Review - The 39th Annual Greek Festival - Richmond Va.
The 39th Annual Greek Festival is this weekend (May 29-June 1)
located at- STS. CONSTANTINE AND HELEN GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL 30 MALVERN AVE. RICHMOND, VA, 23221
In addition to the Lebanese Food Festival, this is another well run, well organized event, with plenty of authentic cuisine, wines and dancing.
The crowds are large and the lines are long, but in most cases well worth waiting within for delicious, fresh made, Greek food and drink. And if your desire is to just pass through, seeking only food, there is a fast moving drive-through, where you're handed an order form (also available online to print out), you fill the form, hand it to an order taker, pay with credit card, cash or check, then receive your food. Very quick and efficient, without ever leaving your vehicle.
Tip: Due to the long waits in line, within the boundaries of the festival, I suggest you order through the drive-through, park, and return with your food to one of the many tables found beneath large shaded tents, thus avoiding the long waits, standing in line for the same cuisine.
What I ordered along with my opinion:
Chicken Souvlaki (skewered/grilled chicken breast) - Looked delicious, but sadly it was dry & flavorless; a squeeze of lemon and a bit of salt made it palatable.
Moussaka (layered eggplant, ground beef & bechamel) - Tender, well prepared and well layered, but a hint too much cinnamon and not enough salt.
Pastichio (layered pasta, ground beef & bechamel) - Flavor profiles were the same as the moussaka, with predominant cinnamon flavor, but still well prepared, tender and enjoyable.
Gyro - Lacked meat, had too much lettuce and the Tzatziki was a flavorless mixture of yogurt and herbs, with no cucumber detected and little garlic flavor.
Side Dishes -
Yahni (Grecian green beans stewed in tomatoes)
This is akin to Lebanese Loubia - The tender fresh green beans and acidic/sweet tomatoes balanced well together
Pilaf (herbed rice) - Perfectly cooked & seasoned
Tiropita (cheese pie) - Flaky Phyllo wrapped flavorless cheese filling
Spanakopita (spinach/cheese pie) - Phyllo was golden, flaky and wrapped around flavorless spinach and cheese filling.
Dolmades (seasoned rice wrapped with grape leaves) - moist & flavorful with just the right amount of acidity and seasoning
Pastries - All were well prepared, fresh, sweet, crunchy and delicious...high marks on the pastry!
Pastries aside, everything except the Chicken Souvlaki and Gyro was enjoyable, but not excellent, and everything lacked seasoning. The atmosphere, although tightly packed, was calm, festive, professionally presented & planned, and illuminated in the warmth of this beautiful Saturday in Richmond. Not a bad day.
I haven't been to the Greek festival in many years and it is no longer about the food, IMO. For the food, I'd rather go to one of RVA's Greek restaurants and have a meal that has not been in the freezer for months and get to sit and enjoy it rather than battling, parking, crowds, etc.
We had almost everything that you had and I agree with you. The pastries were wonderful - the best things we tasted. I was seriously disappointed at the gyro. The tzatziki was tasteless and the meat was that frozen, sliced stuff that companies like Sysco sell already prepped for service. I think if you are purporting to be a GREEK food festival, you need to make your own gyro meat.