Dinner at a Greek restaurant is nothing compared to the hijinks John Corbett underwent for the filming of his movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. However, indulging in Greek food was an interesting experience for my palette but at the same time most of the dishes were transferable to other regions — including American food.
Being that Pithari Taverna is a Greek restaurant I expected the atmosphere to be different and it was. I have never been to Greece but judging from what I saw in movies I felt as if I landed right in the heart of Athens.
The color scheme in the restaurant was all blue and white. The vines as decorations recreated a feeling of the vineyard. To top it off, they played music and it was fesitve! It almost made me want to get up and dance while screaming Opa! Sorry, my extent of Greece knowledge is limited to the two movies: Sisterhood of Traveling Pants and My Big Fat Greek Wedding!
The menu had English explanations but since this was our very first Greek cuisine trip, it was very overwhelming to choose our appetizers and entrees. We endlessly kept on googling while munching on the free pita bread. Soon I could feel myself becoming slightly full before we even ordered our actual dishes.
After extensive googling (more like reading the top five links) we chose: Pikilia Tiganita (zucchini and eggplant fritters) along with crab balls sprinkled with herbs! The zucchini and eggplant fritters slowly made us feel gross because of the immense amount of oil and fried food that sat in front of us. We managed to finish 70% of it and died afterwards, of course. The crab balls were good but being that it was fried also, it was hard to finish it all. The inside was warm and soft and melted with cheese.
Our main dish was the Lamb Souvlaki, which is lamb kebab. This dish also came with Greek fries, although, from my taste buds Greek fries pretty much tasted similar to American fries with more herbs rather than salt splattered on. The additional pita bread really put us towards food coma. The lamb was skewered onto a stick with onion and bell peppers! Chewy and yummy! The salad was meh, similar to the one you can get in any other American restaurant.
Lastly, my friend, being a huge sweet lover, recommended that I try the Baklava. It is a sweet pastry with layers of phyllo dough and chopped nuts that are held together with either honey or syrup. It was a rich dessert and filling on its own. The spices inside the dish had a slight ginger-taste which helped balance out the overly sweet honey and syrup. Since this pastry is really sticky, stickier than any gum you chew, use a knife and fork to eat!
What a successful and filling Greek cuisine experience. The restaurant emits a traditional ambience, almost as if I was in a local’s house! An authentic Greek experience in the middle of a empty suburb in New Jersey! What can be better than that? It is insanely filling; therefore, come hungry!
Kalí óreksi!! Thank you Google for the translation of Bon Apetit!
Address: New Athens Corner, 28 Woodbridge Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904