Freret Restaurant Row Adds Greek
Tom Fitzmorris December 16, 2019 11:39 Dining Diary
I'm not Greek, but thoughts about that culture are never far from my mind. They begin with two years of learning classical Greek from the hand of the Jesuits. From here it was a short step to the Greek Festival on Bayou St. John. When you're there, you learn that the Greek community here in New Orleans is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. And it's delicious.
When Acropolis turned up recently, it did so in a combination Greek and Italian menu Uptown. Chef Emmanuel (Manoli) Kardoulias took a partner for this one and they are determined to serve all the Greek classic dishes, many of which have not been seen in these parts lately.
The Uptown location was a cute restaurant on Freret that we thought quite good but no one ever talked about it. And now it is Acropolis. The transition of the space from Wayfare was minimal, except for the gigantic mural of any Greek mountainous island. This was not a move for Acropolis in Metairie, but the addition of a second location. This space is not appreciably larger than the other, but it has a bar that is almost separate, and the layout is nice. It certainly looks more spacious.
It’s interesting to see the difference between the two clientele. This is a more sophisticated place, not in looks but in offerings. The bartender, who along with much of the other staff was also at Wayfare, was excited about concoctions he had made and wanted to make for his customers. He brought us mulled wine that he made for the holidays. There are wines from the region and soon there will be Greek beers as well. I got a Negroni, which Mary Ann thought saved her from my Manhattan song. It did not. The Negroni did not have Campari, and the bartender suggested it's the new hip one out there. That must be why it was lost on me.
It was a soft opening and we were encouraged to try whatever we wanted. We did. The sampler platter included Babaganoush, which is not a favorite, and for MA even less so. She never goes past a bite usually, but she could have eaten all of this except there was too much food coming. Warning: it is not typical. Much drier than usual, which to her is a good thing. The hummus was fine but nothing special, and the tzatziki was a lively taste as it should be. In every restaurant where we order hummus, I ask that the pita be toasted twice. I didn’t in this case and got the same as always - limp, uninteresting bread that is simply a vessel for the dips. It can and should be more. Rounding out this plate was a large triangle of spinach pie in a light puff pastry that was flaky and good.
I also got the onion soup generously topped with puff pastry, which was more interesting in presentation than anything else. I was surprised to see a light-colored and gloppy soup rather than a broth, and the taste matched. The puff pastry on top was quite a nice touch but didn’t offset what was beneath it.
There was a Greek salad on the menu, and a Horiatiki Salata, a village Greek salad, which was more traditional. American Greek salad has lettuce as well as the other chopped vegetables. I wanted to go with the traditional and got a bowl of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, olives, pepperoncini, and feta cheese, dusted on top with herbs. All wonderful things tossed in the house balsamic vinegar dressing. Saganaki is available in Metairie, but that needs training, so maybe it will turn up later on the Uptown menu.
For entrees, MA had the chicken kabobs, which came as two skewers with a generous portion of meat and vegetables grilled perfectly. This was very good and came with a side. She got rice pilaf, which is something she finds irresistible whenever she sees it. This was also irresistible to her. I loved the gyro platter, which included slices of beef and lamb with a side of vegetables. Both of these plates contained the same uninteresting pita and very nice tzatziki.
After so much food we did not get dessert. This was a soft opening, and I expect them to grow into this location. My "new restaurant rule" would apply here. They are just getting started.
3842 Veterans Blvd Metairie
4510 Freret New Orleans
Mon-Fri. 11-3 Lunch 5-9 Dinner