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In Athens’ western suburbs, near bustling Bournazi Square, sits Base Grill, a steakhouse where regulars converge from every part of Athens. At their restaurant, twin brothers Spiros and Vangelis Liakos have taken the art of grilling to new heights. Base Grill has the atmosphere of a modern tavern: old posters on the walls, soft colors, nothing extravagant. The space is often packed, so we recommend reserving – especially on weekends.

The menu consists of hearty portions of pork chops, rib eye, Brazilian-style cuts served on wooden plates, beef liver, and sausages made from heritage-breed pigs and burgers, as well as their accompaniments. The Liakos brothers source their meat from all over Greece, including the excellent products of renowned Farma Bralos. They’re happy to discuss how you like your meat to be grilled, to suggest a particular cut you might enjoy or a special off-menu item.

On our visit, along with the menu the waiter brought a welcome dish: tiny meatballs with yogurt sauce to munch on as we decided what to order. We knew already that we would get the “sunny-side up eggs with potatoes,” a dish resembling Swiss rösti that our friends get every time they go to Base Grill. Tucked in a nest of finely grated fried potato are several eggs that were fried in the nest. The waiter breaks the runny yolks with a spoon and spreads them on the hot potatoes. Simple and delicious.

We also ordered the “gardener” (tou kipourou) salad, which combined crispy lettuce, cucumber, purslane, dill, tomato, lollo rosso lettuce, spring onions, pickled peppers, edible flowers, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula with a dressing of caramelized white balsamic vinegar.

But let’s not get distracted – back to the main attraction! Each cut of meat is grilled with its own specific technique. When a cut is done, the waiter brings it to the table and cuts it skillfully into thin slices. Our carefully aged sirloin, cooked medium-rare, arrived at the table escorted by three salts: classic sea salt, citrus salt and smoked salt with cedar. We also ordered the picania, a deeply flavorful and juicy rump cut. Because we requested it well done, the cooks first cut it into fillets and then grilled it to ensure that it would still be supremely tender.

The beverage list is inspired. Wines are categorized according to provenance (Attica, Central Greece, Peloponnese, Santorini, Μacedonia, Thessaly), and the house red is respectable, while beer is also given its due, with selections from a number of Greek artisanal brewers. We chose the Volkan black lager from Santorini and a Nisos pilsner from Tinos, an island in the Aegean.

The bill arrived with more treats: frozen mastic liqueur, a pleasant digestif, and a small éclair for each diner. It’s that attention to detail – and no doubt the lingering good feeling from a generous send-off – that makes Base Grill a favorite for many a meat lover. Including us.

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Published on July 22, 2014

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