A LITERAL TASTE OF GREECE….LIKE…SERIOUSLY
One thing I love about living in the Duluth area and even being near to Peachtree Corners is that there is a super diverse community here. You don’t need to travel far to get authentic food and drink experiences. This is what makes being a foodie in this area so fun. I don’t know what I am going to get when I walk into an establishment. There are those who are Americanized versions of foreign food and I personally try my best to stay away from those. I Honestly thought Hermes Gyros on the Fly – now “Taste of Greece” was on of these types of restaurants. Gyros are so overrated nowadays so I drove past this restaurant despite Jenny’s (2QT Jenny) constant praise of how good their food was. One day I happened to be a bit confused about where to go for lunch since my friend Daral (the YAM) was too busy for lunch so I stopped in hoping to get something quick and light.
My first time at Taste of Greece – coming in the restaurant looked like your typical home-styled greek restaurant but one thing that is very unique is that each booth and table on both ends have power outlets and USB connectors on the wall. This is very strange for a restaurant to have since usually, they are like “eat and get out.” For workaholics like myself who do not take breaks even when they are on a break, this really was a plus in my book. Once I sat down I was greeted by a super friendly woman who was overflowing with Greek hospitality. I asked questions like “how Greek is this” and she was like “I’m Greek, my family is Greek, this is Greek (you get the point)”. The salt at the tables is greek salt, the seasonings is Greek seasonings, Greek potatoes, Greek veggies, Greek desserts, Greek workers, etc, etc you get the point. I wanted to get just an app. since I was in a rush so I got the Hermes Appetizer Platter just to try multiple things. Once this beast of a dish came out, I was full just from the look at it (food intimidation). On top fo that, while I was waiting I got a small loaf of bread covered in feta cheese, seasoning, and olive oil along with a side of chicken and dumpling soup. This is just what’s in the house! I was asking her why so big portions and the answer is “this is Greek!” The dish came out with Gyro Meat, Pita Bread (more bread), a Spinach Pie (spanakopita), Calamari, Keftedakia (meatball that seemed fried) and a side of tzatziki sauce. Normally when you get a platter like this, there is that one dish that you don’t really like so you push it to the side. There was nothing here that wasn’t full of flavor (The manager called it Greek Love).
FROM GYROS TO SPANAKOPITA | BRAND AND MENU TRANSITION
That one experience got me coming back the very next day to find out more about this restaurant so there is the scoop! This place used to be called Hermes Gyros on the Fly and they focused on just the Gyro wrap (a very American version of a Greek restaurant). Due to the name, many people not knowing about Hermes did not know this was a Greek restaurant and just came for the Gyros which can be found anywhere really. that said, they began to rebrand and change up their menu starting last April. In the last 2-3 months, they have been under the new name “Taste of Greece” with a new menu featuring real authentic Greek dishes such as moussaka, pasticcio, and avgolemono. This also included bringing in a family member of the owners, Thomais who has been at Taste of Greece since June. She came here directly from Greece and manages the floor and menu.
Gyros are still not the menu with the #1 purchased item being their “Yum Yum Lamb!” Gyro wrap. If you are really wanting something authentic, here are a few pointers. Its also good to note that all things are cooked every day. The bread, soup, and veggies are cut daily for the salads. The fresh bread brought to tables is baked every day. Also, its good to note this is not a franchise or chain but one Greek family making all recipes.
Stuffed Salmon with Crabmeat
One dish I really loved was the Stuffed salmon with crabmeat. People like this because it is always fresh and it is filled with real crab meat and is oven-baked with a homemade lemon sauce. It is served with greek potatoes that are also marinated with olive oil and lemon juice. The salmon has its own distinct flavor but is not overpowering the stuffing on the inside. This is not just crab meat but a mixture of vegetables, so it almost has a bread stuffing texture even though no bread is used. This huge platter comes with huge greek potatoes that are infused in lemon juice and also a side is seasoned green beans, and rice that has peppers, corn onions and is seasoned so it’s more like a rice pilaf comes with corn and a unique lemon covered in parsley in case you are a lemon fanatic.
Another favorite of mine at Taste of Greece the Roasted Lamp. This dish features select cuts of lamb (typically lamp shoulder and ribs). It is oven roasted in the oven for a low temperature for at least four hours seasoned with Greek herbs. It has a homemade sauce and is served with greek potatoes, rice and green beans. It comes with this homemade brown greek sauce that is killer! I love that this dish is moist and practically falling apart as you try to pick it up with your fork. I love the sweetness and savory feel of this. Its a roasted lamb but it’s baked and not charred so you’re getting a full light and tender piece of meat! It’s a definite try for anyone wondering what to get.
Moussaka with Ground Beef
Another dish I really love is the Moussaka with ground beef. This is like a Greek version of Lasagna but instead of using pasta, they slice eggplant and potatoes and fry them to make the base and layer between the seasoned ground beef. On the top is a homemade base melee. This dish is also served with greek potatoes, rice and green beans.
BREAKFAST GREEK STYLE
It’s good to note that Taste of Greece is open for breakfast all day with a full breakfast menu of omelets, platters, and Greek styled skillets. The Greek Skillet is the #1 choice here for breakfast. After hearing this I returned to give it a try and it’s definitely Greek portioned so bring an appetite or a friend when trying this dish. It is a bed of seasoned hash topped with peppers, onions and gyro meat which is topped by 3 fried eggs. It was a huge dish that I couldn’t hope to finish but the feta cheese really worked well with the eggs. The fact that the eggs were fried made the dish work because the hash at the bottom would be a bit dry if the yoke from the eggs didn’t bleed into it. You do get the choice of how you want your eggs cooked but I would always go with fried.
Other dishes I love
If you just love to court with death by food, I would recommend getting the Greek combination platter which comes with Spanakopita (spinach pie), Moussaka and Pastitsio (a baked lasagna like dish). Another dish that is great for laughs, social media, etc – would be the Flaming Saganaki Cheese. This dish is unique whereas they take a Greek Kefalograviera cheese shaped like a slice of pizza, top it with lemon, and light it on fire. Lemon and cheese sound strange I know – but the flavor was pretty amazing. The citrus from the lemon balances out the bitter bite of the cheese. This cheese cant be found easily here and is imported from Greece.
The cheesecake at Taste of Greece is soft and creamy. I wouldn’t say that its NY style because it’s not, as dense as a NY cheesecake nor is it soft enough to be considered a Japanese style cheesecake. I will just call this Greek cheesecake for now. It’s really good. I had it plain with no toppings to better judge it and loved the flavor and the texture. It wouldn’t be a Greek restaurant if they didn’t have Baklava! The Baklava here is made in house. There is a crazy like “I want diabetes” dessert called the Baklava cheesecake which features 2 portions of Baklava sandwiching their Greek cheesecake. This dessert looks amazing but I am too afraid to try it.