Greece Is The Word
160-24 Willets Point Blvd. Whitestone
Hours: Tue-Sun 11 am-11 pm
Credit Cards: All Major
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, a guest and I wandered over to Mediterranean Grill for an early dinner. Set in an unimpressive strip mall across the street from a McDonald’s, this Greek spot is a hidden gem.
Quickly seated by the friendly and knowledgeable wait staff, we were offered a choice between standard menu fare and the specials. Deciding in favor of variety, we chose to try a mix of their best appetizers and special entrees.
While we waited for our appetizers, Grilled Octopus, Saganaki and Zucchini Chips, I admired the view. Seated at a table overlooking the expansive front windows, complete with hanging flowers and standing pots filled with the same, gives one the feel of being far away from the urban-suburban hubbub that is Queens.
Grilled Octopus is a treat that I would recommend only for the more adventurous diner. Long, black charred tentacles are plated with a mix of chopped vegetables, and the signature house dressing. It took no little bit of courage to dig in, but once we did, we were rewarded with tender, meaty octopus, which is set off perfectly by the veggies.
The Saganaki, fried kefalograviera cheese with black sesame seeds and spicy honey, is a treat for the eye as well as the palate. The spicy honey and tangy yogurt sauce combine to form an addictive burst of flavor.
Addictive was the word of the day at Mediterranean Grill. The Zucchini Chips can be described by no other word. Thin rounds of zucchini are battered and lightly fried – perfect for dipping into either the roasted garlic spread or yogurt sauce. The roasted garlic has a smooth texture and subtle flavor that brings out the sweetness of the zucchini. Not to be outdone, the yogurt sauce brings out the salty, fried goodness of the zucchini chips. Not a dish for the dedicated dieter; you can’t eat just one.
As a special treat for this falafel connoisseur, instead of the usual sandwich, they brought a plate of falafel and yogurt sauce. Although my tastes are hard to satisfy, this did the trick. The falafel is lightly fried with a flaky crust, understated flavor, and just a hint lemon and cumin.
While waiting for the entrees, we munched a Greek Salad, a traditional mix of chopped greens, olives, onion and tomato, with a generous helping of feta cheese and their signature dressing. The feta showed all the appropriate signs of freshness, and the house dressing was sweet and tangy without the usual bite of a vinaigrette.
Our entrees, Tilapia Athenian and Chicken Portobello, looked as good as they tasted. The Tilapia Athenian is grilled to perfection and wrapped around a spinach, feta and leek stuffing, with sautéed vegetables on the side.
The Chicken Portobello is a hearty meal for the true mushroom lover; a chicken breast topped by spinach, sliced Portobellos and mozzarella in a light mushroom gravy. The side, thick wedges of lemon potato, is a perfectly addictive palate cleanser.
Prices range from a low of $3.50 for the soup of the day to $45 for a combination dinner platter for two of lamb, Romanian steak, chicken and pork. With plenty of choices that range in the $9-$18 range, Mediterranean Grill is a delightful choice for lunch, or a night on the town.