After indulging in everything delicious during Spring Break, it was time to tighten up my diet. Thus I set out in search of a restaurant that specializes in healthy, fresh and flavorful food. Needless to say, my thoughts went straight to Greek food. Fresh tomatoes, olive oil, seasonings and chunks of feta? Count me and my four nearest and dearest friends in! So we piled into the car and took the 40-minute drive to Symeon’s (4941 Commercial Dr, Yorkville).
Luckily we had called ahead, because the giant, multi-room venue was packed. We actually needed directions to get to our table: walk through the spacious entry room to the front desk, take a left, walk down the hall, then a take right, walk through that room, take a left and walk to the back of the room and take a seat. I did not mind the pre-meal exercise because it gave me time to build up an appetite and heightened my anticipation.
Once we were seated, I spent minimal time looking over the menu. Yes, I cheated. I had looked at the menu online, and the image of the Souvlaki Platter was all the convincing I needed. However, my fellow attendee and I found the image to be slightly misleading. The dish was comprised of a skewer of lamb served over a Greek salad with yogurt sauce. The Greek salad aspect of the dish failed to satisfy my high expectations. Instead of juicy wedges of red tomatoes, I received thin pink slices of tomato that were better fit for a McDonald’s burger. Similarly, my craving for chunks of flavorful feta was unfulfilled by the sprinkling of feta dust. On the positive side, I hate olives and only had to pick one of those pesky little guys out of my dish. The yogurt sauce and shish kebab, on the other hand, were fantastic. The lamb was excellently seasoned and greatly enhanced the meal.
Another attendee faced a similar struggle with the quality of the ingredients in her meal. She started off with the tomato salad, which was made with tomatoes, feta cheese, onions, olives and Greek oregano. She too was disappointed by the thinly sliced yellowish-red tomatoes and the dusting of feta, and felt that the appetizer was not worth the $5.95. For her entrée, she ordered the Souvlaki sandwich made from marinated Greek shish kebab, yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion wrapped in pita bread. The sandwich was improved by the Greek dressing, which was provided by the waitress for the previously mentioned tomato salad.
The two remaining guests had meals that were slight variations of two previous entrées. One had the Greek chicken salad, which was a Greek salad with Thracian chicken, artichokes, roasted red peppers and pita bread croutons. She thought the chicken was nicely seasoned and a quality cut of meat. She also enjoyed the fact that the chicken was warmed. However, this attendee was disappointed that there were only three olives in the salad. Similarly, the menu was misleading in stating the dish includes “artichokes,” as there was only half of an artichoke on the plate. She felt that she could have made a better salad herself, but this did not stop her from eating the whole thing. The second guest had the gyro sandwich, which was the same as the Souvlaki sandwich but was made with marinated ground beef rather than shish kebab. She also thought that the meat was well prepared, but the remainder of the wrap was not outstanding.
The meal ended on a high note with dessert. The Baklava did not fail to disappoint and neither did the Galaktoboureko, which is a thick, creamy custard, baked slowly between buttered filo leaves and topped with a honey syrup. Overall, our main critique of Symeon’s was the quality of ingredients used in the various entrées. The lettuce and tomatoes did not satisfy our desire for fresh, healthy food. Furthermore, the additional ingredients were used sparingly. However, it is important to note that the dinner party ordered similar meals that do not demonstrate the complete scope of everything Symeon’s has to offer.