Sunday, June 1, 2014

Looking for lemon at A Taste of Greece in River Edge

A lamb burger with grilled vegetables, accented with thick balsamic vinegar, above, and a side salad, below, were part of a lunch special at A Taste of Greece, a small, moderately priced Greek restaurant in River Edge.


My friend suggested we meet for lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, A Taste of Greece in River Edge.

I agreed, hoping to avoid the high prices and small portions at Bibi'z, Mezza and other so-called Mediterranean restaurants.

A Taste of Greece offers tasty and filling lunches for under $15 that include side dishes or the soup of the day.

My friend ordered a special on Thursday: A lamb burger with grilled vegetables and a small salad ($12.95).

I don't eat meat, and hoped to have seafood.

One special included salmon and swordfish kabobs, but I wanted to avoid the latter, a big fish with a lot of mercury.

So, I ordered the Crispy Calamari Salad, served over one of my favorite greens, peppery arugula; with grilled vegetables, dressed in thick balsamic vinegar, and the soup of the day ($13.95).

A close-up of the large Crispy Calamari Salad with grilled tomatoes on a bed of arugula, above, and a side dish of grilled vegetables, below.

 Catch of the day

Unfortunately, the soup of the day was Chicken Avgolemono, the wonderfully sunny Greek lemon soup I've enjoyed so many times before I stopped eating meat and poultry.

I would have eaten the chicken broth, but the waitress said there was shredded chicken in the soup, and I didn't want that.

I asked her if I could have extra grilled vegetables and she said she wasn't sure, and I don't know whether I got the standard portion or not.

But something was missing in my Crispy Calamari Salad:

A wedge or two of lemon to squeeze over the tender and greaseless, but under-seasoned, rings and the arugula, which didn't appear to have a dressing.

I've been eating Greek food for decades, and have noticed that lemon is as important to the cuisine as the sun is to life.

Only a couple of other tables were occupied, but it took a while to get the lemon wedges while the staff was busy handling its brisk takeout business.

I liked the food and would return, but have a couple of minor complaints:

Small paper napkins, and the difficulty of driving into and out of the upwardly sloping corner strip mall on busy Kinderkamack Road and Midland Avenue. 

Complimentary taramasalata (fish roe spread or dip) and grilled Greek pita with oil.

Two views of the interior, above and below, and the open kitchen.

A Taste of Greece, 935C Kinderkamack Road, River Edge; 201-967-0029. BYO, small parking lot with difficult entry and exit. Serves lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner.

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