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Troy Greek Cuisine open on Solano

Glencora May 24, 2013 04:45 PM

It's in the spot near the top where A.G. Ferrari used to be. The remodeled place looks fairly upscale, considering that the food isn't pricy. It has the usual wraps, salads and platters. Has anyone tried it yet?

  1. r
    Ridge Jun 1, 2013 10:45 AM

    We went last night.

    The name “Troy” is fitting for this restaurant. The story of Troy is a tragedy. As is this restaurant.

    The last I had Mediterranean food in the Greek vein in the Bay Area was at Tarla (a Turkish restaurant) in Napa when it first opened up. I was going to write a review of Tarla but the experience was so mixed it was difficult to write. Tarla was promising, but not there yet. I left feeling disappointing but felt the place had promise. I have been meaning to go back since I have heard from several people it has improved since first opening. But I digress.

    The décor at Troy can only be described as brown, drab and ugly. Nothing Greek or Mediterranean about it.The food was more reminiscent of a mediocre Greek diner on Long Island than a rustic Taverna on the Greek Islands.

    Here is what we ate:

    Meza platter. Pretty disappointing. The hummus was kind of bland and thin. The Melitzanosalta (eggplant salad) was one of the most mediocre versions I have ever had. It didn’t help that just made a spectacular Melitzanosalta to take to a pot luck that put this one to shame. The dolmas were ok but tasted like the ones that come out of a can. The falafel (not a Greek dish but I love good falafel) was good, probably the best thing on the meza platter but was screaming for some tahini sauce. Pita bread was mediocre.

    I felt like a Greek salad but decided to skip the Troy Greek salad because it was made with balsamic vinegar. Baslamic vinegar is good in salad but I don’t think it’s appropriate for Greek salad. I opted for the Horiatiki (translates to “village salad”). It was just ok. Given the wonderful markets in Berkeley I was hoping for better quality ingredients.

    Next we had what I consider two classic Greek comfort food dishes:

    Avgolemono Soup: Good versions are soothing with creamy rich soup accentuated with lemony goodness. This soup was like lemon fresh pledge.

    Pastitsio. This is a Greek dish of layered noodles and ground beef topped with béchamel sauce. It’s one of my favorite Greek dishes and you don’t see it often on menu’s. The last time I had it was a truly hideous version at a Greek restaurant in Benicia. I wasn’t expecting much from the Troy one. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was good! Not great, but it was enjoyable and certainly the best thing we ate all night.

    I hate sounding so negative. The restarant is new. It's not too late for the owners to improve it. I hope they do and would be willing to give it a second chance.

    1. d
      dunstable May 29, 2013 05:18 PM

      We tried Troy Greek on Solano for lunch today, and I went with my Greek boss (he is actually Greek, he cooks a whole lamb for Greek Easter and everything). We'd never been to any of the other locations, but he agrees with Ridge: it's not really a Greek restaurant; apparently even the spelling of words like "mezza" on the menu betrays that they are not Greek. They also put lettuce in his souvlaki, which he very pointedly noted is not how Greeks do it. He yanked out all the lettuce.

      Having said that, we all enjoyed our meals, even my boss. I thought the dolmas were well above average, as was the tzatziki. I got the lamb kazama, which I'd never had before, so I don't have any comparisons to make, it was sort of like lamb stew over rice. I would have preferred more lamb and less rice, but overall I thought it was nice. There was also a wine list, which featured some Greek wines.

      Anyway, it's not a bad option for lunch at all, so long as you are not expecting an authentic Greek experience.

      1. r
        Ridge May 25, 2013 03:57 PM

        There have been some threads here lately about how the Bay Area is lacking in certain cuisines. The one cuisine I would say is lacking in the Bay Area is decent authentic rustic Greek food like you get in Astoria NY. I am curios to try this place. One negative thing is that they have a lot of non Greek items on the menu like hummus, wraps and shawarma. I have been disappointed at the Greek food in the Bay Area. Kokkari is excellent but it's upscale pricy Cal-Greek. I am willing to give Troy a try but I am even more picky about Greek food than other cuisines because my heritage is Greek.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Ridge
          Robert Lauriston May 25, 2013 04:03 PM

          Simply Greek does some things well.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            e
            ernie in berkeley May 26, 2013 12:08 PM

            Indeed they do. The lamb souvlaki is the best I've had in the area, nicely marinated and seasoned, the avgolemono soup is just like Mom's (but not as good as Yia-yia's), and the moussaka is just fine.

            But they don't have the rustic classics like youvetsi (tomato-braised lamb shank with orzo), ladera vegetables (veggies poached in olive oil and tomato), stuffed peppers, whole baked fish, etc. I also miss these around here--you have to go to one of the church festivals to get them.

            I haven't tried Ikaros in Oakland, but the menu looks tempting.
            http://www.ikarosgr.com/ (strange website, but the menu is available here).

            1. re: ernie in berkeley
              r
              Ridge May 26, 2013 04:26 PM

              The menu does look good. But again there is Hummus on the menu, which is not Greek at all. It's a pet peeve on mine to see hummus at Greek restaurants (even though I LOVE good hummus and make it all the time). I don't understand why any of the Greek places around here don't make fava dip, which is the closest thing to a Greek version of hummus. It's an amazing dip made with yellow lentils boiled with lots of onions. The onions give it a sweet flavor and the split peas have a very slight bitter flavor.

              1. re: Ridge
                e
                ernie in berkeley May 27, 2013 02:31 PM

                I don't get the falafel and hummus thing either, but you do see beef with broccoli and bright orange sweet-and-sour pork at places like China Village. Easy enough to ignore in favor of the cumin lamb and chonqui chicken.

                I did stop by Troy for lunch today, and it was ok. Lamb kapama--leg chunks stewed in tomato--was at the same time kind of underseasoned (not enough garlic, onion, oregano) and overspiced (more cinnamon than I'm used to), but acceptable. I asked for some tzatziki for my rice and roasted vegetables, and it was just about right (but another peeve: why can't Greek places make an authentic pilafi rice, baked rather than boiled?). I'll reserve judgment until I've tried other dishes. Nice room, good prices.

                1. re: Ridge
                  Robert Lauriston May 27, 2013 02:54 PM

                  Are you sure hummus isn't traditional in some part of Greece? "The Complete Book of Greek Cooking" by the Recipe Club of St. Paul's Orthodox Cathedral has a recipe for revithia me tahini alima which is identical to hummus. They describe it as a Lenten dish.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    e
                    ernie in berkeley May 27, 2013 03:13 PM

                    It might be regional. None of the four Greek cookbooks I have show such a recipe (including another one by the St. Paul's congregation). The only recipes for chick peas have them prepared ladera-style, except for a fritters recipe in Diane Kochilas's Glorious Foods of Greece, which sources the recipe from Rhodes (but she notes on the fly that somewhat differently prepared fritters exist elsewhere in Greece). Growing up in the NYC area Greek community, I only encountered the stewed chickpeas (yes, during Lent), and didn't know about hummus or falafel until a college roommate made some after he visited Israel.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      r
                      Ridge May 27, 2013 04:02 PM

                      I don’t think it’s a regional Greek dish but I am not 100% certain. It could be since there is cross pollination between Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine. I don’t recall ever seeing it on a menu on my visits to Greece. And I introduced Hummus to my parents (mom born in Greece, Dad ethnic Greek born in Istanbul) who had never heard of it and thought it was unusual. Could be that its popping up in Greek cookbooks due to its popularity and peoples assumptions that it’s a Greek dish?

                      1. re: Ridge
                        e
                        ernie in berkeley May 27, 2013 04:11 PM

                        Since it's a day off work, I did some Googling. There are two threads hear on CH, one titled "Hummus is not Greek!":

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/464713

                        and one on falafel:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/877729

                        And look! There's even a Hummus is not Greek! Facebook page (which shares a post from the CH topic):

                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hummus...

                        1. re: ernie in berkeley
                          drewskiSF May 27, 2013 04:34 PM

                          The falafel thread does mention a Greek chick-pea fritter called Revithkeftedes, though different from falafel in that the garbanzos are boiled and mashed before forming into the fritter balls.

                          Apparently, I got these at Souvlaki Greek Skewers in San Jose, but they were listed on the menu as "Falafel". I was surprised (and disappointed, expecting a typical falafel. assumed made with canned chick-peas) by the creamy texture.

                          When I mentioned the offending falafel to a Greek friend, he told me Revithkeftedes are often on the menu as "Falafel" because that's what people have heard of, but it's kind of cr@p shoot (could get traditional falafel) unless you ask.

                           
                          1. re: ernie in berkeley
                            Robert Lauriston May 28, 2013 08:52 AM

                            There's a post in the "Hummus is not Greek" topic that says it's common in Cyprus. Lots of Cypriot Greeks immigrated to New York.

              2. Robert Lauriston May 25, 2013 10:24 AM

                I tried the Alameda location:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7917...

                1. escargot3 May 24, 2013 08:34 PM

                  The "original" Troy is on College Ave. I didn't know they opened up a second. I very much enjoy their Greek salads and the Greek lemon soup.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: escargot3
                    drewskiSF May 24, 2013 10:39 PM

                    The original is actually on Central in Alameda. This is the third location.

                    ---------------

                    Troy Greek
                    2318-A Central Ave
                    Alameda, CA
                    www.troygreek.com Solano isn't listed yet

                    1. re: drewskiSF
                      escargot3 May 25, 2013 10:51 PM

                      interesting, drewski. i didn't know that they are a mini mini-chain.

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