March 27, 2008

Ithaca Bites: The Souvlaki House

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How much do you like liberal amounts of olive oil? That’s really the question you should be asking yourself when considering dining at The Souvlaki House. Although the amazingly inexpensive $3.95 lunch specials are exempt from this rule of thumb, the House definitely embraces its Greek and Italian roots in the entrée dishes by hugging on to that olive tree and never letting go.
Along with its passion for olives, this little mamma and papà place is humbly decorated with a variety of soccer jerseys and plants. Although it’s not the perfect place to woo a hot date, I liked the no-bullshit décor.
As I danced through the menu to find something I could eat (the only meat I eat is seafood), I noticed the variety of meals. Lamb, pork, steak, shrimp; Italian, Greek, American — they were all represented on this menu. I ended up with the Scallops Primavera. I was also accompanied by my mother and father who were visiting for the weekend and they ordered the Shrimp Primavera and the Lamb Souvlaki Plate, respectively.
The Greek salad I ordered was incredibly unique. The feta cheese in this salad had an enormous kick and I absolutely adored the zing the cheese added, though I can easily see how one might also detest it. Apparently the Souvlaki House is the only restaurant in Ithaca that uses real goat cheese that is imported straight from New York.
After all the salad, I was ready for a delicate and petite plate of pasta. Instead, the serving of Scallops Primavera I received qualified as somewhere between gargantuan and ludicrous, and I was also served a red pasta side, drowned in olive oil and butter. Although it wasn’t a big issue, the shallow pool of oil the pasta waded in was somewhat alarming. Both the scallops and the shrimp were cooked perfectly; the sauce didn’t overpower the taste of the seafood or the pasta. The sauce, however, was almost bland and I do believe that some individuals might find the food at Souvlaki’s a touch too light for their taste buds. Lastly, I guiltily tasted the lamb and found it tender and juicy; it matched well with the tzatsiki sauce.
All in all, Souvlaki’s is a humble yet decent restaurant with good Italian and better Greek (the owners are Greek of course).