also started by selling the rice pudding. "My aunt made it fresh today!" he said. That would make him the first guy's first cousin once removed?When I called the restaurant to confirm details, I asked how many family members were involved in the restaurant. The woman who answered the phone confirmed that Plaka's owners were Anthony and Ourania Mandapat, and Ourania's parents were the older couple helping out.
"Any other grandkids involved?" I probed. No. "And who makes the rice pudding?" The woman asked why, and I explained the aunt-grandmother conundrum.
"Oh, I don't know anything about that," she said, a little flustered.
Reminds me of Charles, the longtime waiter at Filiberto's (RIP) who always referred to the chef as "Mama" even though they weren't related.