It's all Greek to me
The husband and I are turning into quite the cosmopolitans. Last month we traveled to New York City and this past weekend saw us in sunny, dry Chicago. We let our native friends there make dinner reservations and they decided on the widely acclaimed, three-star restaurant The Parthenon, nestled in the heart of Chicago's Greektown.
Founded in 1968, The Parthenon has since become a Chicago establishment and tourist draw. Murals of Greek landscapes combine with appropriately classical touches, including faux colonnades, to honor the restaurant's venerated namesake. The family-owned restaurant claims to be the birthplace of the Flaming Saganaki (cheese flamed in brandy), a popular dish waiters flambé tableside while crying "Oopa!" (Greek for cheers or hooray). I wanted to get a photo of those intrepid waiters who lit up five or six dishes at once, but the restaurant was so packed I never could get the shot.
Outside of the veggie gyro at Mythos downtown, I've never sampled Greek food, so my husband and I decided to split a vegetarian combination platter entree of vegetarian moussaka, pastitsio and dolmas, along with an appetizer of mini spinach-cheese pies. For those of you, like me, who aren't familiar with Greek food, here's a quick primer:
Moussaka: Layers of eggplant and meat sauce topped with bechamel (white) sauce and kefalotiri (a Greek cheese)
Pastitsio: Macaroni baked with broccoli, spinach, bechamel sauce and kefalotiri
Dolmas: Vine leaves stuffed with rice, meats and herbs, egg-lemon sauce.
The spinach-cheese pies are just that, wrapped in a flaky, phyllo dough.
The vegetarian options, of course, omitted meat, but for the meat-eaters amongst us, the menu offered a range of choices from a whole fish and other seafood to roasted pig - yes, you can order a whole spit-roasted suckling pig. A few of our friends ordered the lamb, which they proclaimed marvelous, and another liked the chicken breast spinaki (chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta and served over rice). Also offered are seafood and beef selections and an extensive wine list.
My husband really liked the veggie moussaka and I really liked the spinach-cheese pies, but frankly, we both liked the lone quarter-potato most of all. While Greek food may not be for us, it was still a lot of fun exploring a side of Chicago new to us and different foods.
Are there any authentic Greek places around Cincinnati? Where do you go to get your Greek on?