The Landmark at Greenwood Village does not lend itself to atmospheric dining experiences, & Yanni’s is no exception. (Ali Baba Grill comes closest, but that’s another post.) Unable to escape that “multi-use development” vibe, it gestures half-heartedly toward upscale Aegean-themed decor in white & blue, but the hard-surfaced space feels threadbare. Presentation doesn’t help, showing all the flair of an all-hours diner (read: none, from the institutional white dishware to the foil-wrapped butter pats for the warm breadsticks—where’s the Greek olive oil?) Service doesn’t raise the stakes of formality a whit either—but at least the waitstaff brings some familial warmth to the proceedings, led by an owner who makes the rounds with shots of ouzo (albeit in plastic glasses). Given the prices, which tend toward the teens & 20s, a touch more elegance seems to be in order.
So long as you close your eyes, though, the food mostly lives up to the promise of the concept. Take the tarama, a/k/a taramosalata—a whipped spread composed of cured fish roe, bread crumbs (or mashed potato), olive oil & lemon juice. When poorly made, it’s a shambles—gritty, clunky, & lacking the salty punch of the key ingredient (à la My Big Fat Greek Cafe’s version—sad trombone). But when it’s well made—as this was—it’s one of my favorite things on earth: creamy yet airy, pungent, slightly tart & totally craveworthy. Decent pita, too—the oil-touched, soft kind.
The Director’s gyro platter wouldn’t win a beauty contest, but the expertly done lamb-&-beef slices had robust personality aplenty: meltingly tender, well-seasoned & paired with spot-on chunky tzatziki alongside crisp fries.
My octopus, too, was lovely—buttery in texture with a nice char—though why it was served over shredded cabbage is a mystery. It would have gained a lot, I thought, from being tossed with or at least served on the same plate as the sides—
which looked like something you’d get at an old folks’ home but tasted much better: fluffy potato wedges with a bit of a crust & a surprisingly rich & saucy mélange of green beans and carrots stewed with tomatoes.
I’m happy to add the wine list pulls no punches for the sake of the suburban crowd, boasting its share of Greek varietals—love me some Xinomavro! Ultimately, when ambiance matters, Axios Estiatorio is the place to beat, but in terms of food quality, it’s a toss-up—both kitchens prove solid.