What can I say about Olympia Grill at Pier 21. My God!
My buddy and I ordered the Poseidon and the Artemis Greek Family Mezzes that, as per the menu, feed 2-4 each. We did so hoping to have a table full of food that we could eat for hours.
For those of you that don’t understand mezze, it’s an experience, not a dish. Mezze is a series of small dishes brought to you as you finish the last, a progression of flavors and textures that, when eaten in perfect succession, create the ultimate dining experience.
We first experienced mezze at “Celaborelle Phoenician Grill” in Fort Worth, Texas. What an experience! When we saw that Galveston had its own version, so we had to try it out.
What a mistake!
First, the mezze did not come in succession, but rather all at once. Second, the entire “feeds 2 – 4” meal was on a 16-inch platter and should be downsized to “feeds 1-2”. We ordered two $35 meals that should have fed up to 8 people and came a way a little less than full. Two people. Not eight. Maybe they meant “feeds 2 four year olds”
Third, the food was absolutely abhorrent. Let us delve straight from the menu:
Tiropita – Tastes like buttered phyllo and needed a full glass of water to swallow. I’ll stick to eating parchment.
Fried Calamari – One of the better bites, but who screws up calamari? I mean, I guess it is possible, and I shouldn’t put it past them as they screwed up everything else.
Clams Bourguignon – There were clams?
Grilled Wild Gulf Shrimp – Great taste, but stone cold. Sure would have been nice if they had been served true mezza style so that I could have had them hot.
Baby Lump Blue Crab Cakes – Whoa, wait. The menu says Baby Lump Blue Crab Cakes, but should read Baby Lump Blue Crab Cake. There was only one. If there’s 2-4 people eating it, get ready to share. Not that you’d taste anything. The cake was more bread than crab and had to be salted to taste like the sea.
Feta & Olives – Wow. They did something right. Wait…
Artemis the Huntress
Spanakopita – See Tiropita above. I couldn’t tell the difference.
Keftedes – A few burnt-to-a-crisp meatballs, a good keftedes does not make
Pork Sautéed MEZÉ – Not only did they not have any taste, but they were dry as a bone. If they had ever seen a marinade prior to seeing a grill, I’ll eat my left hand. It would certainly taste better.
Chicken Sautéed MEZÉ – See “Pork Sautéed MEZÉ” above. I had to wash this down to get it to go down.
Lamb Chops – At least they were not dry, but we did fight over the last one. Who was going to eat it, because neither of us wanted to.
Feta & Olives - Wow. They did something right as second time. Wait…
So after an awful dining experience, we ask the waiter, “What gives?” He said that his cooks were new and that he was sorry. So, I asked for a discount and was told flatly, “No, I can’t do that.”
So, we paid $40 for a meal that was a quarter the size it was supposed to be, a mezze that was served all at once, and food so bad, I’d rather go to Golden Corral next time.
So, if you make it to Olympia on Pier 21, turn a 180 and cross the street to Willy G’s. You’ll pay less and get more…much more. And if you want a true mezze experience, it’s worth the 6-hour drive to Hemphill Street in Fort Worth where you can dine on the most succulent Shish Tawook and Lahm Mishwi in the country. Where flavor has meaning and customers are treated well.
Pros: We got to leave.
Cons: We walked in.