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Stunning. Serene. Understated. These are some of the adjectives you'll find appropriate when you step into Dionysos on the service road, on the south side of the Horace Harding Expressway in Little Neck.
The look is totally white with a touch of faux marble. The lighted ceiling and Greek heads from 2,000 years ago on panels add to the totally white, minimalistic look which gives the small restaurant an elite air. Pink cloths and blond wood complete the scene.
Nick, the chef-owner, worked with a contractor to carry out his vision and opened about a year ago. Formerly, he was in Island Parkway for 15 years with a restaurant called Greek Delight.
I'm enthusiastic about the look and equally enthusiastic about the menu with both Greek numbers and the American items.
The diner is seated and a dish of crudites, thin, curling carrot and celery sticks and a myriad of the tiniest ripe olives imaginable arrives. Then comes the basket with hot pita bread wedges. Some might sip a glass of the anise-flavored ouzo or a glass or bottle of Greek (white or red) or California wine. Or a glass of Athenian beer.
The house salad makes a wonderful first course. It's Greek, of course. It's chopped - surprise - and has finely shredded feta cheese a plenty. The dressing is served on the side. It's a thick one, lemony, and you'll keep going back to spoon a bit more over your salad.
The Dionysos salad is a Greek salad topped with a grilled breast of chicken. I've made a note to try it for luncheon some time soon.
The Greek salad comes with the main course or you can order Prasini Salata, a green salad with romaine, feta cheese, scallions, dill, olive oil and lemon sauce - a great combination.
You can order Greek platters (gyro, souvlaki or a combination with salad, rice or french fries, tzatziki sauce and pita bread) or Greek specialties: mousaka, pastitsio or a number of chicken dishes (plaka, Greco or Oreganato).
There's also kebob platters with lamb, beef, chicken, fish or shrimp served with Greek salad over a bed of rice as well as parmigiana items: eggplant, chicken, sole, veal or shrimp with Greek salad and pasta.
Or, try one of the sautee platters with chicken or veal marsala or francaise.
My dining companion wanted fish and our waiter recommended a small, whole, grilled sea bass with potato and fresh vegetables, broccoli florets and carrots. It came with crisscross slashes forming diamonds in the crisp skin and was that miracle of fish grilling that Greeks know how to do so well.
I was in the mood for a kebob dinner and was encouraged by our waiter to select marinated chunks of beef on a skewer with onions, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms served on a bed of rice. The beef was really marinated and you could savor the seasonings.
This was fine eating. The beef was tender and full flavored, with a deep pink interior.
As for desserts, our only choice this day was baklava, baked layers of phyllo dough with walnuts and honey syrup. We were rather taken aback by the serving. It was huge - twice the usual size. But it was do-able. It had plenty of nuts but was not cloyingly sweet.
The Greek coffee (but there is espresso and cappuccino) was do-able also - not too sweet.
We had toyed with the idea of an appetizer and actually decided on gigantes, giant Greek beans baked with fresh onions, tomato sauce and herbs, and keftethes, baked homemade Greek-style meatballs, but got a carried away by the great Greek salad.
Vegetarians would enjoy the Melitzanes, fried eggplant rounds served with the mashed potato dip called skordalia, or haloumi, grilled traditional Cyprian goat cheese.
Another great vegetarian choice is the Melitzanosalata, mousse baked eggplant froth with onions, parsley, olive oil and herbs.
The waiters wore the traditional Greek look of white shirt and dark pants. Service was good and if anything a bit too fast-paced.
Dionysos is one of those restaurants you definitely want to go back to again and again.
Small, very attractive, white, minimalistic setting. Greek food, some American. Very delicious. Good service.
Taramosalata (Greek caviar with onions, olive oil & lemon sauce)...$4.25
Mousaka (ground beef, eggplant, potato with light tomato sauce & bechamel topping)...$10.25
Pastitsio (ground beef baked with macaroni in a light tomato sauce with bechamel topping)...$10.25
Leg of lamb (with Greek salad, vegetable & rice)...$10.25
Striped Bass (with Greek salad, vegetable & rice)...$13.25
Baklava (baked layers of phyllo dough filled with walnuts & honey syrup)...$2.75
Galaktobouriko (custard baked in phyllo dough with honey syrup)...$3
Food: Greek & American
Setting: All white minimalistic, Greek heads
Service: White shirts & black pants
Hours: Mon. to Sat. L & D; Sun. D
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