THE FAT GREEK
Eating Las Vegas hesitates to review any Greek restaurants because they never pass his “YiaYia/Popou” test. As in: would the dearly departed John and Pauline Cutsumpas of Danbury, Connecticut (The Official Paternal YiaYia (pronounced: yi-ya, i.e. grandmother) and Popou (pronounced: popou, i.e. grandfather) of ELV) have approved of them?
ELV also has his “thia” (aunt) test, as in: is any of the food at least as good as the food my Greek aunts have fed me in Dunedin, Florida, Tarpon Springs, Florida, Tampa, Florida, Stamford, Connecticut, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Danbury, Connecticut, and Las Vegas, Nevada….for the past fifty years?
Usually, the answer is a resounding “no!” (it’s not even close), but The Fat Greek is better than most.
Greek restaurant food suffers from the same malady that plagues bad Indian and Chinese restaurants: usually it’s being cooked by a barely functional chef who wants to endlessly repeat, easily repeatable, cliche dishes from their homeland. Imagine an American restaurant in a foreign land where all the semi-literate cook does is throw burgers, meatloaf, fried chicken and mac and cheese at the customer all day long and calls it American “cuisine” and you’ll get our drift. Now imagine that same foreign country where every town has one or more American restaurants in it and they all cook the exact same things to the exact same level of mediocrity every day, and you’ll really get our drift.
So what makes TFG food at least passable? Start with good, fresh pita bread. Next tzaziki and taramosalata that taste house made. Dolmades that are hand rolled on site are also a plus (although these are under-spiced, under-seasoned, and mostly rice), as are kebabs made of decent meat that’s not overcooked. Be advised however, that many Greeks insist upon well-done meat, so don’t be surprised if it always comes out a little more done than you’d like it.
The fasolada (cold, white bean salad) is quite fresh, although bland, and the feta is of good quality. Avgolemeno soup tastes like it’s supposed to: rich chicken broth made light and lemony with egg, and the saganaki (flaming cheese) is huge and tasty. Pastichou (a Greek ground meat/noodle casserole) is a litmus test for Greek restaurants, and like the beans and grape leaves here, suffers from an abundance of caution in the seasoning department.
Service can be amateurish, but is invariably friendly and well-meaning. The wine list has some nice bottles of Greek whites and reds in the $25-45 range, and my glass of Patras white tasted exactly like a five dollar glass of Greek retsina is supposed to (i.e. light, uncomplicated, and slightly of pine resin).
Does it pass the YiaYia test? Not really, but after two visits (with more to come), ELV and his consultants have decided that, short of barging into a relative’s house for dinner, this is as good as Greek food gets around here.
Appetizers (hot and cold) and salads are priced between $5-9; with sandwiches in a similar range, and main (dinner) courses running between $11-18. Seafood specials run on Fridays and Saturdays and are priced higher.
The Fat Greek
4001 South Decatur Blvd. Suite 31
Las Vegas, NV 89103