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New Greek: Kuzina in Cherry Hill

mschow Dec 4, 2007 02:47 PM

Kuzina by Sofia opened up in the old space of Athens Grill on Route 70 in Cherry Hill. I know a few people posted wondering if anyone had tried it out. I finally made a stop last week for some lunch (takeout). The restaurant has been redecorated and is pretty inside. There were a few tables of people inside, and while I waited 2 tables were exchanging comments on the food. All seem satisfied and one table had already made 3 visits to the restaurant. So it looked promising. The menu is quite large, with a great selections of appetizers in particular.
Now for my food: I ordered the gyro platter ($9.25). When I went to pay, I was surprized that there was only one takeout container. I asked where the small greek salad was that came with the platter, and I was told it was all inside the container. First sign that all was not so well. When I got home, I opened the container. Everything had been thrown in together. The greek salad was on the bottom, It was now warm and soggy. The one (!) piece of pita was sitting on top of the gyro meat, which was thrown on top of the salad. French fries (barely cooked but flavorful) were also mixed in with everything. It was all a soggy mess from the plastic lidded container. The salad would have been crisp and fresh if it had been properly packed in a seperate container. There were at least 5 greek olives, and a slice of absolutely delicious feta cheese, really fresh, and a few tomato slices.
Some of the gyro meat was very tender, but a few large hunks were dried out and crispy. It was obvious they had been sitting out under the food lamps. The fries (I threw most away), were limp, and I could tell they would never have been crispy. The pita was properly grilled, but one slice? And the tzatzki was thick, a little on the bland side.
Now I realize that takeout is not a real indicator of how good a restaurant is. But I do get takeout often, especially at lunch, since I have a home office. I live less than 5-10 minutes away, so I did not have a long way to go. I was pretty disappointed with my choice. I might be willing to give this another try, especially as there are few greek choices in this part of NJ. I do love a good gyro, and am afraid this is not where to go to get one. Has anyone else tried Kuzina?
www.kuzinabysofia.com

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  1. d
    dkupersmith Dec 5, 2007 05:50 AM

    I haven't tried it yet and wondered if it was simply a new makeover with the same owners, or is it all new people?

    One place I would never expect to find good greek/mediteranian food is in a "mart", but that is exactly what I found at the Willingboro Grand MarketPlace. The food court is clean and the meditaranian stand has good food (read - not gourmet but good). The owners clearly have immense pride in their product and love to show it off. I don't know if it is worth a special trip, but if you are ever near ther - give it a try.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dkupersmith
      mschow Dec 5, 2007 06:47 AM

      The people I saw look like different people than the folks who worked at Athens. There was one waitress at Athens that had been there for over 10 years, and worked lunch and dinner. I did not see her there there other day, either.
      I have stopped at the Willingboro Marketplace once, to check out the Amish shops. I didn't wander around or even know there was a Greek type place in there. Thanks for the heads up!

      1. re: dkupersmith
        c
        carl555 Feb 17, 2008 09:54 AM

        Thanks for the tip on Willingboro Grand MarketPlace. We were driving by today and stopped for good spinach pie, falafel sandwich and excellent lentil soup with a flavor of garam masala or some other middle eastern spice. Very satisfying!

      2. j
        johnpm Dec 5, 2007 07:33 AM

        We've been there for dinner three times now. After the first time we almost didn't go back-- slow service, mixed-up orders, mass confusion, but it seemed like they were trying hard.
        Second time was a much smoother operation. The appetizer selection is huge, and evrerything we tried was excellent.
        Third time was perfect- this could become our favorite restaurant (except I don't think we'll try the takeout)!

        1. a
          alexajord Dec 5, 2007 09:22 AM

          We ate in, within its first two or three weeks of service.

          Surprised that our experience was a bit the same. Server seemed a little confused and things were slow (we were the only people in the restaurant, at an "off" time). But both could be accounted to new restaurant growing pains.

          A few observations:
          -lovely bread/pita basket when they brought our drinks.
          -tzatziki appetizer was good, and plentiful, however, waitress appeared surprised when we asked for Pita. She brought some, but we were charged seperately. Either we were supposed to save the initial breads for the dip, she got confused and forgot the pita, or you must order separetely.
          -SO got the gyro platter. Also felt as though they were stingy on the pita. I got a vegetarian sandwich and enjoyed it.
          -SO was a bit irked that there weren't many lamb options.
          -I am happily encouraged by their large menu; discouraged by your take-out story, as Athens was an easy take out for us. (I work in Delaware; live in Medford so could jump of 295 on the way home)

          I never liked Athens that much (their nonmeat options were, to me, soggy - spanakopita and falafal always felt like they'd been made and then microwaved to warm ) but my SO loved it. Due to his obsession with greek food, we'll frequent Kuzina, I'm sure, unless we have a bad experience.

          1. i
            IndigoOnThe Go Dec 18, 2007 04:41 PM

            I had the same exact experience. Ordered take-out one Saturday afternoon when the place was very quiet. I ordered the gyro platter and I don't even think I got a greek salad. The gyro itself was on the small side and a little stingy on the tzatski sauce. There was an order of fries and literally, it was a smaller portion than what you'd get from a Happy Meal. I thought I'd share the meal with my little daughter but everything was so soggy from being in the plastic container that it was very unappetizing.

            I was really disappointed because it is so close to my house. I'll stick to Norma's at the Barclay Center.

            1. v
              vbrittin Jan 27, 2008 02:11 PM

              My honey and I decided to try this new establishment as we enjoyed the delicious restaurant, "Athen's Cafe", which was it's predecessor. We loved the former place, and it took us a while to dive into the new one....after all, Norma's is right across the way, and never fails to satisfy! Today we decided to scratch our greek "itch" we were both feeling--isn't Greek cuisine amazing! We order hoummus, feta and olives, a big greek salad, and a couple of gyros with the tzatiki on the side. The hoummus was out of this world-- very flavorful and delicious. I prefer mine room temp. and added a bit of lemon juice, but it's the best I've had in years! The feta and kalamata olives was wonderful. The feta was moist and tangy and oh-so-awesome! It totally made my day! The greek salad was beautiful, and the dressing was quite refreshing. After all the appetizers, we both wrapped up our gyros for lunch tomorrow, but couldn't help but dip a a piece of pita (which was perfectly grilled) in the tzatziki sauce. Mmmmmm, again a huge smile spread across my face. I'm sure we'll be frequenting this place many times. It's definitely worth a try.

              3 Replies
              1. re: vbrittin
                v
                vbrittin Jan 27, 2008 02:29 PM

                Forgot to mention, our experience was take-out! It was fabulous, and as I'm writing this little insert to my above review, my honey is thoroughly enjoying the rest of his meal! I'm stuffed, but can't help dip a fry or two in their delicious tzatziki! Mmmmmmmm, so good!

                1. re: vbrittin
                  p
                  pat j Jan 28, 2008 05:55 AM

                  Sounds good. Is the new place a BYO and do you think they're big enough to handle a larger group w/out reservations? Thanks.

                  1. re: pat j
                    v
                    vbrittin Feb 10, 2008 09:48 AM

                    Yes, it's BYOB. I guess it depends on how big the group and what time. I went in on Friday at noon, and there was plenty of room.

              2. m
                mikeF413 Feb 21, 2008 09:49 AM

                My wife and kids tried this restaurant last weekend. The octopus appetizer was tasty although a bit on the small size. My wife enjoyed her chicken souvlaki and my salad was good. Now for the bad part. My entree was the beef tenderloin with orzo casserole (don't remember that Greek name). The beef was rancid! I ate a few pieces thinking maybe the strange taste was a seasoning, but the more I smelled the meat it made me feel nauseous and I am fairly certain the meat was spoiled before they cooked it. They were nice enough to take this off our check, but I don't think I will be going back there any time soon.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mikeF413
                  mschow Feb 21, 2008 12:53 PM

                  that's disgusting. Not sure I want to even try to go back there again!

                  1. re: mschow
                    l
                    lisaknows Jun 25, 2008 10:16 AM

                    Here's an update...I ate there for lunch in May. Nice sunny warm day. The atmosphere is very nice and bright. Beautiful restaurant. I had a gyro (pork) meat was tough and dry, but the fries were good! Nothing to write home about - even the cookies I brought back with me for the people in my office were not great. I ended up throwing most of them out. I'd try it again but after reading some of the stories....maybe not.

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