Find Us


By Jordan Wright

For those of you who remember the Dixie Pig, a former Alexandria high temple to Southern Fried Cuisine, you will know where to find Vaso’s Kitchen. The only commercial establishment in an otherwise laid-back neighborhood, the madcap neon pig still prances over the rooftop, a testament to the City’s love of historic preservation.

The three year-old restaurant, housed in a cute clapboard cottage, comfortably seats 60, with additional bar and summer patio seating. Its menu pays tribute to chef/owner Vaso’s Greek heritage with a nod to other regional Mediterranean cuisines. Vaso, who worked for Mike’s Italian Restaurant in the Mount Vernon area for 25 years, knows the operations of a restaurant, from kitchen to service, and spoils her mostly local clientele like a mother hen nurturing her brood. (Big reveal here…she is sister to Denise Papaloizou, who with her husband, Chris, own Alexandria’s top Greek restaurant, Taverna Cretekou in the heart of Old Town.)

Vaso’s Kitchen, with its simple and cheery décor, is a place where you could eat every night of the week (some customers do) and rarely repeat your meal. Daily specials augment the lengthy menu and reflect the cook’s Greek, French and Italian-inspired repertoire. It was difficult to choose between Beef Filet and Chicken Kabobs, both topped with a Mushroom Brandy Sauce, Baked Moussaka, Charcoal Grilled Chicken, Fried Calamari (light as air), Charbroiled Biftecki and a selection of seafood specialities.

Her “famous” Corned Beef Meatballs are an invention I have never come across before, and far be it from me to dispute their popularity, but I kept wanting a side of sauerkraut and Russian Dressing to dip them in, which seemed all wrong here. In any case they are a favorite of Chef Vaso’s customers. On the same Greek Sampler platter, featuring no less than 11 offerings, I fell hard for her Zesty Feta Spread. I could have eaten it by the bucketful. Luckily you can order it with in-house made traditional Hummus and Tzatziki too.

On the night I dined there, two specials caught my attention. Oysters Rockerfeller, six beauties each filled with two oysters and blanketed with a delicious mixture of spinach, feta and Ouzo; and a Valle d’Aosta-style, rosemary-scented veal preparation I know as Costolette alla Valdostana, a hearty dish served on the bone, a favorite of owner Vaso’s son, the hard-working and food-knowledgeable, Johnny. Both dishes were impeccably prepared as was the Lamb Kapama a slow-braised, soul-satisfying lamb shank with garlic and feta.

For me the true measure for success in an Italian or Greek restaurant is the marinara sauce. If you don’t favor a particular restaurant’s version you won’t be happy with most of the dishes you order there. I can say without equivocation that Vaso’s Kitchen has one of the best marinaras I have tasted in a long time…bright and tangy, yet mellow, without excessive acidity or sugar, and with little nubbins of tomato, bursting with fresh flavor. You’ll find it gracing many of the dishes and the pastas too.

N.B. With so many Greek specialities pulling at my palate I never did try the Pork BBQ, an anomaly in this Greek pantheon of classic dishes, but along with their BBQ Ribs is the last remaining holdout to the celebrated pig’s former reign. The Greek-style Vegetarian Pizza, enjoyed on an earlier visit, is a standout and customer favorite.

With the generous and reasonably priced portions it can be difficult to find room for dessert, but I recommend you do. Their Tiramisu, the ladyfingers soaked in French brandy as well as Frangelico, is an excellent example of the popular Italian dolce and the Yalatoboureko, a sugar and cinnamon pastry filled with orange liqueur custard and baked to order, is as memorable as any from the Greek isles.

Vaso’s Kitchen – 1225 Powhatan Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 – 703 548-2747
Hours: Monday-Thursdays 10:30AM till 9PM; Friday 10:30AM till 10PM; Saturday serving breakfast from 8AM till 11AM and stays open till 10PM. They also offer catering and takeaway. Closed Sundays and major holidays, they take major credit cards – No personal checks.

[email protected]

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.