Contra Costa Times

By T.K. Bailey
Wednesday, January 27, 1999
Contra Costa Times

CITY NEWS: Combine a very French executive chef (Jean Alberti), a very Scottish general manager (Tonino Drovandi), and Greek food, and what do you get? Kokkari, San Francisco's newest hot spot.

Opened in December at 200 Jackson, Kokkari's vintage Mediterranean atmosphere - a big fireplace is a special feature - is by Howard, Backum and Gillam architects. In addition to Alberti - fresh from stints in France and the Caribbean - the kitchen boasts sous chefs Lawrence Jossell (a protégé of Gary Danko at the Ritz Carlton) and Sean Eastwood. At lunch Monday-Saturday, Greek specialties share the menu with seafood salads and grilled tuna sandwiches. But at dinner Monday-Saturday, the menu is modern Aegean. Appetizers range from flaky spanakopita to crispy smelt served with lemon and chopped parsley. Traditional egg-lemon soup and Greek salad are offered along with charcoal-grilled octopus salad. Plenty of seafood dishes, lamb entrees and other meat specialties round out the menu. And the desserts! Thank La Folie's former pastry chef Joy Jessup for everything from sugar-coated apple fritters to a muscato-poached pear in arborio rice pudding with a black current sauce. Greek coffee, of course, is a given.