It’s BYOB Time! (Zorba’s)

1 Mar

Zorba’s serves up some great Greek food. But I don’t just visit when I have a craving for pastisio. With its festive and casual atmosphere and BYOB policy, Zorba’s is my neighborhood eatery, it’s where I go when I don’t have time to cook dinner, because like homemade comfort food, Zorba’s consistency in food and service quality satisfies every time.

I did a short rave about Zorba’s a while ago. Once I realized that I was frequenting this little place twice a month (this is such a rarity since I love variety when it comes to food, in case you couldn’t already tell from this blog), a full review was in order. I normally go to Zorba’s with one other companion, pick up a bottle at the Aggie-owned Connossieur just a few storefronts down, and order the Chicago Greektown invention flaming cheese (Saganaki) appetizer, the Zorba’s platter to split, and end with whichever dessert looks the best that night (which is usually all of them, and it is always a tough decision). The BYOB policy makes it a great casual date restaurant, definitely more creative than going to Olive Garden and more affordable than splurging at a high end restaurant.

This past visit was a little different. My parents were in town visiting so I had a party of three to Zorba’s. We skipped picking up a bottle of wine since my mom doesn’t drink alcohol and headed straight for the restaurant. Knowing the size of the plates at Zorba’s, I decided splitting two plates among the three of us was the way to go. Naturally, one would be the Zorba’s platter (gyros, skewer of meat of your choice, pastisio or moussaka, Greek potatoes, broiled sausage, tzatziki sauce). For the second plate, I wanted the baked flounder, one of the specials that night, but they were out as of our 8:00pm dinner. So, in a sad attempt to balance our diets, we chose the vegetarian plate (spanakopita, falafel, hummus, dolmas, tzatziki sauce) for our second choice. Needless to say, we had quite the variety.

First up, a simple Greek salad to whet our appetites.

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Freshly grated feta, pitted kalamata olives… mmm mmm good.

Zorba’s Platter:

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We chose lamb as the meat of choice for the grilled skewer, and it was done to lightly charred outside,  medium-well juicy inside perfection.  The gyro meat at Zorba’s is always consistently excellent, well seasoned and tender, not too dry.  I always pick pastisio over moussaka due to personal preference (it’s like mac and cheese but with a much more interesting and complex flavor), and the version at Zorba’s isn’t half bad.  My least favorite thing on the plate are always the broiled sausage.  I usually try to see if a co-diner will sacrifice some stomach space for them.  The Greek potatoes are basically olive-oil/herb drenched potatoes baked til tender.  I still prefer the version at Niko Niko’s in Houston, but this satisfies the craving as well.

Vegetarian Plate:

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Let me just start off by saying that I love spanakopita.  I love spinach, raw and cooked, I love cheese, and I love pastry puffs.  The combination of the three in a dish is perfection!  Falafel reminds me of hush puppies, but with more exotic spice flavor.  I’ve never been much of a fan of dolmas, which is odd because I usually love things wrapped in some kind of leaf (tamales, zhongzi, and, as I recently discovered, little Vietnamese “sausages” in la lot leaves).  The limp grape leaves have this slightly bitter taste to them that I have never gotten accustomed to.  Hummus was fabulous as usual, I got an extra order of pita wedges just so I can wipe off every last smear off of the plate.

Then it was time for the highlight of the meal, the Ek Mek Kataifi for dessert.  The base of Ek Mek is pastry sheets chopped into thin strands (almost like vermicelli), drenched in honey, and topped with custard and whipped cream.  Heavenly!  At $44 for two large dinner plates, dessert, tax and tip (feeds 3 easily), it wasn’t a bad deal either.

Seeing as how I’ve already been to Zorba’s three times since the new year, I know I will be back.  Zorba’s will never be a super cheap, super casual, and super interesting people-watching spot like Niko Niko’s (after all, Montrose isn’t exactly Plano, but both have their upsides and downsides).  But I love the BYOB policy and the consistent quality.  Thanks Zorba’s for being a trusty favorite when the cook just doesn’t have the time for her own kitchen.

Rating: 4 / 5

Zorba’s Greek Cafe
1501 Preston Rd (northwest corner of Plano Pkwy & Preston)
Plano, TX 75093

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