Melina's Lamb Neck Kleftiko
  • North Bethesda MD


    Lamb Neck Kleftiko

    lamb neck / maldon salt / roasted grape tomatoes / roasted bell peppers / graviera cheese / fresh oregano / olive oil / sourdough pita bread / tzatziki sauce / pickled onion

    Lamb Kleftiko is a tantalizing Greek dish that combines tender, slow-cooked lamb neck with an array of vibrant flavors and textures. The lamb, cooked sous-vide for 12 hours, is incredibly tender and succulent. It's seasoned with Maldon salt and paired with roasted grape tomatoes, bell peppers, and rich Graviera cheese. Fresh oregano adds a fragrant touch, while a finishing drizzle of olive oil enhances its richness.

    Signature Dish

    From Prep to Plate

    Host Seth Tillman heads to Melina, a Greek restaurant in North Bethesda, Maryland where chef/partner Aris Tsekouras demonstrates how to make lamb kleftiko, a traditional Greek dish. Kleftiko means "thieves," as it was historically prepared by thieves who would cook lamb in the ground to avoid detection. Despite the food's traditional roots, Aris uses modern kitchen techniques like sous-vide cooking to replicate the flavors. The lamb neck is cooked sous-vide for 12 hours, then blowtorched for caramelization. Then, it is wrapped with roasted vegetables, cheese, and oregano in parchment paper to simulate underground cooking. The dish is served with sourdough pita bread, tzatziki, pickled onions, and crisp potatoes, allowing diners to create their own sandwiches or enjoy the flavors individually. 

    If there’s a dish that transports me to Sunday in Athens, it’s the lamb neck. Plied with velvety roasted red peppers, the ... feast is served in the folds of parchment paper with pinches of nutty kefalograviera cheese and trailed by a fleet of side dishes, including nuggets of fried potato and pickled red onion. 

    Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post

    More about the Restaurant



    905 Rose Ave
    North Bethesda, MD 20852

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