Ziziki's clan expands via downsizing

During lean times, some say that businesses should expand while others say contract, and still others say the very system that created the leanness should be dismantled -- which even given the current climate is a very Ku-cynical position. Deciding to expand and contract, the husband & wife behind Ziziki's Taverna, open now.

Taverna's an open-kitchen, communal-table dining hall specializing in shareable, affordable Greek tapas, or mezzes; laid out by Bolsa/Geisha House's designer, the decor's postmodern-with-a-dash-of-hunting-lodge, with a cast-concrete bar, antler-nest chandeliers, and a maze-like wine rack to get you woozy before you get woozy. Cold mezzes include dolmades and artichoke dip (both original Ziziki's carryovers) as well as eggplant/caviar/roasted red bell pepper dips, Sicilian green olives, and marinated jumbo shrimp; the hot stuff stretches from caramelized onion/'shroom/mozzarella lamb-sausage flatbread, to keftedes (plum-tomato sauce Greek meatballs), to a lamb chop "Loli-Pop", which hopefully will not remind you of Lil Wayne's penis (oops, it just did). For the indefatigably fat, there are eight full-on entrees, like "Papou's Parpadella Pasta" (lamb ragu/'shrooms in bechamel), a Greek-spiced 1/2lb burger, and sauteed "Chicken Gigante", served with freakishly large Lima-like beans from Florina, Greece, where there's apparently something besides fluorinide in the water.

Because the economy can't dampen drinking, the Taverna slings 70+ vinos (most $25-$45, topping out with a $78 Cain Concept Cab), plus three taps and 30 bottles like Newcastle, Mothership Wit, and Boulevard Pale Ale; coming signature drinks'll include exotic oddities like a Metaxa Greek brandy Sidecar -- expanding on a classic cocktail, while contracting your ability to pronounce "Kucinich".