Chef Konstantinos Delikostopoulos (say that 10 times!) may look young, but don’t be fooled: his cuisine is refined and thoughtful and only matched by an old-world level of customer service that makes everyone feel like a Delikostopoulos. I first went to his restaurant, Bakaló, right after it opened during my trip to Mykonos two seasons ago. With a beaming smile and a charming mix of Greek and broken English, Konstantinos asked my name—which he and his staff have never forgotten. I always quote Mary Kay Ash when I’m speaking on customer service to industry groups “Every person wears a sign around their neck that says ‘Make Me Feel Important!’” The staff at Bakaló has learned this lesson well.
Bakaló means “market” in Greek, and true to the name, Chef Konstantinos’ recipes source some of the freshest ingredients that this Greek islehas to offer. Direct from the local markets and expertly crafted under Konstantinos’ knife, some of his specialties include dolmadakia, squid stuffed with rice, spinach, and sausage and heavenly rabbit croquettes. Each and every dish that comes from his kitchen pays homage to his country, but is subtly heightened with inspired twists in flavor; truly a delight.
Traditionally, as a thank you (and I’m sure to add perceived value), every restaurant on Mykonos serves a digestif called Mastika at the close of each meal. A chilled liqueur similar in taste to ouzo, Mastika is made from the resins of a special evergreen variety that grows only on the island of Chios. The liqueur has worked its way deep into the roots of Greek culture. So deep, in fact, that you can only buy it in Greece because of its limited production. The Greeks have decided to keep it all for themselves – and I love it!
While staying true to his heritage, Konstantinos takes a more memorable route to his after-meal digestive offering: he makes it himself using rose geraniums that he grows on the roof of the restaurant. And let me tell you, it’s something special. So special that my friends and I went back to Bakaló almost every other night just for that delicious rose geranium quaff. That, his incredible cuisine and his remarkably welcoming personality. The warmth that permeates that restaurant makes me feel like family and, as a customer, feel important. (And isn’t that what we all want when we’re spending our money?) Konstantinos’ secret ingredient? Impeccable attention to quality at every level.
Konstantinos’ Rose Geranium Digestif:
– 1 liter of red wine
– 75 grams of white sugar
– 400 grams of rose geranium leaves
In a large saucepan, combine the red wine and sugar over medium heat. Once it starts boiling, turn the flame off and let it sit for five minutes. Take the spume off. Leave it aside to chill and then put in a jar with the geranium leaves and cover. Taste after one week. If it’s not ready, let it sit for another week.