Stickin' it to the man since 1927.
by Marc Kadushin
This week I went to Zorba’s, a Greek restaurant down Park Avenue. Why did I go there, you ask? Because I hadn’t been to a Greek restaurant in Worcester yet. And that’s all the introduction you’re getting for this week.
Zorba’s interior was designed to look like an old Mediterranean building. There are sandstone colored walls and tiles, coupled with paintings of sea ports, elaborate lighting fixtures, and large amounts of open space. It sort of felt like it was meant to mimic an ancient town square. That being said, there was something off about the decorations. It felt incredibly artificial; frequently, the illusion of antiquity was replaced with the feeling of being in a large scale chain restaurant.
The prices at Zorba’s are not too bad. A sandwich runs about $10, a starter $5-$10, and an entrée $13-$20. Many options are expensive, but there are also quite a few reasonably priced dishes as well. Basically if you want to spend a lot you can, but if you’d rather not then you can still find something suitable.
To start things off I tried the cheese platter. The menu said it consisted of fruit, cheese, baguette slices, salami, and proscuitto. First of all, despite claiming to be a part of the dish, there was no proscuitto to be found.
The overall presentation of the dish was really lackluster. A bunch of cheese cubes and melon chunks were tossed about on a plate with some other accoutrements. The baguettes were crispy to the point of being charred and blackened. The salami and melon were fine additions, but nothing out of the ordinary.
There were a handful of different cheeses. None of them were bad; heck, the smoked Gouda was pretty darn tasty. Overall, it was good, though it looked like something a high school kid threw together for his grandparents.
Next, I had the Greek salad: a standard mixture of tomato, peppers, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese, with Greek dressing. Much to my chagrin, the salad was poorly mixed; a ring of veggies around a heap of lettuce with a pile of cheese on top.
That being said the poor presentation did not detract from the dish as a whole. The dressing was surprisingly creamy, but still had the acidic taste and olive flavors of your typical Greek dressing. The peppers added some heat to the dish and the feta cheese was rich and creamy. These elements combined with the light flavors and fresh crispness of the veggies to make a solid salad.
I finished my meal with the gyro sandwich. It consisted of gyro, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and Tzatziki sauce (Greek yogurt sauce). Once again my main complaint was that of presentation. Instead of having the shredded or more finely cut gyro typical of Greek restaurants, there were three large slabs of gyro meat. It just looked off compared to other gyro dishes I’ve had.
As with the previous dishes, Zorba’s was able to redeem itself in the taste department. The pita was crispy on the edges yet still doughy in the center. The gyro had mild flavors of lamb and was rich with herbs. The yogurt sauce was light and tangy. The vegetables added crunch and mellowed out the other flavors.
All in all, Zorba’s had some fine Greek food. It wasn’t the best, but it was still pretty good. The real issue was one of presentation; namely, they’re not very good at it. The atmosphere has a very artificial feel and the dishes were poorly presented. That being said, they offer reasonably priced Greek cuisine, and if you don’t mind the presentation then there is no reason you shouldn’t try it.