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Mezes, a reprise

Elizabeth Smith | Jul 16, 200203:21 PM

As a footnote to the legendary Limster's post below, a recent visit to Mezes with a party of six produced mixed results. It was a family dinner so I didn't end up taking as many chowhoundish notes as I'd have liked, but here's what I remember:

The service: good, knowledgeable staff. Very friendly and accomodated our impromptu unweildy number very nicely.

Appetizers,or the mezes with which we started the meal until we had other mezes:

Pita bread with three dips. This gang of very non-Greek-savvy eaters got most of this before I even got to it, but I assume there was a hummus, and a yogurt/tzatiki type thing, and one other. The pita bread, which Limster described below as spongy, was nothing of the kind! It was grilled or toasted in some fashion, with a light coating of a non-fruity olive oil and salt, and perhaps, some non-visible mystery spice. This was excellent. I'd go back just for the pita bread. We also shared green beans in a garlicky sauce that were excellent. Greek salad was to be as expected -- good and cold with onions, tomatoes, and olives and a good vinaigrette and a healthy sprinkling of feta. The slabs of cucumbers were a bit thick for me, but that's how I remember eating them in Greece a few years ago, so I think it's authentic. The gigantic white beans in tomato sauce were yummy and I could have just had that for dinner.

We ordered individual meat or fish mezes for our dinner. The guys who got the souvlaki were pleased with the portion size and flavor, though I found it a bit dull. I had the shrimp skewer of impossible-to-remember long Greek name, and fount the taste pretty forgettable, too. Another diner at our table had gigantic, tennis-ball sized shrimp in a tomato cream sauce that was a pleaser. I think Mezes excells at vegetables, since their zucchini cakes were everyone's favorite (and this was hardly a zucchini-mad crowd).

The baklava which we felt obliged to order was strange -- the phyllo was brittle and the honey wasn't the rush of sweetness that I remember from baklava in other places. The base of the baklava was a raft of the crushed pistachios -- and was dry and gravel-like. I love baklava, and was dissappointed. I never ate baklava in Greece (it was surprisingly hard to find! Maybe it's a home-only dessert) when I was there so I don't know if this is more authentic form of this dessert, and the other baklavas I've enjoyed other places were Americanized and oversweetened. Other desserts on the menu looked promising, and would be worth a trip back to try. I remember yearning after a custard wrapped in phyllo in a cinnamon sauce which I wish I'd ordered. You could get the real thing for coffee too, the thick Turkish sludge I can't abide, but many people enjoy.

The bill with tip for six was 144 dollars -- not bad. We didn't have wine, however. I dislike retsina, but it looks like there was a pretty good selection of both retsina and non-retsina Greek wines on the list.

It's a novel place, and since this city isn't overrun with Greek restaurants I think it's worth a look. With an adventuresome group of diners it would probably be a blast, and for ovo/lacto and vegan vegetarians, as well as the fish-only group of eaters, there are a ton of good options. I have never seen so many vegetable-only options in a non-vegetarian restaurant. Nice location on fun Chestnut Street, if you like the Marina.

I believe Limster provides the address details below. No one broke plates or said ooopah, thank goodness, but there was a smoky kitchen fire which added to the excitement :)


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