Best Flambéed Cheese

Flaming Saganaki at The Great Greek
Flaming Saganaki at The Great Greek
Erinn Eichinger

From Brie to Buffalo, Tallegio to Tillamook there are hundreds of cheeses, from every country in the world for every palate. For close to 4,000 years people have found countless ways to eat their cheeses -- with a bit of bread, grilled or in fondue -- but if you've never had your cheese flambéed, well, you may never have truly lived.

Saganaki, is a popular Greek meze made from Kasseri cheese, and you don't have to travel to Greece to get it. Just head over the hill to The Great Greek in Sherman Oaks and they'll hook you up.

For Saganaki, a large slice of Kasseri, about a half an inch thick, is soaked in brandy, then fried in a large cast iron skillet with generous portions of butter and olive oil. But the piece de resistance comes once the cheese is golden brown on the outside, because that's when it's set on fire.

At The Great Greek they do the flambéing tableside, accompanied by a chorus of "Opas!!" from the diners, after which the flames are put out with a squeeze of lemon juice.

The only downside is waiting for the molten slice of cheese to be cool enough to eat safely. But this isn't a dish with all flash and no substance. The perfect golden crust on the outside gives way to a melted perfection that is substantial enough to be eaten as is, or with a little pita bread.

The Great Greek: 13662 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, 91423 (818) 905-8223


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