At Zorba's (see their website), a Greek restaurant in a small shopping center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, one gets to use lovely, big, white cloth dinner napkins. This luxurious touch, however, is somewhat cancelled out by the “elevator music” one must listen to while one eats.
Zorba's is like that — an eatery with some definite pluses and some definite minuses. On a recent visit there my family of five was impressed when a nice waitress brought, shortly after we sat down, delicious, peasant-style Greek bread to the table, and poured flavorful olive oil on small plates for us to use as a bread “dip.” She also supplied our beverages.
Then a different, grumpy waitress took over. I could describe her attitude, but I'll just say that I hope she is usually in a better frame of mind. You could say that we had sweet and sour waitresses.
The house salads which we were served were excellent — fresh, crisp vegetables at the peak of flavor. The blue cheese dressing which three of us got was fairly tasty, but thin, and did not contain much cheese.
I ordered the moussaka, which I normally love. Unfortunately, Zorba's had much more cinnamon in it than I care for. My husband Henry got the spanakopita (sort of a spinach strudel). It was very good. Interesting flat, thin “spaghetti” noodles with a slightly-too-sweet spaghetti sauce accompanied our main dishes. (Incidentally, my ever-good husband traded entrees with me, claiming that he didn't mind the over-cinnamonized moussaka.)
Our daughter Sarah thought that the avgolemono (traditionally a thickened egg and lemon sauce, but here “Greek Chicken Soup”) was absolutely delicious. The dressing on her Greek salad was so-so.
David described the Chicken Parmigiana from the Italian section of the menu as “typical, but good.”
Jonathan said that the Grilled Chicken Club (with bacon, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, and tomato) was messy to eat and the chicken tough. “ Pretty good” home fries came with the sandwich.
The meal cost around $13.00 per person, a moderate price for hints of ethnic culinary authenticity in reasonably pleasant surroundings. However, here's another glitch: the bill, as presented, seemed too high. When asked, the waitress first advised us that the tip was not included in the bill, but after re-checking at the register, she reported that the gratuity was included, as we had suspected.
One more thing to keep in mind: some of the restaurant tables are on an up-two-step level, so watch your step!
Copyright © 2005 Patricia B. Mitchell.