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Tinos Kitchen & Bar

Featured Restaurants by Diane Bair & Pamela Wright/Photos: Tony Scarpetta / November, 2017

We’d been missing out. That was our thinking on our first visit to this upstairs, upscale Greek-inspired restaurant in Hampton, New Hampshire. The vibe was lively and contemporary, the service was warm and friendly, and the food was seriously good. Why hadn’t we been here before (and often)?

Tinos is the latest offspring of John Tinios, who owns several Seacoast restaurants, including the neighboring Galley Hatch as well as Popovers in Portsmouth and Epping. Located adjacent to and upstairs from the Galley Hatch on busy Route 1, Tinos features a buzzing bar; a three-season deck (there’s a small bar on the deck, too, and a large contemporary fireplace); sleek indoor tables with comfy, oversized booths; and the Kitchen Stadium, an elevated table, where you can watch Chef Mark Segal and his crew create their updated, fresh, Mediterranean-style dishes.

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This is a place to gather with friends and linger. Start with a cocktail like the Tears of Persephone, their most popular, made with Greek brandy, pomegranate liquor, lemon juice, sparkling wine, and a dash of simple syrup. The Constantine is mixologist Michael Gehron’s version of a Manhattan; he uses James E. Pepper’s 1776 rye whiskey, Greek brandy, and orange bitters. Be sure to peruse the wine list, featuring bottles and by-the-glass selections. There are many Greek and other Mediterranean options, as well as domestic choices. The staff is happy to make recommendations, and it’s a great opportunity to try hard-to-find wines.

While you sip, put in your order for the Dips + Spreads, served with a basket of toasted pita and garlic lavash and a choice of tzatziki, hummus, or taramasalata. The Marinated Olives, made with Cerignola olives tossed with garlic and herbs, is a generous serving and a perfect antidote for salty-crunchy cravings. Other popular starters include Grilled Octopus, served on fresh tomatoes and drizzled with a potato-chorizo vinaigrette, and Fried Rhode Island Squid with chickpeas, cherry peppers, olives, and feta cheese. Segal recently added a daily Raw Bar selection. Ever-changing preparations might include raw oysters, served with a beet and horseradish mignonette, or the Oysters Onassis, Segal’s take on a Rockefeller-style preparation, made with spinach, feta, tomatoes, and an ouzo cream.

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Chef Segal updates and elevates the classic chicken, egg, and lemon soup, the signature Avgolemono Soup, with the addition of orzo and nettle and grape leaf pesto. Other Greek specialties include a showboating, flaming Saganaki, with traditional kefalotiri cheese, ouzo, anise seed, cocoa nibs, and apricots; and tasty little Tinos Meatballs (Keftedes), made with lamb and pork and a hefty amount of seasonings.

A further nod to the restaurant’s Greek inspiration is lots of lamb on the menu, like the salt- and herb-crusted, wood-fired Double Lamb Loin Chops, cooked to a perfect medium rare. Other offerings include a Lamb Burger, topped with pickled red onion and feta cheese, Ground Lamb Gyro, and Lamb Bolognese, served with chickpea pappardelle.

Vegetables don’t take a backseat; Segal gives them star status with the use of ultra-fresh, local ingredients. Take the simple Village Salad, a traditional rendition made with feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion, seasoned with Greek oregano, lemon juice, and olive oil. It’s crunchy, bright, and fresh; no wonder it’s a top seller.

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The wood-fired oven, located in full view at the back of the restaurant, plays a role in several dishes, including flatbreads that come out with nicely charred crusts. The selections vary according to seasonal ingredients, but winners have included the Spiced Lamb Flatbread, loaded with lamb, quince, pumpkin, eggplant, mizithra cheese, pumpkin seeds, and arugula; the Shrimp Flatbread, with grilled shrimp, favas, tomatoes, fennel, graviera cheese, oregano, and olives; and the well-seasoned Aegean Flatbread, with wood-grilled vegetables, tomatoes, olives, agrodolce, fresh herbs, and a blend of cheeses.

More traditional menu items include a selection of steaks, salmon, and an Herb Roasted Half Chicken. The Whole Grilled Sea Bass is a popular standout. “Whole Mediterranean sea bass is one of the world’s great fish, whether it’s Greece’s livraki, Italy’s branzino, France’s loup de mer, or Spain’s lubina,” Segal says. “It’s a mainstay here at Tinos, prepared on the wood-fired grill with an ever-changing presentation. For example, it may come with pickled beets, baby spinach, blood oranges, and an orange-hibiscus vinaigrette.”

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For dessert, try the flourless, layered Citrus Scented Triple Chocolate Torte, or the Traditional Greek Milk Pie, with a spiced walnut base, or a plate of Traditional Greek Donuts, with a side of honey for dipping. Or better yet: get the Dessert Mezze, an assortment of goodies, including mini galaktoboureko, made with layers of golden phyllo and creamy custard, baklava, loukomades (fried Greek honey dumplings), Greek cookies, and grapes dipped in white and dark chocolate. And ask for a doggie bag.

Tinos
325 Lafayette Road
Hampton, N.H.
603-926-5489

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