Ithaki, Greek, Ipswich, Report 10/19/06
Finally went here; mixed feelings. Very attractive candlelit room; beautiful large fresh flower arrangements done by owner; very comf velvet couch seating; nice friendly staff. To cut to the chase(I bet that's an expression with its roots in fox hunting or something)
the apps were much better than the entrees. We ordered a number of things that Allison Arnett had liked in her foyer-framed 2001 review, but responded differently to them than she did.
Grilled octopus was TENDER and served with a perfect lemon aioli and an intriguing fava bean puree(previous to this i hadn't liked fava beans!) Taramosalata was unusually light,creamy,and salty , with just the right amount of lemon, served with abundance of pita toasts. Avgolemeno soup was lacking: maybe canned chicken stock and cornstarch thickened(horrors!) and not enough lemon. Quail with butternut squash and pecan filling and agrodolce type sauce just fine.
Moussaka- filling but bland. Nice beschamel but really needed more eggplant and more punch- tomato and brandy and a touch of cinnamon preferably.
Roast Lamb w/ yukon golds, green beans and beets.Perfectly prepared, just lacking in punch.Garlic salt just not enough to make it interesting for us.
So few good places to eat up in that area- we might go back.but maybe just for apps. or apps and different entrees.
My wife and I have been going to Ithaki since it opened in the late '90s. I agree, the traditional greek entrees leave something to be desired . . . inconsist. However, the taramasalata is some of the best we've ever had (outside of a turkish place in Cliffside Park, NJ) and the grilled octopus is excellent. My wife thinks their fish dishes (usually grilled) are excellent. We usually have the taramasalata for an app, I ask them for the octopus as my entree and she has one of their fish specials. Unfortunately, we were there recently on a Saturday night and while the bar was packed, the diningroom was mostly empty with the back diningroom closed. Hopefully, it was merely an abberation.