Sunday, January 2, 2011

We hit rough spots at a new Greek restaurant

The Rock, Glen Rock, NJImage by birdphone via Flickr
Greek Taverna opened Dec. 5 on Rock Road in Glen Rock, not far from the rock itself.

How interested are you in the operation of the restaurant where you're having dinner? If you're like me, you want good food, a quiet place to eat and quick removal of empty plates and glasses.

At the new Greek Taverna in Glen Rock late Saturday afternoon, we were seated at one of the tables near the open kitchen, where about 10 minutes into our meal an empty pot falling to the floor made me jump.

A waitress reporting for work stood nearby while she put on and tied her tie. Other members of the wait staff stood in twos and threes, chatting as they waited for the cooks to hand them completed dishes. Managers walked to and fro, stopping to talk to the cooks and each other.

"It's like we're in a training facility," my 13-year-old son observed. 

Turning the tables

We were among the first arrivals for dinner. The woman who greeted us tried to seat us at a small table in a corner, to the side of the open kitchen, but I objected, because there was no room for our winter coats. 

I wanted to sit in a separate, rear dining room, but she said the room wasn't being used at the moment. So, we compromised and sat at a table for four under a huge wall mirror, in which I could see a serving station and wait staff chit-chatting behind me. 

I'm always amused how restaurant staffs are so quick to snatch up extra place settings, as if, God forbid, the customer uses two cloth napkins during the meal. Here, the staff did that, but was a lot slower in bringing extra plates and in clearing used glasses and dishes.

Clearly, the Greek Taverna staff was still getting its sea legs , but at least the food was good and portions were generous for the price, with the exception of a whole fish we ordered.

My son and I ordered a horiatiki salad -- cucumber, tomato, romaine lettuce, shredded hot pepper, oilives and feta cheese ($10). 

Feta, the most popular of Greek cheeses, has P...Image via Wikipedia
In Greece, feta cheese is made with sheep's milk and, sometimes, goat's milk.

Unfortunately, the chunks of tomato were refrigerator cold and tasteless, and the waitress didn't bring extra plates, so we had to use our small bread plates for the salad -- until the woman who greeted us brought me a larger plate on her own. The portion was enough for three or four, and we couldn't finish it.

My son also couldn't finish his thick lentil soup ($5), which came in a large, shallow bowl. We both loved the soft, warm Greek pita bread. Our lemonade and seltzer were $2.25 each, with no free refills.

Dirty glasses, plates

Meanwhile, used glasses and our bread plates, mine holding several olive pits, still weren't cleared.

We ordered a whole fish that weighed less than a pound and a half, but was priced at a high $32. Others the waitress listed for us weighed about the same, for $28 to $38 (they were nestled in  ice nearby).

Our fish came with sauteed greens (escarole) called horta. We also ordered Taverna Fries ($6). I had to ask for extra plates so we could share the food.

The skin of the grilled lavraki or sea bass was scorched, but the flesh was moist and delicious. We finished the fish, but took home most of the fries, which were showered with grated cheese.

There are a lot of great Greek restaurants in Bergen County, so I see no need to return to Greek Taverna.

An article in The Record said great care was taken on its interior decoration, including a fireplace and chairs from The Plaza Hotel. They are probably in the dining room we weren't allowed to use.


Greek Taverna, 175 Rock Road, Glen Rock; 201-857-4528. Open seven days, full bar. Other locations
in Edgewater and Montclair. Web site:

Three Greek Tavernas

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  1. We bought "To Go" dessert Saturday night and besides the baklava being small (could have lived with that for $6!!??) the bottom of it was burnt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't tell in their dim lighting. I thought it was dark due to the cinnamon and honey syrup. NEVER AGAIN!!!!!! The entire tray should have been thrown out!!

  2. How many pieces did you get for $6, one? Was it at least made with pistachio or a cheaper nut? You're referring to Greek Taverna, correct?

    That's way too much money.

  3. Walnuts only and GT in GR. Don't rub it in about the price!=I lost my mind with my husband's money. LOL. The church feasts are so much better - and cheaper! (What a rip off!)
    Keep up the great blogging! Susan

  4. Thanks, Susan.

    Of course, if you are ever near Paterson's Middle Eastern neighborhood, you can great baklava by the piece or the pound for far less money at Fattal's Bakery and many other places. I've bought a pound and kept in the fridge to eat with my evening tea.

  5. I have been there serval times with different group of people and the service is great and the food is really good. I see the blogger went there in Jan and we went there too and everything was Great? I am Greek and i know what is good authentic Greek food and i think Greek Taverna offers that. I love the restaurant and so do my friends.


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