Kecho’s Café a breath of fresh air in OB dining
by Manny Lopez
May 30, 2012 | 4310 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chef William McRae, foreground, works his culinary magic at Kecho’s Café in Ocean Beach while sous chef Bobby Boutin whips up his own creation.                   Photo by Manny Lopez I The Beacon
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Since its grand opening in early March, the neighborhood-friendly Kecho’s Café in the heart of Ocean Beach has generated quite a bit of positive buzz with its unique fusion of traditional and contemporary northern Mediterranean cuisine, along with a wide ranging, but reasonably priced wine menu and soothing-yet-casual ambiance.

Inspired by the small-plate concept made popular throughout Spain and Europe, owner Chris Stavros has set out to make Kecho’s ground zero for the less-is-more approach to fine dining in San Diego. The restaurant is located at 1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

“This is not a new concept by any means, but the flavors and the food is new to the area,” said Stavros, who said his menu makes sense to those concerned with not just what they eat, but how much. “To be able to serve smaller portions with great taste and textures we thought would be a fun thing to do and the results have been overwhelming.”

Known as “mezze” (pronounced “MEH-zay”) which translates to small dishes in Greek, the menu at Kecho’s features an international array of flavors and styles. Executive chef William McRae, who spent more than four months perfecting the menu prior to the restaurant’s opening, said that this way of eating gives diners an opportunity to enjoy a variety of offerings, which they can share among friends and head home with a much lower total on the credit card.

“Our size gives us the opportunity to take the time to prepare everything just right, compared to larger restaurants where it’s harder to maintain quality,” McRae said. “Everything on the menu is packed with flavor, it has the right chemistry and nothing is overpowering.”

For starters, Kecho’s offers a delicious selection of crisp fresh salads incorporating vegetables, fruits, cheeses and perfectly cooked pancetta, served with one-of-a-kind dressings that will satisfy vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

Only one soup is served, but judging by its popularity it appears that one is enough. Kecho’s dishes up a cannellini bean soup made with sausage, carrots, onions, celery and herbs, which is hearty and robust, but will not spoil your appetite.

Masterfully prepared flatbread pizzas with names like Salsiccia, Margherita, Plaka Pancetta, Picasso and Zeus, all covered in Mediterranean toppings, compliment any of Kecho’s other food creations.   

The mezze repertoire, consisting of meat, seafood and vegetarian options, includes such signature dishes as calamari stuffed with feta, mint and orange, prawns sautéed in an herb lemon and butter sauce, sea bass drizzled with a lemon herb dressing, and for lamb lovers, succulent lamb chops that are cooked to perfection.

Vegetarian specialties like spanikopita, made with spinach, leeks, Greek feta cheese and dill baked in phyllo pastry as well as polenta with sautéed field mushrooms, served on pomodoro and topped with fontina crema are just some of the meatless options available.    

For dessert, pastry chef Stephanie Baron prepares a traditional Greek creation called galaktoboureko, which is made with vanilla custard baked in phyllo dough, then brushed with an orange glaze and served with pasticcio ice cream. Among her personal favorites served at Kecho’s is a delectable flourless chocolate cake topped with whipped cream that is truly unique. Fresh ice cream from Lighthouse Ice Cream & Yogurt in Ocean Beach perfectly rounds out the already scrumptious desert menu.

Stavros said the beverage list is made up of carefully selected local craft beers and wines from all over the world that is served by the glass or bottle. Prices, he said, are kept reasonable so diners can enjoy more than one glass to complement the variety of dishes served. Discounts are offered to customers who purchase bottles from the Olive Tree Marketplace several doors down from the restaurant, which is also owned by Stavros.

“This place is fabulous, I absolutely love it. This has quickly become my favorite place to eat,” said longtime Ocean Beach resident Bobbie Silverman. “It’s perfect for OB and we’re very lucky to have this restaurant in the area.”

Others agreed.

“Simple and delicious,” said Leon Davis, who has made the Kecho’s his regular dining spot. “It’s unique to this area because OB has never seen anything like this before. They’ve done a great job at making it really comfortable and nice.”

For more information, visit www.kechoscafe.com, or call (619) 225-9043. Kecho’s is open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays between 5 and 10 p.m.
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