This Deal At Helen Greek Food & Wine Is A Little “Krasi”
Anyone who talks more than 12 seconds with Evan Turner, sommelier and proprietor of Helen Greek Food and Wine, will likely learn he’s on a crusade to get the world to drink more Greek wine. If the wine sales at Helen are any indication, his efforts are having an impact. The cozy Rice Village restaurant sold just shy of a million dollars of Greek wine in 2016.
Now, Turner is launching Krasi (which means “wine” in Greek). It’s on Wednesdays starting at 4 p.m. and runs through the spring. During that time, Helen’s customers can drink bottles Greek wines at retail prices.
“There are two kinds of wine pricing,” Turner explained. “There’s a price you pay that’s retail, which you find in a wine store or supermarket. Then there’s the price you pay to drink the wine on-premise in a restaurant or bar. Ninety percent of the time, it’s less expensive to buy a bottle retail than it is in a restaurant.” As it is, Helen’s customers can always buy wine to take home at retail prices, but consuming it there incurs the markup.
Turner has always ensured that Helen’s wine list is at an approachable price point. Nothing on is more than $100, a ceiling that Turner decided on when Helen opened in July 2015. He knew an all-Greek list, with its tongue-twisting names and unfamiliar varietals, would be a hurdle and had no wish to compound the problem
“For our diners, Krasi at Helen is a chance to drink even more cheaply than usual. I thought about calling it Wine Skinflint Day, ok? But that didn’t have the same ring to it,” laughed Turner. “What I want is for people to see this as a chance to come in and try something new and save a slew of money.”
Need some ideas on what to try? Well, there’s a bright, sunny Santo Assyrtiko from Santorini that fairly rings with crisp mineral notes courtesy of the island’s volcanic soil. It’s got citrusy snap and a lingering finish. Even at regular pricing, it’s $12 for a glass and only $44. On Wednesdays at 4 p.m., though, customers will be able to snap it up for a mere $22 a bottle.
If you ask Turner what you should try, he might steer you to the Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos 2009. “It’s a completely unique varietal,” says Turner. “This little farmer had all these vineyards on the side of a mountain. He was making wine with this grape and had no clue what it was. So, he brought it to these winemakers. They took clippings and had all these DNA tests done on it. Every test came back the same: the grape was ancient and it had no relatives. There’s an outside chance that this is actually the grape that was used in the first place to make wine thousands of years ago. It’s like the most amazing Châteauneuf du Pape at a third the price.” Usually, the bottle is $90. During Krasi, it will only be $65.
Perhaps it’s not too early to tell your boss that you might be a little late on Thursday.