Last night, when my sister offered to treat The Boy and myself to dinner on The Danforth, I promptly browded CH to see what had been recommended in the past. Based on the numerous glowing reviews and the fact that it was a short walk away, we picked Avli as our destination.
When we arrived, we were seated quite promptly and handed our menus. Ice water arrived shortly after - so far, so good. Reviewing the menu, I noticed the prices were slightly higher than the Greektown standard, which seems to have risen dramatically in the past few years. A regular souvlaki dinner will set you back around $15, and includes only meat, potatoes and salad - no rice, which is pretty standard anywhere else on the strip.
The saganaki opa, which is usually brought out and set on fire with great fanfare, was flamed BEHIND us. The waiter didn't even bother to see if we were looking or try to catch our attention before flaming the cheese with a perfunctory "opa". Tasty, but for $10.95 and without the pomp and circumstance? Not again. That kind of money buys a hell of a lot of kefalotiri a few doors down at Alex Farms.
My rabbit pie was very flavourful, though a little bit of rice or bread to mop up the more-than-ample amounts of sauce would've been appreciated, as would a slightly less overcooked rabbit (the poor bunny had been cooked until it had disintegrated into shreds) and a more edible temperature rather than the lava-hot interior. The Boy ordered the lamb shank, which he enjoyed quite a bit, and my sister was quite happy with her lamb souvlaki which arrived medium as requested. However, agreement was unanimous on the horrible quality of the sides.
You see, the sides are where Avli really failed us. The roast potatoes were mealy and bland, with an none of the lemon/paprika flavour a good Greek roast potato should have - the only discernable flavours were butter (lots of it) and salt. As for the "mixed vegetables", these clearly came from a pre-packaged frozen mix that was past its prime, as mine came complete with mushy oversalted baby carrot that had a still-cold centre. Ugh. Why this would be acceptable on a strip with fantastic greengrocers on every other block is beyond me.
So considering an underwhelming meal and decent (but not fantastic) service, I'd say it definitely wasn't worth the $100 price tag for group of three with one app, three mains, three beers and no coffees or dessert. There's definitely better on the Greektown strip.
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