Thanks to Chessqueen's rec from a few weeks ago, we tried the new Aegean restaurant in Framingham Saturday night...I was a little worried, hearing the lackluster reviews of the Cambridge location, but I gottah say, this is definitely a valuable addition to the Framingham dining scene..The freshness issue isn't a problem here..
The decor is clean, quasi-Mediterranean; lots of expanses of sandstone, and a nice wall of windows in the bar. Both the restaurant and the bar were a little noisy, but the buzz was fun on a Sat. nite...It seemed like *Everyone* in town was there, 45 minutes wait, but we snagged a table in the bar, (huge) and decided to eat there...
With the menus came a dish of olive oil full of crumbled feta, to dip their pita into. Nice touch. We started with an appetizer platter (pithikia, maybe?) of taramasalata, humus and baba gannoush...
The platter must've had a PINT of each on it, and I'm not exaggerating here....The taramasalata was divine, even the Commodore's daughter, celebrated in myth and legend for her amazing picky food proclivities, was won over by it. Even after we told her what was in it (VBEG)..I loved that you could actually see some of the eggs...The humus was a little underseasoned, but earthy with the taste of chickpeas cooked from scratched and not processed to oblivion...The underseasoned problem was solved by mixing it with some of the sharply lemony, redolently garlicky eggplant..
Single servings of these weren't on the app menu, but next time I would definitely ask for a single serving of the taramasalata, and maybe some grilled octopus(actually, I'm planning on that for the next dinner, but I'm getting ahead of myself)...These platters are truly family sized for apps, if there's two of you, they're dinner.
The same clear flavors made their reappearance in the house salad dressing, a very light lemony, herbal vinaigrette that made even the iceberg lettuce in the mix enjoyable. They remembered to leave the tomatoes *off* Ms.C's salad, so they got extra points.
The Commodore chose his favorite Greek entree, Moussaka...Forgot to ask if they made their version with beef or lamb, but it came in an individual casserole about 8" across, definitely enough for 2. The topping of potatoes was cream-laden and oniony tasting, he rated the whole as among the best version he's ever had...
Ms.C had a feta and spinach pie dinner. Fairly large tyropitas, stuffed with a nicely textural blend of lightly cooked spinach and cheese. The filling was fresh and delicious, but I thought the filo crust could have been a little flakier.
There was a page of seafood for me to choose from, but I zeroed right in on the Grilled Whole Fish section. After that mound-o-apps, I didn't feel like I could do justice to a whole snapper or striped bass, but chose a more modest trout (also at a more modest $14.95)...I was a little diappointed to be served a butterflied, boned trout, that tasted more broiled than grilled. Very good, but when I see Whole Fish, I kind of expect a WHOLE fish; head, tail, bones....It could be because that's how farmed trout hits a lot of suppliers, or they could be dumbing down for their clientele...Or maybe someone who orders trout in a GREEK restaurant should take what she gets.(g) Further investigation is warranted on the whole fish question, next time I'll ask..Lovely garnish of fresh, sweet, steamed green beans.
All entrees came with a choice of roasted potatoes, rice, fries or steamed broccoli. And they are side *plates*; a whole seperate plate for each diner. Mine was perfectly al dente broccoli with NONE of the fake, buttery, yellow oil that so many otherwise decent Greek places drench their veggies with. TC and Ms.C each has a plate of rice topped with a nutmeg and cinnamon tasting sauce. Possibly a mild tomato base?
All in all, nothing breaking new creative ground here, but fresh, fresh, fresh, and lots...I will definitely be ordering apps next time, or splitting an entree. A vaguely Americanized Greek menu, in a big, teetering-on-glitzy place. But a souvlaki meal at the bar still makes it a good lunch option for the area, and apps and drinks at the bar would be a grat casual dinner. If they do a good enough job on their fish standards, like tuna and swordfish, as well as grilled meat options, it could really be a place to take non-adventurous eaters for a nice meal, whole availing yourself of the more exciting ethnic choices.
Another good answer to "Where should I eat in Framingham!"
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