Thursday, July 23, 2009

Xios Greek Restaurant, Apex, NC


Variety
Quality

Aparna and I decided to stop by Xios restaurant on a whim - it was a Sunday evening and we had ventured away from home for blueberry picking. Xios happened to be close by according to google maps and we gave it a go. As I've mentioned in the past, greek cuisine, as part the larger family of mediterranean foods is one of my favorites. I've come to expect a variety of flavors, textures and temperatures from cool dips to light pastries and rolls. We are perfectly content making a meal out of the starter menu that is typically vegetarian. In that regard, Xios was no different. It offered plenty of vegetarian choices in the appetizer section. We did make a meal out of the appetizers but we weren't impressed and more importantly had a rare feeling - that of being stuffed and bloated. I'm willing to take some of the blame - I could have chosen a more balanced selection - but the dishes we were served were thoroughly disappointing.

The one redeeming part of this meal was the Flaming Saganaki (pictured above) - which sounds more Japanese than greek - a pan-fried kefalograviera cheese finished with brandy and lemon. It was a impressive presentation, arriving in towers of flame having been lit up by our waiter on its way. The alcohol, lemon and salty flavor of delicious not-so-chewy melted cheese made for a great dip with the pita bread pieces. Unfortunately, that was the beginning and end of the enjoyable part of the meal.


The other two starters I ordered were the Spinakopita (a lightly flavored small spinach pastry) and Tiropita. Let me quote the descriptions for these - "Spinach pie made with paper thin layers of phyllo dough inside which you'll find a delicious blend of spinach and feta cheese" and "Greek pie made of paper thin phyllo layers inside which you'll find a delicious blend of cheeses". First off, these didn't look like restaurant-class food as can be seen. One couldn't distinguish between the two. At $6 a pop, I expect something a little more .. umm .. "appetiz"ing. At this point, Aparna was fuming. Still, I was willing to look beyond that and went for them expecting the taste to vindicate my still unflagging faith in the restaurant. The minute I bit into the first pastry (I don't know which but it doesn't really matter), I knew it was a lost cause. The "paper" thin layers were hard, dry and incredibly thick. The cheese (with and without spinach) was fried beyond recognition. It was plain obvious this was batch just heated in the microwave. To charge $6 each for these disappointing dishes was atrocious.

I will allow for the fact that my cheese greed got ahead of me. I should've ordered something else - like a hummus or eggplant dip to contrast with the fried stuff. I would have, had these been even remotely edible but by that time we'd had enough. All said and done, you won't starve if you go to this restaurant. You'll get something very average for the money you'll dish out. Had this been a food court stall, I'd find it excusable. At $30 for what we ate, Xios is very well deserving of the single beet for quality.

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