By Xander Thomas
Even with the saturation of restaurants in the Clear Lake area, it can still be a difficult task to find places based around better eating, but there are still a few that have your best interest in mind.
“I go hand pick my own tomatoes, onions, lettuce, all that stuff, that way you don’t get whatever stuff any other restaurants get,” said Sokol’s Greek Deli and Café owner, Chris Sokol. “It is a lot more time consuming, but we’re kind of known for the healthier salads and stuff like that.”
The Greek deli has been in its current location at 2410 Bay Area Blvd. for about six years, but was renamed Sokol’s about five years ago when Chris took over ownership. While he did use a lot of the previous owner’s recipes and ideas, he also took from what he learned in his youth.
“Mostly family recipes, my own recipes, I’m a big foodie so I like to integrate a lot of weird, different specials.”
He says that a lot of his specials were so well loved, and so requested, that they made it onto the regular menu. He learned a lot about how to cook because when he was growing up, his parents would let him and his sister eat whatever they wanted, but they had to cook it themselves; there was no going to grab fast food.
Chris likes opening up peoples’ minds to different foods and helping expand their palates, and that in this area, most have just not been privileged enough to have certain things prepared properly.
“Around here a lot of people tend to say that lamb is disgusting or nasty cause they haven’t had it cooked right,” he said confidently. “Usually they’ll say wow this is way better than beef.”
Even if you think you are not a fan of lamb, the slow-cooked lamb ribs are a must when visiting his restaurant.
Chris says that because they use extra virgin olive oil for just about everything, he imports an entire ship load, around 6,000 lbs once a year. Not only is it just a major staple of Greek cuisine, though, it is also better for you than more other types of oils typically used to cook with.
“We make our own salad dressing, which we sell a lot of, and consists of just extra virgin olive oil and four different vinegars and there’s absolutely zero sugar or additives to it,” he said.
This isn’t the only thing that makes his dishes healthier than most other places in the area.
Along with using a better oil, Chris prefers better ingredients for almost all of his dishes, including a well-loved sauce in the native foods, the tzatziki sauce. While many places will use sour cream, he prefers low-fat Greek yogurt for lighter guilt free eating with just as much flavor.
“The trend nowadays everyone wants the organic or non-GMO stuff like that and a lot of Greek food just happens to fall in that line.”
Chris and his sister grew up mostly in the British school system, and have lived in Indonesia and Malaysia, and around high school, landed in Texas for most of their adult lives. Chris just happened to choose our Clear Lake area to offer us some of his authentic cuisine.
He is even an admirer of the space programs and the astronauts, and has adorned the place in various NASA items.
“I have a lot of memorabilia from collecting it as I was younger, and astronauts come by here and give signed stuff for me,” he said, “It was really cool to have a restaurant right on Space Center and Bay Area.”