A Parizade Specialty That’s Not Even on the Menu

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Photo by Briana Brough

One of restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias’ long-standing restaurants, Parizade has welcomed guests through its doors at Erwin Square for more than two decades, priding itself on treating every customer like family – knowing likes and dislikes, seating regulars at their preferred table and preparing dishes to specifically fit the diner’s desire. And in all this time, one classic Mediterranean dish has remained a restaurant staple, though you won’t find it on the menu.

“The waiters explain this dish every day,” says General Manager Igor Gacina, who’s been a central figure at the restaurant for most of its existence. He paints an idyllic picture of sheep along the rocky Mediterranean coastline before shifting back to the restaurant: “To see a rack of lamb on the line, it’s a good, beautiful thing.” Prepared on the grill and cooked to temperature (Chef Robert Adams recommends medium-rare), it’s served with a mint gastrique and seasonal vegetables, in this case – steamed cauliflower, sautéed spinach and roasted tomatoes from Blue Sky Farms, and lemon-roasted potatoes. The meat is prepared simply with seasonings of salt and pepper, while the vegetables receive an additional dose of Mediterranean spices.

A robust meal, indeed, but if you’ve saved some room for dessert, Igor insists on the banana-rum napoleon – your choice of a single or double layer of phyllo wafers layered with banana-rum cream and bananas, topped with various nuts, whipped cream and drizzles of raspberry sauce and caramel. “People just crave it,” Igor says. “They come here just for this dessert, and take it to-go.” A fine idea, but we’d prefer to stay awhile.

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Amanda MacLaren

Amanda MacLaren is the executive editor of Durham Magazine. Born in Mesa, Arizona, she grew up in Charlotte and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism. She’s lived in Durham for eight years. When she’s not at work, you can usually find her with a beer in hand at Fullsteam, Dain’s Place or Bull City Burger or getting takeout from Guasaca.

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