Zorba’s Mediterranean Cuisine: A new cultural experience

Photo provided by Brett Smith
Photo provided by Brett Smith

Brett Smith, Guest Writer

   I like to think of myself as an adventurous individual when it comes to food. So when

I saw Zorba’s Mediterranean Cuisine on North May Avenue, I quickly added it to my

list of places I wanted to try out. I have never had Mediterranean food before I visited

Zorba’s, so this promised to be an interesting evening, to say the least.

   I visited Zorba’s with my friends Nathan Schauer, Andi Will and Drew Mitchell, and

they were also new to the Mediterranean side of food. We all approached the restaurant

with somewhat low expectations. We had no idea what was in store for us when we

stepped through the large, old-world doors.

   Upon entering, it was quickly evident that they wanted their guests to know

that this was a different kind of experience. The atmosphere really projected a strong

Mediterranean feel. There was great music being played as well as a wide variety of

paintings and décor that helped their guests feel relaxed and ready for a new culture to

unfold before them. One aspect that seemed a little off to me was a slide show in which

they had on a television screen. Pictures of various entrées were being played through

a continuous loop, and the pictures were of somewhat low quality. However, this was

easily ignored once we began looking through the menu. The menu itself was of average

quality, but still helped to add a Mediterranean vibe.

   Their menu also offered a wide variety of dishes from all across the Mediterranean.

Seafood, stews, salads, lamb and kabobs are just a small portion of what was offered on

their menu. Their prices were fair: not too much but also not incredibly cheap. It was

what you might expect from a different cultural place like Zorba’s.

   When we gave our drink orders, we also ordered fried calamari as an appetizer. The

portion was decent for an appetizer, and especially for a seafood appetizer. Drew and I

had both had calamari before, but Nathan and Andi were new to this. It seemed to take a

little longer than expected for the appetizer to arrive, but when it did, we quickly made

work of it. Nathan was unsure of what to think of it, considering the fact that calamari is

just a fancy name for squid. He tried a couple bites with the marinara sauce but made up

his mind that calamari was going to be added to the long list of seafood that he did not

care for. Meanwhile, Andi was trying to convince herself that the calamari was just odd-

looking onion rings. She soon realized that the texture of calamari was far different than

onion rings, so Drew and I were left to finish the plate, which did not take long at all. We

both agreed that the calamari was delicious.

   After the appetizer was gone, our waiter seemed to kick into gear. I guess he just

needed time to get used to the dinner crowd because we experienced wonderful service

from that point on. While we were waiting on our entrées, our drink glasses were never

empty. We were very impressed with the service we received. Our main courses came

with our choice of a Persian, Greek, or Caesar salad, and these arrived soon after our

appetizer was gone. I had the Greek salad, and it was marvelous. Our main courses soon

arrived on our table, and we immediately were all very happy with what we ordered.

Our portions were very large, and nobody left without being full. I ordered the Gyros

Dinner, which also came with rice or French fries, pita bread and yogurt sauce. I was

not disappointed with my meal by any means. Nathan, Andi and Drew were also very

impressed with their choices as well. Drew ordered the same thing I did, Andi ordered

the Chicken Shish-Kabobs and Nathan ordered the Chicken Bandarri, all of which they

would recommend.

   After we left, we agreed that this was a place we would have to visit again. It is easy to

pass by but worth the stop in every way imaginable. The atmosphere was great, as well

as the service. If you or a friend has a restaurant that you would like to have reviewed,

please let me know. I will be returning to Zorba’s in the near future, hungry for more.