Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Having read about a local restaurant called Corfu Grill, in Forest Hills, I decided to do a piece on Greek cuisine.  Called and spoke with Owner/Executive Chef Georgios Aspiotis to do a tasting.  Appointment for 5 p.m. but arrived early at 4:30.  Restaurant was open and had been open since noon.   No customers as yet.  I took a seat in the front. Waitress came over and I told her that I was meeting with Georgios.  She said that he was on the phone. 

He finally came over about 10 minutes later as I introduced myself and acknowledged my being early. He walked away as I continued to sit there.  Most owners or even the waitstaff would ask if I wanted something to drink.  Nothing was said as I continued to sit there.  A staff member came over to my area and began mopping the floors at the tables and coming very close to me.  He even came back a second time. 

Then Georgios brought the two waitstaff over to some nearby table and was reprimanding them because the tables were not perfectly placed and something about the placement of condiments.  It was as if he were doing this to impress me.  

I had called him the day before and asked if someone who had an allergy or sensitivity to garlic could eat Greek food since much of restaurant food is prepped.  He said that there would be no problem.   Now we look at the menu and I’ll just start with what I sampled.

I enjoy Taramosalata, a dip that is made of red caviar and oil.   You can buy it in a jar.   I asked if they made it from scratch and he said that they did.  However, the consistency was not the same as the jarred product.  It wasn’t until later going online that I got that mashed potatoes or bread is added to many dips.  If it is, why does the menu description leave out “potatoes” or bread, if used in case someone is allergic to wheat?

Eggplant dip.  I was told that there was no garlic and asked preparation.   Skin is left on, salt not applied to eggplant slices in order to remove acid.   He said something about eggplant being squeezed to remove oil and acid.   Other additions to dip.   It tasted quite bitter. Tried a bit of grilled calamari and octopus.  Octopus was extremely tender…more than usual.  Calarmari (squid) was okay. 

Gyro. If you get it in a restaurant or Greek dinner, most likely they are a sliced, frozen product unless you actually view the beef, lamb and seasoning compacted meat twirling around and hitting the heat as slices are carved from the outside. 

Kebabs are all marinated.  All have garlic.  I try a little of each anyway.   My test is the Moussaka and Pastichio. Think of moussaka as the Greek version of eggplant parm using a meat sauce and béchamel sauce to top instead of mozzarella.   Pastichio is similar to lasagna also with a béchamel sauce.   They both tasted very bland and probably the worst I have had.  I wondered when they were made and if I was given a piece that was frozen and placed in the microwave. 

I did wind up with many leftovers.  Bottom line was that after I got home my stomach began to really bother me.   I was literally “up all night” and had to cancel the next day’s plans. 

I had related this to a friend who said, “Are you talking about….?”  When I said “yes” she came back with telling me that it was one of the worst restaurants she had eaten at.   “People were sending back food because it wasn’t fresh.  We sat there for 15 minutes with no service.   My food was certainly not fresh and nobody seemed to care.”  Incidentally, this person used to own a restaurant. 

I looked at the leftovers, in different Styrofoam containers to see if any needed to be frozen or if I even wanted to have them.  One container was packed so badly that it looked like it was supposed to be thrown out but retrieved. Come to think of it, I had to ask the waitress what had happened to her bringing that particular container.  She said that she forgot, went into the kitchen and brought it out.  Who knows what happened in between.  All went into the garbage as whatever I had already got recycled.
They were just given the opportunity to open a stand at Citifield (Mets stadium).  Best of luck to those who indulge.  

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