Chowhound dinner at Zorba's in Greektown- review
What a wonderful meal! Great company too!
Let's see if I can remember it all without looking it up:
taramosalata and aromatically garlicky babaganouche
Greek salad, chargrilled bread
Chunks of grilled octopus (do I have to keep on saying grilled?) in olive oil with lemon
Sweetbreads-- the one disappointment to me: they were cut up in little chunks before g---, so you didn't get the soft gooey texture. But I did discover [thanks, pigtowner] that they are the thymus gland, and very useful.
Calimari: not a fave of mine, but serviceable
Horcha, which is delicate greens such as dandelion, cooked just a little, and very tasty. They went fast. More g-- bread
Then the main course: huge mounds of MEAT, serve with creamy tadziki sauce. The most dynamic to me was the pork, which is three syllables in Greek, which is why they take such good care of it: rich, soft and almost earthy, it was hard to stop eating and eating. Then were the tasty little lamb chops, that made you suck every morsel of meat off the bone. Lastly, only in comparison, for it was also ultimately edible, came the chicken, seasoned with lemon juice and herbs.
we also found out from one member of our group how pork has played a role in emancipation, so we hurried to consume the last scraps. Not forgetting the potatoes: great hunks, boiled and then roasted, with lemon juice and paprika, we gratefully consumed every last one.
Ending with tastes of Greek, not-too-sweet and w a r m baklava. we kept our server busy, and she took good care of us.
Comment from Dom, at other end of the table:
Everything was delicious, but that octopus is the one that’s going to bring me back in a hurry. Just beautiful... smoke and char on the outside, still tender in the middle, perfect balance on the marinade – everybody screws that dish up, but this iteration was lovely, I thought.
and from kosborn, the dinner's organizer:
I concur on everything, except I did enjoy the
sweetbreads. Not as good as I remember them, and no longer on the menu
(they served them at our request), I still liked them, although I
agree they could have been grilled a minute less to good effect.
Well, heck, if I'd have known the sweetbreads were going to be part of the deal, I might have decided to put aside my solitary ways and join you! I miss the sweetbreads, now that they're not on the menu any more.
Sorry to hear they weren't perfect, but I think if they have to be off in one direction or the other, better on the "over cooked" than "undercooked" side. It's also quite possible that if you were getting served on large quantities, there may have been a little "thermal momentum" where the heat of the mass of food kept the cooking going between kitchen and table, especially if the waitres wasn't right there when they came off the grill. Even the best cook can't predict that perfectly unless the serveer is standing there waiting.
Well Warthog, please try to join us for the next one!
I too just wanted to thank KO for organizing such a great feast. Everything was really good (and I agree, the octopus was wonderful, as was the taramasalata and babaganoush. And whew, that big mess o fabulous grilled meats!!)
All in all, I thought that they did a fantastic job in serving such a large group of Chowhounds. We will definitely go back there to try some other items.
Anyone who is thinking about joining in on these communal meals...do it! I've only been to 2 so far, but the food has been yummy and as everyone above said, the company is stellar as well. I look forward to the next one.
I want to thanks Nick for starting this thread, and Kirk for doing such a good job organizing this outing.
While Zorba's is in my regular rotation, I've really never had such a variety of their food at one time. It's hard to know which is best. I think their taramasalata and melitzanosalata (the babaganush thing) are the best anywhere.....and, of course, grilled octopus is just amazing, as are the lamb chops and the pork. (The chicken DID get short shrift since, I guess, it just seemed boring after all those stupendous meats.) I've never had sweetbreads, but they they were very good. I also have nothing to compare them to.
I would also urge those who will now put Zorba's in their 'rotations' to try their grilled fish. And, I agree that the the fried calamari was sort of out of place....of course, it wasn't g---ed!
And, of course, the company was as stellar as the food!
I'm with Dom. I love grilled octopus, but at so many places it's a crap shoot as to whether what you get has the texture of rubber. This was perfect. The lamb chops were as always the star of the meat platter for me, although the pork was very good -- bursting with juices and crispy bits. Fried calamari has taken its place with buffalo wings as a bar food staple and is somewhat boring, but here it was done right -- very tender and not chewy at all.
This was my first exposure to sweetbreads, and I thought they were quite good, but I have nothing to compare them to. I will have to check them out again if I can find them.
There was simply an incredible amount of food. Even with 18 of us we couldn't polish it off.
And as always, if you're not coming to these dinners you are really missing out on not only great food but great company.
The grilled octopus was a treat! But really there were no true "misses" at all with the food. And there certainly was plenty of it. As all the appetizers were beginning to hit bottom, those platters of grilled meats came to the table and eyes bugged out and palms began to rub on bellies. There were several low groans, and something from one diner about about regretting (just ever so slightly) that he had stopped at Attman's for lunch.
With 18 eager chowhounds at the table, we were served by one lovely, patient waitress, and considering the kitchen was downstairs, and we were upstairs, she did an amazing job keeping up with us - not rushing, and not ignoring. Kosborn had pre-ordered for us (except for drinks and desserts). All that food came to about $32 per person total including tax and 20% gratuity. Thanks K! Having gotten set on going to Ikaros and Samos over the years, I never would have thought of trying this place - it's exterior is so non-descript, one wouldn't even think it was anything more than a dive bar inside.
I will definitely be back again and am looking forward to another chowhound adventure next month. Stay tuned...