Thursday, September 1, 2011

Arpeggio Grill hits all the notes

One of my first memories of eating out is the smell of gyros cooking on that vertical spit and wondering how those green beans tasted since they didn't look anything like my mother made them.  I guess that's why I've always had a love for the tastes of the Mediterranean.  Steph suggested The Arpeggio Grill when I told her I needed a gyro and you could say they saved this grumpy fat man from the beast of hunger.  I promise to leave the bad puns aside for a moment.

The Arpeggio Grill is in a small shopping strip a little north of Highland Mall on Airport Blvd.  Their sign isn't huge so you might miss them the first time but never the second.  The outside has many of those "Greek" looking window ads you may have seen before and the shear number of different fonts will make an advertising major cringe but these become endearing as the members of this family owned business warmly invite you into their home.  And it rather looks like a home with a large dining area and even a more traditional looking low table, cushions and seating for an even more authentic meal.

As I mention a gentleman greeted us and explained the lunch special, pointed out the other items on the menu and was happy to pronounce, describe and explain all the different dishes they offered.  I really felt like he was an ambassador to the tastes of far away lands and we were merely weary travelers who stumbled into his restaurant.  At some point you should yell "and scene" so I'll stop making this some kind of screen play.  I ordered the lunch special.  It comes with a greek salad, basically a fresh garden salad, with a cucumber and yogurt dressing.  It was delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day.  They also offered a Greek vinaigrette with feta cheese but I didn't try it.  Maybe next time.  Then you get to pick three additional side items and one meat.  Of course I chose gyros for the meat.  In their case it's lamb but gyros can be made from any meat, just FYI.  The portion was a nice size and plenty for an adult but if you expect a Texas size then you might be disappointed.  For the price it's nothing to gripe about. They had about a dozen choices for sides so I just picked the first three that looked good.  My first pick was dolma, it's a mixture of vegetables rolled up in a grape leaf.  For me the predominate flavor was olive but it was a light olive flavor.  I thought they were tasty.  The next side was baba ghanouj which is a puree of eggplant with other vegetables.  It's kind of bland, or should I say it has a delicate flavor, but goes well with the fresh breads you get with the meal.  My last side was fattoush which was just a different style of salad.  It's more shredded than the Greek salad and has some kind of herb dressing that gives it a little kick.

Steph stuck to her meat and potato ways and ordered a beef shawerma, sans veg, and ate it with just the cucumber yogurt dressing.  For the price this was a huge sandwich.  Beef shawerma is marinated strips of charbroiled beef on a large piece of pita bread spread with a little hummus and topped with lettuce, onion and tomato.  It's basically a Mediterranean beef fajita taco.  She said it was well seasoned and she even liked the dressing, it's not normal for her to like anything "green."  The sandwich was so big in fact that she gave me several bites of it since she couldn't finish.  I thought the beef was tender and flavorful though nothing jumped out at me, just a nice arpeggio of flavors dancing together in harmony.

Since it's Ramadan they don't current offer table service but I believe they are normally a sit down restaurant.  I think it was easier to get the lunch special on the line over sitting down anyway so that all works out.  We were going to try their baklava for dessert but the meals were enough and we didn't have room.  Maybe next time I'll order some sides to go and save room.

Until next time, ila Al Leka'

Arpeggio Grill on Urbanspoon

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