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Brief review of Yia Yia Mary's (Houston)

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Brief review of Yia Yia Mary's (Houston)

Tex Nosh | Feb 29, 2004 09:56 PM

Finally got over to Yia Yia Mary's, the Greek restaurant opened by Pappa's just north of the Galleria. Take 610 (West Loop), exit San Felipe, go west about a block or less, it's on the left side.

I lived in Greece for for five weeks so I like Greek food. I'd rate both Pappa's and the other good, inexpensive Greek place in Houston, Niko Niko's, a 7 out of 10. Meaning they're very good, worth going to more than once, but a little short of sublime.

Yia Yia is noisy, like all the Pappa's restaurants. In this case it's partly due to the beer hall-like room that houses the dining area.

Pretty much everything looked good. The waiters rave about the appetizer plate, but when I go back, if it's with a group, I may just order separately the houmous, feta with red pepper dip, and maybe the potato garlic dip. Add to that a side of stuffed grape leaves (not tasted, but they looked good), and spanokopeta (sp?). Ask the waiter to bring lots of pita bread, it's good, and lots of olives.

For main dishes, the $20 rack of lamb looked terrific. You can share it one way, two ways, or five ways. That's at the high end of the price scale. I had the lamb gyro and it was the best I've ever had. Of course, I'm comparing it to many, many gyros I've had as street food in Athens, NY, and elsewhere. This may have been the first gyro that contained the actual meat it promised to. Just kidding, the meat was really good. The fries were crispy. I prefer the fries thinner.

The moussaka was well made but get it with the bechamel sauce on the side. This dish doesn't need bechamel or maybe just a dab, and if you don't get the bechamel on the side it's smothered in the stuff and too rich.

The baklava for dessert was nicely done, not the best ever but good. I don't know if it was walnut, walnut-almond, or pistachio, and neither did the waiter, but I think it was walnut. Some people got the "baklava cheesecake" which was okay although I have no idea what baklava cheescake should taste like.

Prices were good if you stay away from the expensive entrees.

The waiters repeated mispronounced the Greek names of the dishes. Overall, the staff didn't seem as sharp as at other Pappas but maybe it was an off night. I'd imagine they make a better living at P'Deaux, P'Sitos, not to mention the steak house.

Will go back.

By the way, the very best Meditteranean food I've had in Texas is at Ali Baba's, a Syrian-owned place on lowest Greenville Ave. in Dallas with food as good as you can find in the Middle East.

Link: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts...

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