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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Modern Greek Trend is Catching on Everywhere -- except Cleveland

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2007 at 11:43 AM

We’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what it says regarding our hometown, but it was fun to read about NYC’s fascination with “modern Greek” cuisine in Gourmet’s June issue – particularly since our own celeb-chef Michael Symon (Lola and Lolita) gets a nod. Of course, the recognition was for Parea, Symon’s svelte Greek restaurant in the Flatiron District. As anyone who has visited Manhattan lately surely knows, the city is gaga over modern-Greek restaurants, with menus that eschew old standards like avgolemono, souvlaki, and spanakopita in favor of lighter, more vibrant, seafood-centric dishes, often in the form of small-plate mezes. In fact, the Gourmet piece lists 10 such restaurants in the city, with Parea being one of the newest. The article quotes Nation’s Restaurant News as dubbing Greek food “a culinary trend;” and notes that similar spots are catching fire in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. But sadly, not in Cleveland. While Symon gave it a shot when he opened Lolita a few years back, the meze concept never caught on. “People just didn’t get it,” he told us last year. Ever the pragmatist, the chef quickly switched back to a menu of old faves: roasted chicken, Berkshire pork chops, and popular Symon dishes like the giant Fred Flintstone ribeye steak and gourmet mac & cheese, among them. Good stuff, all. But if you want to taste the trend – complete with crab dolmades, marinated tuna with olives, and a fabulous grilled octopus, say – now it’ll cost you plane fare to New York. -- Elaine T. Cicora

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