Acropolis Heads North

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris January 31, 2024 20:55 in Dining Diary

We do a lot of driving around just to get out of the house these days. A month ago we found ourselves in Mandeville and we passed a sign announcing the Northshore arrival of Acropolis Cuisine. We’ve been fans of Acropolis for a long time. They were. an advertiser on The Food Show for many years, and I remember several Eat Clubs there. To see them in our “neighborhood” was thrilling. For a long time, I have said that we have a dearth of Greek food in the city in general, and on the north shore in particular. The absence of good Greek food is a puzzle to me, especially for such a large Greek community with a long history in this city.

Yes, we have Middle Eastern places, and even some excellent ones like Tavi, but Greek food is less assertive in its flavor profile, so I prefer it to Israeli or Middle Eastern cuisines.

We went into Acropolis for dinner not long after stumbling on it. They landed in an unassuming strip mall on Causeway Approach which used to be a sports bar. It is much larger than the Metairie location. The vibe is spartan but still nice. A very large bar is a focal point, with booths along a wall. Manouli Kardoulis, the owner, explained when he sat down to chat that outdoor seating would be coming soon. That will be welcome.

We started the order with spinach pie, a Greek dish I find irresistible. Usually I see it made with phyllo dough, but this was flaky puff pastry. It was flaky indeed. It was served with their fantastically good marinara. I was shocked by how wonderful this was. It was thick and smooth with that cooked-all-day flavor, though it was not sweet. I imagined how wonderful the lasagna al forno must be here with a marinara like that. I will have to try it next time.

The marinara was the scene stealer here, but the spinach pies themselves were great too. Filled with spinach and cream cheese and feta cheese, what’s not to love?

The famous Avgolemono, Greek chicken soup with lemon, was the soup special of the night, along with a broccoli soup. They had a terrific $24.95 three-course prix fixe menu with a soup choice, and a salad (an upgrade to A Greek salad was $4 extra and well worth it), and entree choices of pan-seared Grouper or grilled Salmon. Baklava or Bread Pudding was the dessert.

We got the prix fixe for Tom with the Greek salad upgrade and the Grouper, which came with a side of grilled vegetables. I had the roast chicken and the Caesar salad that came with it.

The Avgolemono looked more like rice pudding to me. I have never seen this soup this gloppy. It is usually a clearish soup with a distinct scent of lemon and a bit of shredded chicken. This soup had those flavors but its appearance was offputting. 

The salads were beautiful. The Caesar was large with a lot of fresh chopped Romaine lettuce and plenty of Parmesan cheese covering it all. Large toasted croutons peeked out of the lettuce.

There was a good Caesar flavor to the dressing, This was very good.

The upgrade to the Greek salad was well worth it. This was also a very large salad, enough for a meal. Cucumbers, green bell pepper, Kalamata olives, onion, and Tzatziki sauce as well as Feta cheese blended to make this a fresh-tasting explosion of Greek flavors. Wonderful.

I was surprised to see Tom’s Grouper when it arrived. It was breaded and appeared dry. Rice pilaf came alongside it. Rounding out this plate were grilled vegetables and housemade pita that had the requisite char bubbles on it. Tom loved this. The Grouper was quite nice as all flaky white fish tend to be. This was a perfect example of what a plate of Greek food should be.

I was a bit disappointed in my chicken. It was dryer than I expected and more coated with herbs than I expected. The chicken itself was tender and done just so. I asked for hummus with pita for the side. It was a late switch from baked potato when I realized there would be no hummus otherwise. I was not wild about the hummus or the pita. The hummus seemed lumpy to me. Tom liked this enough for us both.

He also loved the Baklava, which was the dessert choice of the evening. It seemed a travesty to choose basic bread pudding over such a Greek specialty. It was gooey and sweet, which never fails to thrill Tom.

The evening was a disaster service-wise. Our poor waitress was actually the bartender, and she was overwhelmed with boxes and boxes of take-out orders, I have never seen the like. Actual human patrons within eyesight of staff were given secondary consideration by the staff as they struggled mightily to keep up with the most daunting amount of take-out orders I have ever run across anywhere. I watched this madness wondering what it must be like in the kitchen. Apparently, most people want to eat Greek food at home.

This situation must be solved, and I hope soon. That evening proved something Tom has always said, which is that any kitchen can melt down one evening. Also, never go to a restaurant unless it has been open for six months.

We will return to have more things from this menu. It was a bizarre evening, but I am no less enthusiastic to have a good restaurant serving the more mellow flavors of the Mediterranean. A very welcome arrival indeed.