Vidrio infuses family-style dining with the allure of the sea
What is it like to dine in the Mediterranean basin? Now, you can find out, locally. Vidrio, a new restaurant by the Moshakos family known for Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen, just opened this month.
The project has been a personal one for the family and in planning for eight years. Every August, Lou Moshakos, his wife Joy and daughter Amber and her family travel to the Mediterranean where dining is an event. They wanted to capture this cultural experience— including the rich flavors, fresh seafood and local produce of the area. They explored the entire region, from the Canary Islands in Spain to the Greek Isles and beyond, bringing back ideas and looking at how different countries translate the same dishes. For example, custard becomes a French crème brulée, an Italian Panna Cotta, or a Spanish flan—offering diverse menu options.
Beyond the seasonal food, however, the family wants to give guests a window into the Mediterranean lifestyle, and the name Vidrio (Spanish for window) embodies this idea. The concept is shared (not to be confused with small) plates, where family and friends gather to leisurely enjoy meals alongside the sound of lapping waves and beautiful sunsets over the water.
Colorado artist Doug Frates came to Raleigh to create a stunning installation of hand-blown plates, reminiscent of the colors of a Mediterranean sunset over the sparkling turquoise water. Yellows, greens and blues glow from the wall. To the right, an area referred to as the “stage” offers a multi-media experience for diners, with enormous images of the Mediterranean landscape projecting upon the 22-foot walls. Heavy roped chandeliers descend from the ceilings, a nod to the fishing tradition of the area. Colorful, bohemian tiles add touches of whimsy, and all the furniture was imported from abroad.
Upstairs, ample private spaces are suited for special events, and a casual lounge vibrates with the energy from the street outside. State-of-the-art guillotine windows in one corner offer an uninterrupted view outdoors, while a cutting edge tap system serves 50 different wines. The system stores the wine at an optimum temperature to preserve it better. The restaurant is working with various wineries to ensure a diverse and superior collection. After all, you can’t visit the Mediterranean without enjoying a glass of red wine.
Ahmed Hasan, Beverage Manager at Vidrio, is using regional flavors, such as Turkish figs, to create an innovative cocktail list. Try this one at home.
- Fill your copper mule mug with crushed ice.
- Add directly into the mule mug:
• 1.5 oz House-infused fig vodka
• 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
• 0.25 oz House-made ginger-honey simple syrup
- Top with ginger beer and more crushed ice.
- Garnish with lime zest, shaved ginger and ginger slices.
House-Infused Fig Vodka
1. Rinse 4 ¼ cups fresh figs in cold water. Remove stems and skins.
2. Quarter each fig and place in a large, sealable glass container.
3. Pour room temperature vodka over figs.
4. Seal jar and place out of light.
5. Shake vigorously each day, for 21 days.
6. Pour infusion through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
7. Transfer to a bottle.
Honey Ginger Simple Syrup
1. Rinse one ginger root in cold water. Remove skin.
2. Chop ginger and place in large pot.
3. Cover chopped ginger with 2 quarts of water.
4. Simmer mixture for 30 to 45 minutes or until reduced by half.
5. Remove from heat and pour infusion through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
6. Add 1 quart raw, local honey to the reduction and mix.
7. Transfer to bottle.