Some people make it a practice to never eat things they can’t pronounce. That advice would leave me hungry at the Olympic Flame in the East Village. I can’t pronounce half the items on the menu, but that doesn’t stop me from ordering them.
When my dining companion and I visited the restaurant on a bitterly cold day, he pointed to what he wanted as an appetizer (dolmathes) since he couldn’t say it properly.
“When you’re paying for it, you can call it anything you want,” the cheerful gentleman waiting on us said.
The restaurant was buzzing with activity that day as a large birthday party was seated in the middle of the room. Delicious smells were in the air.
“We have a party and the saganaki is flaming,” the waitress told us. Indeed, a server soon came out of the kitchen with a plate of the flaming, fried cheese dish in hand to cries of “Opa!”
My companion decided on an appetizer we had never tried, hence the order of dolmathes. These are grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and rice and topped with lemon sauce. They were tasty, too, and I especially liked the tangy, creamy sauce.
For our main meal, my companion ordered the gyro platter and I ordered the souvlaki platter — both $8.75. Tossed salads with feta cheese and Greek dressing were included with the platter, and crisp, hot french fries accompanied the sandwiches.
My souvlaki had moist, tender marinated pork cuts with tomato, onions and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce) wrapped in fresh pita bread. It made for delicious mouthfuls of lunch.
My companion’s gyro had plenty of lamb, and he said it was one of the better gyros he has had. It was a generous lunch and more than we could finish. That meant no baklava for us, and I’m partial to the filo leaves with their sweet filling of walnuts and honey. Maybe next time — with a starter of saganaki. Opa!
514 E. Grand Ave.
Monday: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Lunch and dinner:
Tues. – Sat.: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.