One of my co-workers was leaving for another opportunity, so we all made our way to her selected restaurant, Athens on 86th, for her going away luncheon. Having honeymooned in Greece, I love Mediterranean food. I had eaten at Athens once before, but it was about 4 years ago for lunch. I had the basic gyro and from what I remember it was good. But there had to be a reason I hadn’t returned, right? I was obviously willing to give it another go and anticipated something different from the menu.
I opted to order the vegetarian sampler platter, Taste of Greece “Veggie Style”. Five different items for me to try – couldn’t get any better. It began with a salad – a simple garden salad with Greek vinaigrette. The dressing was simple and sharp in vinegar flavor, the oregano was the really only outstanding herb taste that stood out. Nothing too special, but I didn’t anticipate it to be.
As for the platter, lots of mixed reviews. The dolmades (stuffed grape leaf) was awful – too bitter in flavor for me. I couldn’t even wrap my taste buds around the rice and herb stuffing because all I got was a mushy mouthful of bitterness. As for the pastichio, it essentially was cold macaroni and cheese. Large macaroni noodles that were baked in a bechamel cheese sauce, the menu described it has a ‘light bechamel sauce’, but light only applied to the lack of flavor. It seemed like a casserole that was sat overnight and was served barely warm, if even that. The ‘Greek style’ potato was undercooked and sharp in vinegar while the green beans seemed canned and slightly heated. Oh, and there was flavorless rice too. No need to waste time there.
The spanikopita and tyropita, though different, didn’t show too much difference in flavor. Tyropita is finger food, a piece of phyllo that has feta cheese and herbs wrapped in it. The phyllo was crisp, but once again, it was cold so the flavors were muted. Spanikopita is the same thing, just with spinach. The spinach tasted dirty, overwhelming any other flavors that could of been. And lastly, the mousaka. The saving grace of this platter was the layers of eggplant and thinly sliced potatoes baked in the ‘same’ bechamel sauce that was served with the pastichio. But clearly, this wasn’t the same sauce as it was warm and oozing between the layers. Out of everything on the platter, this had to be the only item that was made fresh that day. I ate that in its entirety while the other items left more to be needed.
The service was unfortunately, slow. Yes, there were 15 people at the table, but there were only four other tables in the restaurant with 2-4 patrons each. Our server – we were her only table – so I would assume we were her main focus. Not only did the food take absolutely too long, three orders were incorrect. Two were gyro’s – one was completely forgotten and the other was mistaken for a chicken version rather than the classic. Even after my friend who was forgotten said what she received, she then got the incorrect entree delivered…not once, but twice. Another mistake was the regular mousaka being delivered when the vegetarian entree was ordered. My co-worker is a vegetarian and specifically ordered the vegetarian. To give our server credit, there isn’t anything to differentiate the two on the menu, but just too many mistakes were made over the course of the meal.
It may be another 4 years before I return…
Athens on 86th * 2284 W 86th Street * Indy, 46260 * 317.879.8644